10th House Leadership: Why North Central should produce Speaker

The APC should stick to the principles of equity, fairness and justice by zoning the speakership position to the North Central zone. In the annals of Nigeria’s legislature, out of the zones that have occupied the seat, the North Central has had the shortest stint, only for three months. All the other zones have held it for several years, excluding the South South.

The only time the North Central held it was in 1983, when the NPN administration of Shagari won a second term and late Hon. Akkai Chaha Biam from Benue was elected speaker and served from October to December of that year before the military came and sacked the 2nd Republic.

In the 1st Republic, Chief Jaja Wachukwu from the South East became the first indigenous speaker shortly before independence in 1959 and handed over to Ibrahim Jalo Waziri from the region now known as North East in 1960.

Also, in 1979, Chief Edwin Umezeoke of the NPP from the South East steered the ship of the House between 1979 to 1983.  The IBB administration inaugurated a federal legislature that served under his military government,  the South East took the slot of speaker. Agunwa Anaekwe from Anambra served as speaker between 1992 and 1993. The South East held the position thrice.

From 1999 to 2007, the position was zoned to the North West with Salisu Buhari, Ghali Na’aba and Aminu Masari holding sway.

Between 2007 to 2011, the South West had it with Dimeji Bankole and Patricia Olubunmi Etteh as speakers.

Between 2011 to 2015, Aminu Tambuwal from the North West presided over the House.

Yakubu Dogara from the North East presided over the House between 2015 and 2019.

It is pertinent to note that the North Central contributed impressively to the success and victory of the APC during the presidential and NASS elections. Infact, the APC won four out of the six states of the North Central. The zone gave Asiwaju Bola Tinubu 1, 670, 091 votes even more than what he got from the North East (1, 190, 458). The party lost in the North West states of Kebbi, Katsina, Kano, Kaduna and Sokoto.

Section 14 (3) of the 1999 Constitution as amended says, “The composition of the Government of the Federation or any of its agencies shall be carried out in a manner as to reflect the Federal Character of Nigeria thereby ensuring that there shall be no predominance of persons from a few ethnic or sectional groups in that Government or any of its agencies, in order to command loyalty and peaceful coexistence”.

It is against this backdrop that the North Central should be considered. The APC leadership should redirect its attention to the North Central instead. Zoning the position to the zone is germane for national cohesion, unity and development.

Lawmakers from North Central in the race are Tunji Raheem ( Kwara), Idris Wase ( Plateau) and Yusuf Gagdi ( Plateau).

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