Udora Orizu writes that Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Navy, Hon Yusuf Gagdi, is one of the contenders for the Speakership seat of 10th National Assembly should the position be zoned to North Central region of the country.
Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Navy, Hon Yusuf Adamu Gagdi, has joined the race for Speakership of the 10th Assembly and is spearheading efforts aimed at having the seat zoned to the North Central region of the country.
Gagdi, a former Plateau State House of Assembly Deputy Speaker, is one of the leading contenders for the seat, if the zoning favours North-Central.
The APC lawmaker who just won his second re-election bid, is appealing to those who matter and members of the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) on the need to support the North-Central in producing the next Speaker of the House.
His appeal on why the position should be zoned to the North-Central is apt because, in the history of Nigeria’s legislature, out of the zones that have occupied the seat of the Speaker of House of Representatives, the North-central zone has had the shortest stint, serving only for three months.
The only time the zone held it was in 1983, when the NPN administration of President Shehu Shagari won a second term and Hon. Chaha Biam from Benue State, was elected Speaker of the House of Representatives and served from October to December of that year before the military came and sacked the Second Republic.
In the First Republic, Chief Jaja Wachukwu from the region now known as South-east became the first indigenous Speaker shortly before independence in 1959 and handed over the baton to Ibrahim Jalo Waziri from the region now known as North-east in 1960.
At the return of democracy in 1979, Chief Edwin Umezeoke of the NPP from the South-east had held sway as Speaker between 1979 to 1983. The Ibrahim Babangida administration had inaugurated a federal legislature that served under his military government and in that era, the South-east again got the slot of Speaker when Agunwa Anaekwe from Anambra State, served as Speaker of the House between 1992 and 1993.
With the return to democratic rule in 1999 almost all the geopolitical zones except North Central and South South have had the opportunity to preside over the affairs of the Green Chamber. From 1999 to 2007, the position of Speaker was zoned to the North-west with Salisu Buhari, Ghali Umar Na’Abba and Aminu Bello Masari taking their turns while between 2007 to 2011 the Southwest had it with Patricia Etteh and Dimeji Bankole presiding.
The position went back to the North-west between 2011 to 2015 with Aminu Tambuwal presiding and in 2015, the North-east clinched the position again with Yakubu Dogara.
In 2019, it returned to the South-west with the current Speaker, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila.
As the race for who will replace Gbajabiamila has commenced, if the zoning favours North-Central, Hon Gagdi appears to be the best man for the job.
Gagdi represents Panskhin/Kanke/Kanam federal constituency of Plateau state, a seat he won in March 2019 on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party. He later defected to the ruling All Progressives Congress.
He was born into the family of a local mosque Imam; Mallam Adamu on November 5, 1980 in Gum, Gagdi ward of Kanam Local Government Area of Plateau state, Nigeria.
His father was not just a spiritual leader in the community but also a Quranic Teacher. Gagdi got his Islamic education under the teaching and guidance of his father. From him, he learned the virtue of simplicity and compassion, philanthropy, modesty and love for humanity.
The lawmaker attended Local Education Authority Primary School, Gum-Gagdi where he obtained his First School Leaving Certificate before proceeding to the Government Secondary School, GSS, Gagdi for his junior secondary education. He later transferred to the Government Secondary School (GSS), Dengi where he had his senior secondary education and graduated in 1999.
He got admitted to study Social Studies (Double Major) at the Federal College of Education (FCE), Pankshin. He couldn’t afford to rent a room of his own as accommodation hence he had to squat with the securities by the school gate.
Gagdi graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Economics Education and got employed by the Plateau State Teachers’ Service Commission and was then posted to Government Secondary School (GSS), Angwan Rogo. He was later seconded to the office of the Head of Service of the state where he served the then Head of Service, the late Dr. Godfrey Mamzhi as a Personal Assistant. He facilitated employment for more than 20 persons in the state civil service.
His experience growing up helped to mould his ideology of exceptional generosity as he always said “he knows what it means to be poor”.
He’s known to have built schools, hospitals and palaces, giving employment and other empowerment to thousands of his constituents.
As a former Plateau State House Deputy Speaker, he already had experience in legislative politics and was committed to the emergence of the leadership of the Ninth House which saw Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila emerge as Speaker.
He was thereafter made the Chairman of the House Standing Committee on the Nigerian Navy and he is also a member of 13 other standing Committees.
Gagdi made history as the first lawmaker in Nigeria’s parliament to sponsor six private member Bills that receive Presidential assent within a legislative session since the establishment of the National Assembly.
Three bills sponsored by Gagdi, which have already been signed into law, are: Police Act 2020, the Federal University of Education, Pankshin Act 2021, the National Hydrographic Agency Act 2021 and Admiralty University, Idusa Delta state.
Following his outstanding performance in the last three and half years, his constituents gave him an overwhelming support during the February 25, 2023 election as he was re-elected in landslide victory as a member of the House of Representatives for a second term.
If the position of speakership is zoned to the north central, the newly elected members of the green chamber from the six geo-political zones may want to show support by electing Hon Gagdi as Speaker.
He’s competent, experienced and will run a fair, vibrant and just parliament.