From Gbajabiamila’s re-branding to Jibrin’s 50 questions for NOI, who will lead the house?

By Amako Nneji May 10, 2015 09:20 Updated

From Gbajabiamila’s re-branding to Jibrin’s 50 questions for NOI, who will lead the house?

The House of Representatives has, after the March 28 parliamentary election engaged in the rat race for the position of Speaker, with the tussle making headlines on various media, print, electronic and social media.

Rapt attention is being paid to who is likely to occupy the number four position from June 5 when the eight assembly would be inaugurated.

With the 2015 general elections conducted and winners and losers decided, attention has shifted rapidly to the likely occupants of political offices effective from May 29.

Preparatory to the inauguration, some hopeful successors to incumbent Speaker, Mr. Aminu Tambuwal, have declared their ambition to lead the green chamber.

The All Progressives Congress, APC, which has a 214 majority of the incoming members, so far has six contestants.

They are the current Minority Leader, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila South-west; Chairman, House Committee on House Services, Mr. Yakubu Dogara, North-east; Chairman, Committee on Agriculture, Mr. Mohammed Monguno, North-east,; Chairman, Committee on Finance, Mr. Abdulmumin Jibrin, North-west; a former Edo State Deputy Speaker and Secretary to the State Government, Mr. Pally Iriase, South-south and Mr. Ajibola Famurewa, a ranking member from Osun State, South-west.


Femi Gbajabiamila

Femi Gbajabiamila

Gbajabiamila, a lawyer, is 53 years old. The current House Minority Leader since June 2011 was also Deputy Minority Leader in the 2007 set.

The lawmaker from Surulere Federal Constituency I in Lagos State first came to the House in 2003, making him a fourth-timer after his re-election.

The Igbobi College ex-student was at various times at the King William’s College, United Kingdom, John Marshall Law School in Chicago, Illinois, United States, and the University of Lagos.

Gbajabiamila is known to be a consistently vocal lawmaker since 2003, making his voice heard on issues in and outside the National Assembly.

Honourable Femi Gbajabiamila has officially written to his colleagues soliciting for their support in his quest to emerge as their leader.

In a letter dated April 28, 2015 and made available to journalists, Gbajabiamila said he was offering himself as a candidate for the speakership of the eighth House of Representatives.

He stressed that he had always put the interest of Nigeria in the forefront, leading the fight in the House against the 2007 third term agenda and filed several law suits challenging the executive on appropriation without the approval of the National Assembly.

Gbajabiamila maintained that if elected, his focus would be a conscious re-branding of the House as the symbol of Nigeria’s democracy.


Yakubu Dogara

Yakubu Dogara

This 48-year old lawyer from Bogoro/Dass/Tafawa-Balewa Federal Constituency of Bauchi State was one of the 37 PDP members, who made a historic mass defection to the APC in December 2013.

Dogara schooled at the University of Jos and later obtained his LLM (Masters) in International Law from Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, Scotland, and United Kingdom.

Married with children, he had put in some years in legal practice before he first came to the House in 2007.

He is seen by colleagues as a dependable hand in serious committee assignments, providing intellectual support and research that ultimately deliver incisive reports on findings.

As one of the key contenders for the speakership of the 8th House of Representatives Mr Yakubu Dogara, gave indications on that he might not toe the zoning arrangement of the APC if it would not guarantee “fairness and justice.”

Dogara, who is from Bauchi State (North-East) is considered the main challenger to House Minority Leader, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila (Lagos State), in the race for the position.


Mohammed Monguno

Mohammed Monguno

This Borno lawmaker’s name rings a bell against the backdrop of the activities of Boko Haram insurgents. Monguno, part of his constituency, was one of the towns captured in the North-east by the insurgents and held in captivity until recently when it was liberated by the military.

At a time most of his colleagues were so afraid to talk about the Boko Haram sect, much less criticize its activities, Monguno continually condemned the sect. He sponsored several motions and offered suggestions on how the military could combat the insurgents.

As a third-timer, Monguno chairs the House Committee on Agriculture and was first elected to the House in 1992 on the platform of the defunct Social Democratic Party, SDP, and was re-elected to the lower chamber in 2007.

Born in 1967, the law graduate was called to the Nigerian Bar in 1990 and once served as the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice in Borno State.

An aspirant for the position of Speaker, House of Representatives in the incoming 8th Assembly, Hon Mohammed Tahir Monguno, has declared that he will abide by the APC decision on zoning formula for key positions in the House.


Abdulmumin Jibrin

Abdulmumin Jibrin

Jibrin makes his return to the House for the second time, having arrived there for the first time in 2011.

The PhD holder in International Relations from the University of Abuja is from Bebeji Local Government Area of Kano State.

He holds other academic qualifications including a B.Sc in Political Science; Masters in International Affairs/Diplomacy; and another MBA from Swiss Business School, Zurich, Switzerland.

He has chaired one of the most important House committees since 2011, the Committee on Finance.

Jibrin is easily remembered for raising “50 Questions on State of the Nigerian Economy” for Finance Minister, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, in December 2013, which the minister refused to answer.


Pally Iriase

Pally Iriase

This former Deputy Speaker of the Edo State House of Assembly also served in several other capacities before coming to the House in 2011.

Iriase was Secretary to the State Government and a top member of the breakaway faction of the PDP in Edo State, who later joined the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria.

Born in 1955, this former Local Government Council Chairman, representing Owan-East/Owan-West Federal Constituency, was at some point, Head of Internal Audit Department, of the former Bendel State University.

He taught Accounting at the same institution briefly and was also an Assistant Controller at Omega Bank Plc before he joined politics in 1998.

Iriase studied at the University of Nigeria Nsukka, where he graduated with a B.Sc in Accounting in 1982 and obtained an M.Sc in Accounting from the University of Lagos in 1988.


Ajibola Famurewa

Ajibola Famurewa

The lawmaker from Ilesa-East/West Federal Constituency was born in 1965.

He has been a member of seven House committees, including the Committee on Works.

The second-timer is a mechanical engineer and holds a Higher National Diploma and a Post Graduate Diploma in Mechanical Engineering.

He has served on various committees which included Air Force, Banking and Currency, Diaspora, Works, Internal Security, House Services, among others.

With the zoning arrangement yet to be decided, Nigerians are in the tenterhooks watching who among the six will eventually emerge speaker.