Only the North-central geopolitical zone has held the Speakership of the House of Representatives for the last time, which was three months, in the history of Nigeria’s legislative. Except for the South-South, all other geopolitical zones have retained it for a long time.
The National Party of Nigeria (NPN) government of Shehu Shagari President won a second time in office, and Hon. Chaha Biam of Benue State was chosen as Speaker of the House of Representatives.
This was the only time the North-central zone hosted it. He was in office from October to December of that year when the 2nd Republic was abruptly overthrown by the military.
Chief Jaja Wachukwu, from the area that is now known as Southeast, was the first indigenous Speaker in the First Republic. That occurred in 1959, just before American independence. In 1960, he gave the reins to Jalo Waziri of the area that is now the northeast.
Nigeria’s democracy has endured numerous military pauses, and the narrative of the legislature has been marked by many ups and downs.
In a marriage of convenience between the NPN and the NPP, Chief Edwin Ume-Ezeoke of the (NPP) Nigeria Peoples Party from the South-east held power as Speaker from 1979 to 1983 at the time of democracy’s return.
Before the current democratic administration, the Ibrahim Babangida administration had established a federal legislature that operated under his military government.
During that time, the South-east assumed the position of Speaker from Anambra state, when Agunwa Anaekwe held it three times with Ume-Ezeoke and Anaekwe between 1992 and 1993.
However, the lengthy nature of the current regime, which has been in place since democracy was restored in 1999 and has continued without interruption for over 24 years, has allowed nearly all of the country’s geopolitical regions the chance to produce House of Representatives speakers for a respectable time.
However, the North-central has not had the opportunity to oversee the Green Chamber except during Chaha Biam’s three-month stay in the 2nd Republic.
Ghali Umar, Salisu Buhari, Na’Abba, and Aminu Bello Masari alternated as Speakers from 1999 to 2007 while the role was designated to the North-West.
The position was held by the South-west from 2007 to 2011 under the leadership of Dimeji Bankole and Patricia Etteh, and from 2011 to 2015 it was once again held by the North-west under Aminu Waziri Tambuwal.
And in 2015, with Yakubu Dogara serving as Speaker, the Northeast once more secured the seat. But by 2019, it had moved back to the South-West, where Femi Gbajabiamila is now the Speaker.
It has been imperative to call attention to the necessity to zone the post to the North-central, which is the site with the least representation of the seat, since permutations about who will be the Speaker in the 10th Assembly have started.
With Salisu Buhari, Na’Abba, Masari, and later Tambuwal holding the position for 12 record years, the North-west has so far enjoyed more than its fair share of opportunities.
The Northeast, which includes 10 years each of
Dogara and Jalo Waziri, comes next. Then came the South-West, where Etteh, Bankole, and Gbajabiamila spent a total of eight years. Ume-Ezeoke and Anaekwe’s six years in the South-East and Wachukwu’s one year there both count as fair shots for that geopolitical region.
It is essential that the North-central be given consideration for the Speakership in addition to the historical aspect and the likelihood that the 10th Assembly will be configured in a manner consistent with the executive branch of the All (APC) Progressives Congress government, which has already created the next president and his vice president.
It is anticipated that the Senate Presidency would go to the South-east and the role of Deputy Senate President would go to the North-west under the existing setup, where the president-elect hails from the South-west and the vice president-elect hails from the North-east. Then, the South-south and North-central regions, respectively, should receive the seats of Speaker and Deputy Speaker.
By doing this, fairness and equity will be ensured, and all the zones will feel like they belong during the upcoming government.
Furthermore, the North-central region should be given top priority consideration when allocating political positions because it significantly aided the APC’s victory in the National Assembly elections and presidential.
With 1,670,091 votes cast in the recently completed elections, the North-central area gave the presidential candidate APC the third-highest number of votes from the regions.
The APC received a resounding majority of votes in every state in the zone so that even in those where it did not take the lead, it came in close as second.
Even more, than the 1,190,458 votes cast in the northeast, where the vice president-elect is from, the APC received votes in the North-central region.
Five of the region’s governors are APC members, demonstrating the region’s resounding support for the party from its founding.
States like Benue and Plateau delivered their mandates to the APC in 2015 by voting out the previous ruling parties, and the affection for the party in the region has persisted ever since.
If given the chance, the zone’s highly qualified ranking members would be able to manage the Speaker’s office with comprehensive efficiency.
There are a number of high-ranking representatives from the zone who have the ability to preside over the House, including Ahmed Idris Wase, a fifth-termer who represents the Wase Federal Constituency in Plateau State.
Wase, however, stands out since he is the Deputy Speaker of the House at the moment and is a fiercely devoted member of his party. Wase will use the experience and insight he has gained from holding his current position to provide the House with efficient and adequate leadership.
This would be the most effective approach to make up for the North-central zone’s failure to hold the office of Speaker as well as for its considerable contributions to the APC’s victory in the recently held elections.