Posted by By Chiawo Nwankwo and Victor Sam on
I have a vision I believe that from this hallowed chamber shall flow robust debates, exciting motions, timely bills, and quality legislation that will significantly impact on the standard and quality of lives of our expectant people Bankole.
I have a vision I believe that from this hallowed chamber shall flow robust debates, exciting motions, timely bills, and quality legislation that will significantly impact on the standard and quality of lives of our expectant people Bankole. The three-month crisis in the House of Representatives ended on Thursday with the election of Mr. Dimeji Bankole as the new Speaker.
The new Speaker, Mr. Dimeji Bankole, in Abuja on Thursday. Photo: Sam Adeko.
Also, Alhaji Usman Bayero Nafada, a two-term lawmaker from Dukku/Nafada Federal Constituency in Gombe State, emerged as the new Deputy Speaker through acclamation. No member from his North-East zone opposed him.
Bankole, a 37-year-old lawmaker, represents Abeokuta South Federal Constituency in Ogun State. He is a bachelor.
The new Speaker, who was elected to the House for the first term in 2003, defeated his only opponent, Mr. George Jolaoye.
The election was conducted by the Clerk of the National Assembly, Alhaji Nasiru Arab.
Bankole polled 304 votes as against 20 votes by Jolaoye. Four lawmakers abstained from voting.
The election was conducted through the calling of each of the names of the 328 legislators that voted.
Each member of the House was directed to mention the name of the candidate he or she wanted to vote for.
The process began at about 11.50 am and ended at 12.44pm.
Currently, the House has 355 lawmakers as against the statutory 360. Three lawmakers had died since the House was inaugurated on June 5, while two seats have not been filled yet.
Bankoles nomination was made by Mr. Sampson Osagie, a lawmaker from Edo State. The nomination was seconded by Ms. Lynda Ikpeazu.
Osagie said the nomination of Bankole was based on Order 2 (3) (a) of the House Standing Order.
He described Bankole, who was born on November 14, 1970, as humble, amiable and gentle.
Osagie said, Bankole ‘possesses the intellectual capacity and capability to lead the House to greater heights.”
He also said that the new Speaker was an economist, with degrees from the University of Reading, and Oxford University in the UK.
He added that Bankole attended Harvard University, where he obtained a Certificate in Public Finance Management.
The Speaker had passed selection to the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, UK.
His rival, Jolaoye, a lawmaker from Osun State, was the choice of the Peoples Democratic Party and the former Speaker, Mrs. Patricia Etteh.
But the lawmakers defied the partys directive to elect their preferred candidate.
At exactly 1.35pm, the new Speaker took his seat and shook the former Speaker pro-tempore, Mr. Tergu Tsegba.
The clerk, who administered the oath of office, was assisted by the Acting Clerk of the House, Mr. Niyi Ajiboye.
Upon sitting down, Bankole quickly adjusted himself, put on the microphone, turned to right and left and smiled.
Then, he picked the gavel and rammed it to the admiration of his colleagues, who gave him a standing ovation.
But Etteh and a few of her loyalists remained glued to their seats.
As if the rap did not reverberate enough, he hit the gavel on the table a second time, and his action triggered another round of applause.
Before Bankole took his seat, Tsegba had vacated the Speakers chair amidst a standing ovation too.
Midway to Tsegbas return to the floor, Alhaji Farouk Lawan, the leader of the Integrity Group, met him and they warmly embraced each other.
In his maiden address, Bankole urged his colleagues to be prepared to serve the country and live above board.
His speech delivery was flawless, as evident in his diction and candour.
He said, Honourable colleagues, we stand here today upon the threshold of history. The event of the last few months have certainly brought to ourselves and our nation mixed feelings.
We recall the great expectations of our people with the inauguration of this noble House some five months ago, and hereby promise to rekindle those hopes by rising above and across the crises that followed in the aftermath of the unfortunate events from which we are presently emerging
There is no gainsaying, therefore, that we have been elected to leadership at a most trying time.
A period when the need to restore public confidence, set the agenda and machinery for legislative business, evolve best practices for public procurement, ensure judicious use of public funds, entrench transparency and accountability, unite our honourable members, and mobilise our energies towards the critical business of lawmaking and constituency representation is at its most urgent.
I have a vision, a vision of a House of Representatives which shall once again be fondly referred to as the House of the Nigerian people.
I believe that from this hallowed chamber shall flow robust debates, exciting motions, timely bills, and quality legislation that will significantly impact on the standard and quality of lives of our expectant people.
Our nation is at a period when she is not only reforming, but has also evinced a strong resolve to emerge as one of the 20 largest and most viable economies of the world by 2020.”
He said that the House under his leadership would not shirk this responsibility.
He added that a robust oversight of ministries and agencies would be pursued.
Also, he urged his colleagues to be prepared for the consideration of all issues that may arise in the constitution amendment, prepare a legislative agenda with the people as the focus.
He reiterated President Umaru YarAduas zero tolerance for corruption, institutional independence and interdependence of all arms of government.
While calling on his colleagues to form a synergy in order to attain his envisaged legislative agenda, he paid glowing tribute to the media for being robust in discharging its constitutional mandate, just as he thanked the Nigerian people.
No tribute can truly and sufficiently capture our gratitude to the very robust Nigerian media. A Fourth Estate of the Realm which has remained a dogged signpost, in the recurrent elucidation of the core values to which Nigeria must adhere, if our democratic journey will lead us to that promised land,” he added.
The Speaker later adjourned the House till next Wednesday to allow lawmakers to participate in the primaries for local government poll.
Etteh did not stand up as her colleagues lauded the Speakers address, though she clapped, perhaps in appreciation of the issues encapsulated in it.
Bankole and Etteh embraced each other, as the new Speaker walked out of the chamber after adjournment.
Earlier, Tsegba had in his valedictory address as Speaker pro-tempore said there should be healing of wounds and reconciliation by lawmakers against the backdrop of division and acrimony the contract scam had provoked.
He noted that the members of the House were guilty of the collective failure of appreciating their role in sustaining the nations fledgling democracy.
He said,Because we have collectively contaminated the moral environment of this hallowed chamber and our respected legislative institution, we are thus here today to celebrate General Yakubu Gowon after the Nigerian civil war (1967-1970) when he said, ‘no victor, no vanquished and proceeded to implement his 3Rs policy that led to phenomenal healing, reconciliation and restoration.”
Quoting a former US President, Abraham Lincoln, he said, We are not enemies but friends, with malice towards none.”
He said that the new leadership in the House had thrown a challenge to the lawmakers, which should be displayed by showing that they were mature and disciplined representatives of the people and not rascals.
Let us bring forth a new Speaker, a new leadership for a new House, to heal the wounds we inflicted on ourselves, on our democracy, on Nigeria, who will speedily restore our tarnished personal and institutional integrity and who will reconcile us with our constituencies, ourselves and with Nigerians.”
Tsegba received a standing ovation from his colleagues for his homily.
However, the expected reconstitution of the other principal officers of the PDP sacked on Tuesday did not come up, as some of the zones still had issues to resolve.
While sources said the South-South returned the House Leader, Mr. Tunde Akogun, and the Deputy Chief Whip, Alhaji Waziri Tambuwal, from North-West, the Chief Whip, Mr. Bethel Amadi, might find it hard reclaiming his seat.
At Wednesdays session, Mr. Ogbuefi Ozomgbachi, a lawmaker from Enugu State, acted as the Chief Whip pro-tempore, just as the Deputy House Leader, Mr. Baba Shehu, from North-West, appeared to have lost his seat.
The vacant seats, it was gathered, will be filled next Wednesday, when the House reconvenes.
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