A few male legislators in the ninth National Assembly are really striving to make a difference, write Deji Elumoye and Udora Orizu
The Ninth National Assembly, which was inaugurated on Tuesday, June 11, 2019, is made up of 109 Senators and 360 members of the House of Representatives elected from various constituencies across the country.
The performance index for these legislators in the last one year will be therefore based on the number of bills or motions they sponsor, contributions during plenary, commitment in carrying out various committee duties and attracting projects to their constituencies.
With 469 members in both the Red and Green chambers, only a few of the federal legislators carry out the legislative duties expected of them. Apart from the presiding officers, some active federal legislators’ contributions to the Ninth Assembly in the last one year or thereabouts are glaring.
Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe (PDP, Abia)
Enyinnaya Abaribe, represents Abia South Senatorial District and is the Senate Minority Leader and one of the strongest opposition voices in the National Assembly. Known for being confident and expressive, the Senator doesn’t shy away from speaking the truth and tackling the ruling government on issues of national importance.
Aside sponsoring motions and bills, Abaribe makes meaningful contributions during plenary, as well as addressing various issues of national importance. Back in January while the Senate discussed a motion on national security challenges and the need to restructure the current security architecture, Abaribe in contributing to the motion, faulted the President for failing to tackle the security challenges facing the country.
Making reference to the President’s comment that he was stunned over the resurgence of Boko Haram attacks, Abaribe called for his resignation.
Also in December 2019, the Senate Minority Leader stressed the readiness of PDP Senators to resist any anti-human rights Bill presented before the upper legislative chamber. Referring to the bill entitled ‘Protection from Internet Falsehood and Manipulations Bill, 2019’ which proposes a three-year jail term for anyone involved in the abuse of social media, which passed through the first reading at the Senate, Abaribe, averred that there were already laws that deal with the issue of regulating social media use that the proposed law seeks to achieve.
He also protested the exclusion of all South East states in the list of beneficiaries of the $22.79 billion foreign loan approved for the federal government by the Senate in March.
The ranking Senator sponsored the Bill, entitled, “Armed Forces Service Commission bill”, which seeks to compel the President to appoint service chiefs based on the federal character principle. He also sponsored the motion urging President Muhammadu Buhari to constitute the board of the Federal Character Commission (FCC).
Senator Ali Ndume (APC, Borno)
Ali Ndume, a former Senate Leader, representing Borno South senatorial district is the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Army and one of the highly opinionated lawmakers in the 9th Senate. He recently condemned the idea of granting amnesty to repentant Boko Haram fighters, saying many of the fighters granted amnesty had gone back to terrorism.
He also flayed the present presidential system of government being practiced in Nigeria ‘in which a few privileged public officials, including federal legislators, earn bogus salaries’. In July, he moved a point of order over the recent killing of soldiers by insurgents, urging federal government to step up action on the fight against Boko Haram insurgents.
Bills sponsored by Ndume include: Communication Tax Bill 2019, Constituency Development Fund (Est,etc), Un-Employed Youth, Elderly and Indigent Sustainability Allowances Trust Fund (Est,etc) bill, Federal College of Education Marama, Borno State (Est, etc) Bill 2019, Federal College of Education (Est, etc) Bill 2019, Auctioneers Registration Council (Est, etc) Bill 2019, Social Intervention Programmes Agency (Est, etc) Bill 2019, Chartered Institute of Facility Management (Est, etc) Bill 2019, Nigeria Peace Corps (Est, etc) Bill 2019, Nigerian Army University Biu (Est, etc) Bill 2020 and Federal College of Education Gwoza (Est, etc) Bill 2020.
Senator Opeyemi Bamidele (APC, Ekiti)
Opeyemi Bamidele represents Ekiti Central Senatorial District. He is the Chairman, Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters. He recently sponsored the motion, which insists that the National Directorate of Employment (NDE) is the only recognised statutory body for the recruitment of 774,000 workers for the public works scheme of the federal government.
In December 2019, he sponsored the motion on the alleged invasion of Court room in Abuja by operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS) for a forceful arrest of Omoyele Sowore, (convener of #RevolutionNow), who was then standing trial over alleged treasonable offences.
Some of Opeyemi’s bills include Constitution (Alteration) Bill 2019, FCT Customary Court Act 2007 (Amendment) Bill 2020, Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2011 (Amendment) Bill 2020 and Constitution (Alteration) Bill 2020.
Senator Ike Ekweremadu (PDP, Enugu)
Ike Ekweremadu representing Enugu-West Constituency is a former three-time Deputy President of the Senate (2007-2019) during which time he chaired the Senate committee on the review of the1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
One of the motions sponsored by him is the motion on escalating rate of employment in the country, where he called on government to do something urgently to stem the tide.
Ekweremadu’s sponsored bills include: Private Detectives and Investigators Bill 2019, which seeks to establish the federal police, state police, National Police Service Commission, National Police Council, and State Police Service Commission for the states.
Others are: Federal Polytechnic, Mpu (Est, etc) Bill 2019, Chartered Institute of Directors of Nigeria (Est, etc) Bill 2019, Federal Cooperative Colleges (Est, etc) Bill 2019, Institute of Mediators and Conciliators (Est, etc) Bill 2019, Federal High Court Act (Amendment) Bill 2019, River Basins Development Act Cap R9 LFN 2004 (Amendment) Bill 2020, Presidential Inauguration Bill 2020 and Constitution (Alteration) Bill 2020.
Senator Olamilekan Adeola (APC, Lagos)
Olamilekan Adeola, who represents Lagos West senatorial district, is the Chairman, Senate Committee on Finance. In March, this year, the ranking Senator moved a motion calling for a probe into the gas explosion that rocked Abule-Ado in Amuwo Odofin Local Government Area of Lagos State.
Olamilekan’s sponsored bills include: Federal University of Technology, llaro (Est, etc) Bill 2019, City University of Technology, Yaba (Est, etc) bill 2019, NDDC Act, No.6 2000 (Amendment) bill 2019, Constitution Alteration Bill 2019 and Medical Rehabilitation Therapists (Registration, etc) Act (Amendment) Bill 2020.
Hon Benjamin Kalu (APC, Abia)
Benjamin Kalu, a first time House member created such an impression in the minds of the Speaker, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila and the leadership of the House that he was appointed Chairman, Committee on Media and Public Affairs and official spokesperson of the Ninth House of Representatives.
As Chairman, House Committee on Media & Public Affairs, Hon. Kalu launched the first ever magazine publication of the Assembly called, “The Green Chamber Magazine”, which he said would be a tool of transparency for reporting all activities of the House.
The lawmaker representing Bende Federal Constituency hit the ground running by moving the first motion of the 9th Assembly. Kalu has since then sponsored over 15 motions and 40 bills. One of the notable motions moved by him was the motion against the maltreatment and institutionalised racial discrimination against Nigerians in China.
Some of his motions include: Motion on the Need to Suspend the Implementation of the Cashless Policy on Deposits by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Motion on the Urgent Need to Ensure Speedy Reconstruction of the Akanu Ibiam International Airport Runway and Installation of Landing Aids,Urgent Need to Combat Severe Landslide and Other Threatening Environmental Degradation in Alayi and Other Communities in Bende Federal Constituency, Need to Investigate the Failure and Refusal of the Niger-Delta Development Commission to Submit its Budget Estimates for 2019 to the National Assembly for Approval, Urgent Need to Evacuate Over 65 Nigerians From the City of Wuhan and the Wider Hubei Province in the Peoples Republic of China.
His sponsored Bills include: Federal College of Education Bende, (Establishment,etc.) Bill 2020, Industrial Development (Income Tax Relief) Act (Amendment) Bill, Counterfeit Currency (Special Provisions) Act (Amendment) Bill, 2020, Dangerous Drugs Act (Amendment) Bill 2020, Acts Authentication Act (Amendment) Bill, 2019, Nigerian Meteorological Agency Act (Amendment) Bill, 2019, Nigerian Communications Act (Amendment) Bill, 2019, Internal Loans (Rehabilitation, Reconstruction and Development) Act (Amendment) Bill, 2019, Public Accounts Implementation Tribunal Act (Repeal) Bill 2019, Official Secrets Act (Amendment) Bill, 2019, among others.
Hon Kingsley Chinda (PDP, Rivers)
Chinda, who represents Obio/Akpor federal constituency, is the leader of the Peoples Democratic Party caucus in the House of Representatives. The lawmaker is well known to be courageous and expressive in speaking the truth. He contributes frequently during debates on legislative issues, and has sponsored several motions and bills in the past and in the 9th House.
Chinda was among the few lawmakers that flayed the contents of the controversial control of infectious diseases Bill, which was sponsored by the Speaker of the House. He described the content of the Bill as draconian, calling for a rejig.
Also, recently, as the leader of the PDP Caucus in the House, he wrote to the Speaker, Hon Femi Gbajabiamila chiding him for shielding lawmakers alleged by Senator Godswill Akpabio to have benefitted from Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) contracts. In the letter, he also called for an independent probe of the accused lawmakers.
Hon Ndudi Elumelu (PDP, Delta)
Ndudi Elumelu, representing Aniocha North/Aniocha South/Oshimili federal constituency is the Minority leader of the House. He’s known for his impactful contributions during plenary, and has sponsored several motions and bills in the past one year.
Some of his Bills include: National Health/ Insurance Act (Repeal and Enactment) Bill 2019, Electoral Act / (Amendment) Bill 2019, Nigerian Metallurgical Industry Bill, 2019, Lobbyists / (Registration and Regulation) Bill 2019, Federal Audit / Service Commission Bill, 2019.
Some of the motions moved by him include: Motion on the lockup of about 1000 Nigerian workers by a Chinese company operating a steel plant in Edo state against their will, motion on the need to stop the entry of herdsmen from other African Countries into Nigeria, motion on the need for the effective enforcement of the interstate lockdown by security agents.
Hon Babajimi Benson (APC, Lagos)
Babajimi Benson represents Ikorodu Federal Constituency. He is the Chairman, House Committee on Defence. On different occasions, he had canvassed ways to aid the security agents in carrying out their duties more efficiently and effectively in the fight against insecurity. This led him to sponsoring a bill seeking to establish the Nigerian Armed Forces Support Fund 2020, which has passed through second reading at the House.
He is among the lawmakers that frowned at the Bill introduced in the Senate, seeking to sponsor repentant Boko Haram members to receive foreign education. He said Boko Haram members should be treated as terrorists while the victims should be rehabilitated and given proper education.
Bills sponsored by Benson include: the Good Samaritan Bill seeking to provide legal protection for First responders who render help to victims of accidents or in emergency situations (the bill was passed in the 8th Assembly but was not accented to by Mr. President), Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (Alteration) Bill, 2020, which seeks to address the need for defined periodic population census in Nigeria, A bill seeking to amend the Electric Power Sector Reform Act (Amendment) Bill, 2020, to authorize host communities where electricity is generated to be entitled to a percentage of profits from Generating companies.
Others are: Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (Alteration) Bill, 2020 which seeks to alter the minimum educational qualification for aspirants into political office and National Icons, Symbols Legacy Agency Bill, 2020, to allow for more coordinated and robust management of our national symbols.
Benson sponsored the motion to commemorate the World Teachers Day and celebration of Nigerian Teachers, where the Best Teacher in Nigeria 2019, Mrs. Agnes Elusakin of Oriwu College, Ikorodu was honoured by the Speaker of the House, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila and members of the House.
He also laid a petition before the House against the Accountant General of the Federation for his refusal to pay salaries and pension arrears of officers, who retired from the Federal Civil Service between 2012 and 2020.
Hon Ossai Nicholas Ossai (PDP, Delta)
Nicholas Ossai, representing Ndokwa/Ukwani federal constituency is one of the strongest opposition voices in the House and the Chairman of the House committee on Treaties, Protocol and Agreements.
Ossai-led committee at a recent public hearing with ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) on the review of Nigeria’s bilateral loan agreement, uncovered clauses in Article 8(1) of the commercial loan agreement signed between Nigeria and Export-Import Bank of China, which allegedly concedes sovereignty of Nigeria to China in the $400 million loan for the Nigeria National Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Infrastructure Backbone Phase II Project, signed in 2018.
He thereafter issued summons to the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi and two other ministers to appear before it and shed more light on the loan agreements.
Some of the Bills Ossai sponsored include, Firearms Act (Amendment) Bill 2019, Dangerous Weapons Bill, 2019, FCT Customary Courts Act (Amendment) Bill, 2019, Corporate Social Responsibility (Special Provisions, etc.) Bill 2019, Chemical Weapons Prohibition Bill 2019, and Criminal Justice (Release from Custody) (Special Provisions) Act (Amendment) Bill 2019.
Some of the motions he moved also include: the motion calling on the federal government to appoint Chairman and Commissioners for Federal Character Commission (FCC), motion on the need to stop illegality in Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), motion urging President Buhari to forward all treaties signed to national assembly.
Hon Oluwole Oke (PDP, Osun)
Oluwole Oke, who represents Oriade Federal Constituency, is the Chairman, House Committee on Public Accounts and is known for his brilliant contributions to debates on the floor of the House. The lawmaker, within a year of chairing one of the busiest committees in the House, has uncovered corruption in various agencies of government through perusal of government account books and queries. He is the sponsor of the Nigerian Transportation Accident Investigation Bureau (Establishment) Bill, 2019.
Hon Toby Okechukwu (PDP, Enugu)
Tony Okechukwu representing Aninri/Agwu/Oji-uzo Federal Constituency is the Deputy Minority Leader of the House. Some of the motions moved by him in the House include motion on the need to investigate the extent of government’s coordination, supervision, and funding for medical research in the fight against coronavirus pandemic and other diseases in Nigeria; motion of urgent public importance on the need for the House to intervene and ensure that the planned strike by electricity workers is not allowed to take place; motion of urgent national importance on the need to investigate, apprehend and prosecute the perpetrators of the gruesome murder of Mr. Eugene Iloabani in Oji river, Enugu State.
His sponsored Bills include Federal Roads Bill, 2019, National Roads Fund Bill, 2019, which has been passed by the House and transmitted to the Senate for concurrence.
Hon Taofeek Ajilesoro (PDP, Osun)
Taofeek Ajilesoro, a first time lawmaker, who represents Ife Federal Constituency, sponsored the motion on the rehabilitation of Primary Health Care Centres (PHCC) across the 36 states of the Federation. The other motions he sponsored include the motion on the need to intervene in the disconnection of electric power supply to Ife South local government area of Osun state and motion on the need for Federal government to intervene in the fire incident that occurred in Ile Ife market.
Hon. Dachung Bagos (PDP, Plateau)
Dachung Bagos, representing Jos South, Jos East Federal constituency is one of the active legislators in the House and has sponsored over 25 Bills and several motions.
Some of his motions include calling on immediate investigation into the death of a Nigerian Professional Football (NPFL) league player, Martins Chinema, whom until his death was playing for Nassarawa United FC. Another motion was on the impending strike of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASSU).
Some of the Bills he sponsored include Tertiary Education Trust Fund Act (Amendment) Bill, 2019, Civil Aviation Act (Amendment) Bill, 2019, Nigeria Railway Corporation Act (Amendment) Bill, 2019, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria Act (Amendment) Bill, 2019, National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control Act, Federal Polytechnic, Zandi, Plateau State (Establishment) Bill, 2019.
He is also one of the opposing voices of the ‘Hate Speech Bill’ currently before the Senate.
Hon Mohammed Monguno (APC, Borno)
Mohammed Monguno, who represents Marte-Monguno-Nganzai Federal Constituency, is the Chief Whip of the House.
Though he’s known to be a very loyal member of the ruling APC, he doesn’t shy away from commenting on anti-people policies. Monguno has sponsored so many bills and has moved several motions too.
Some of his Bills include Arbitration and Conciliation Act (Repeal and Enactment) Bill, 2019, Certified Council of Allied Dental Health Professionals (Establishment) Bill, 2019, Chartered Institute of Treasury Management (Establishment) Bill, 2019, Commodity Boards Act (Repeal and Enactment) Bill, 2019, Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (Alteration) Bill, 2019, and Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 Act (Alteration) Bill, 2019.
One of his notable motions is the one on the need for special intervention in the security situation in Nigeria.
Hon. Luke Onofiok (PDP, Akwa Ibom)
Luke Onofiok, representing Etinan/Nsit Ibom/Nsit Ubium federal constituency, is the former speaker of Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly and Chairman, House Committee on Federal Judiciary. Onofiok, who is a first time legislator, has sponsored over 10 bills and moved some notable motions.
The motions include Urgent need for the Federal Government to Postpone the National Sports Festival in Edo State and other Large Gatherings, motion calling on federal government to ensure provision of personal protective equipment to Nigerian health workers, motion seeking more justices for supreme court.
His Bills include: Institute of Transport Administration of Nigeria Act (Amendment) Bill, 2019, Legislative Houses (Powers and Privileges) Act (Amendment) Bill, 2019, National Institute for Electoral Studies (Establishment) Bill, 2019.