324 House of Representatives members-elect get CoR

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has presented certificates of return to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, his Deputy, Ahmed Wase, and 322 other members-elect.

Among them are the wives of two former governors, Regina Akume (Benue) and Khadijat Bukar Abba Ibrahim (Yobe).

Kayode, son of the Oba Rilwan Akiolu of Lagos; Akeem. son of the late Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi; Olumide, son of Ogun State former Governor Segun Osoba; Erhiatake, daughter of former Delta State Governor James Ibori and Mohammed, son of Kaduna State Governor Nasir el-Rufai are among the incoming lawmakers.

Besides, Regina, Khadijat and Erhiatake, 11 other women are on the list. They are Maureen Gwacham (Anambra), Boma Goodhead (Rivers), Mariam Onuoha(Imo), Beni Lar (Plateau), Fatima Talba (Yobe); Zainab Gimba (Borno), Onanuga Oriyomi (Ogun), Blessing Onuh (Benue), Clara Nnabuefe (Anambra) Ebikake Enenimiete (Bayelsa) and Obiageli Orogbu-(Anambra).

Out of the 324 members-elect listed by INEC, only 104 of them are serving members of the House.

The results of 35 federal constituencies are not ready. Although supplementary elections are to be conducted in some of them this weekend, some had the announcements of winners halted by courts. The result of the Doguwa/Tudun Wada federal constituency of Kano State was deleted by the electoral commission because it was announced under duress.

The supplementary elections are to be conducted in constituencies in Akwa Ibom, Edo, Imo, Oyo, Kebbi, Rivers, Zamfara, Anambra, Bayelsa, Ebonyi, Jigawa, Kano, Kogi, Taraba and Sokoto states.

INEC is withholding results from some constituencies in Ondo and Enugu due to court orders.

During the presentation of the certificates of return, security operatives had a hectic time controlling the supporters of the House of Representatives-elect.  

Some of the returning members told The Nation that the high number of new lawmakers would impact the functions of the Legislature.

One of the returning members, Bamidele Salam, said:”I want to appeal to all new members to put Nigeria first. Whichever political party brought us to the parliament, Nigeria should be first because we must have a country before a political party and tribe.

“The result of this election has shown us that unless we do something fast to change the trajectory of unemployment and youth restiveness, I don’t know what will happen to our democracy.

“The young generation is getting impatient and they are justified. We need to do something this time around”.

Spokesman for the House, Benjamin Kalu, advised Nigerians to “be expectant because there is going to be a robust legislative outing.” 

He added: “In the 10th Assembly, we need to continue from where we stopped, supporting good policies of the government and fighting against unhealthy government policies for the growth of our nation.

“We are coming back to make sure that beyond party colours, we synergise with other members in analysing their needs and having a buy-in towards having political interventions in those zones. We will work to ensure that there is a healthy Nigeria because when we build a healthy nation, we will be proud of it.”

Chairman of the House Committee on Water Resources, Sada Soli, said the high number of new lawmakers would impact the 10th Assembly because it’s like going back to the drawing board.

His words: “Legislative engineering is a very rigorous process and to have this kind of large turnover is a great deal of work. We need to the cooperation of the Executive, and the Judiciary for us to move on. In view of the turnover we have, a lot of our people will have to learn the process from the beginning.

“It will be a hell of work for the few of us that remain and it is incumbent on us to carry the new members along and take them through the process. I can see a lot of jobs ahead of us because of the turnover.

However, one of the returning female members, Mariam Onuoha wants the position of either the Speaker or Deputy Speaker reserved for a woman.   

“I am glad that I am one of the few women who survived the tsunami. I pray that the 10th Assembly will give women more opportunities. 

“The few of us that survived will sit down and revisit women’s bills that did not scale through a constitutional amendment and ensure that they are passed by the House and the Senate.

“I also use this opportunity to seek leadership positions for women. The few women that have come will be happier if a woman becomes the Speaker or Deputy Speaker.” 

The member representing Oshodi/Isolo 1 of Lagos State, Bashiru Dawudu, said the 10th Assembly should dedicate a lot of time to address issues of youth restiveness and good governance.

He said: “There are some issues that came out of this campaign that we need to learn from. Governance is about being dynamic. There is a lot of youth restiveness and we need to do more for our youths.”

A member-elect, Donatus Matthew, said he has once elected a councillor after he stopped being a commercial motorcycle (okada) rider in Kaduna. 

He said: “My name had been trending and people have been trying to know who I am and from where I am coming. Being an Okada rider was my humble beginning. There are other responsibilities that I had been involved in.

“I was once appointed a supervisory councillor. After that, I contested and won election as a councillor and I have held various positions before getting to this place”.

Asked what he was bringing to the table, Matthew, replied: “We have been with the people and know their plights. We will contribute our quota to ensure that there are programmes that will have a direct bearing on the people.”

Ibori’s daughter, Erhiatake gave kudos to her father but was quick to add that her victory was made possible by the people of her constituency.

She said: “As Ibori’s daughter, people will believe that I came into politics on a platform created by him. I am very proud to be Chief James Ibori’s daughter and I tell people that because he is a great man and a great father. 

“But I worked with my people to deliver this mandate because I understand the fact that as women, we struggle to belong in Delta politics. As a woman, even if you are 50, you cannot dream of a position like this.”

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