By Jonathan Nda-Isaiah
The battle for who succeeds Hon Femi Gbajiamiala as the Leader of the House of Representatives is getting tough, with different gladiators expressing interest in taking the plum job, JONATHAN NDA-ISAIAH writes. In less than two months, a new leadership of the 9th National Assembly will emerge.
Right now, there is ongoing horsetrading, permutations and negotiations on who becomes the Speaker of the House of Representatives. The All Progressive Congress (APC) had recently adopted Femi Gbajiamiala as its preferred candidate for the office of tr Speaker of the House in the 9th Assembly. However that has not stopped other contestants from throwing their hats into the ring.
A female aspirant for the office of the Speaker, Hon. Nkiru Onyejeocha (APC, Abia), has called on Gbajabiamila to step down for her. She urged the party to have a rethink and zone the speakership to the South-east. A frontline aspirant, Hon. Umaru Mohammed Bago, has dismissed reports making the rounds that he has withdrawn from the contest.
Bago described the reports as false, adding that it was aimed at distracting his campaign. The Niger-born lawmaker made the clarification in a statement signed by the spokesperson of the Bago Campaign Organisation, Hon. Victor Afam Ogene. Ogene noted that his principal’s ambition is not driven by personal interest but for the quest to ensure that the North-Central region of the country is included in the business of governance.
The party had also zoned the Deputy Speaker position to the North-Central.That also has continued to generate ripples in the party as the South-East zone has continued to demand one of the two top leadership positions in the House of Representatives. While the politicking and intrigues for who becomes the speaker and deputy continued, the horse-trading of who becomes the majority leader of the House has also begun in earnest.
The North-West is demanding to be given the House Leader position on the strength that they delivered the highest number of votes to APC and President Muhammadu Buhari in the February presidential election. It is instructive to note that the North-West boasts of the highest number of lawmakers in the House of Representatives.
It also worthy to note that the primary functions of a Majority Leader in the House of Representatives usually relate to floor duties. The Majority Leader is the lead speaker for the majority party during floor debates, develops the calendar, assists the speaker with and programme development, policy formation and policy decisions.
The majority leader generally develops the majority caucus agenda with the principal leaders, presides over the majority caucus meetings and assists with the development of policy. Consequently, Musa Sarkin Adar who come from Sokoto state in the North-West has thrown his hat into the ring for the position of the House Leader. Other contenders for the position of the House leader include Hon Abdulmumuni Jibril, incumbent chief whip Hon. Ado Doguwa, and Hon. Kawu Sumaila.
Those in the know however, understand the natural criteria the North places before their leaders; outside of actual performance as a leader of his community, for a politician to be sufficiently revered in the North, he has to have a huge stock of integrity, honesty, patriotism, intelligence, compassion, charisma and has to be flexible. Recall that during the 8th National Assembly’s raging battle to support Gbajabiamila against Dogara it was Sarkin Adar who led 176 members to campaign for the Speakership seat.
At the end of the day, many of those 176 supporters of Gbajabiamila switched camp and switched political loyalty, leaving only Sarkin Adar and a few others to continue the campaign for Gbajabiamia. Sarkin Adar is a firm believer in principle, accountability, prudence, dedication and yet humble, down to earth and caring for the constituents. Sarkin Adar is from the Northwest, an indigene of Sokoto State and currently represents Goronyo/Gada Federal Constituency in the House.
Prior to becoming a member of the House of Representatives, he was a Director in the Governor’s Office in Sokoto and worked at the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) as Personnel Manager. In 2007, he contested for the House of Representative and won, got re-elected for another term in the 2011, 2015 and re-contested in 2019 on the Platform of the All Progressive Congress(APC) and Won to represent Goronyo/Gada.
He has as his legislative interests Rural Development, Youth/Women empowerment Employment, Agricultural improvement. According to a political analyst ,Haruna Ibrahim,for Sarkin Adar to have been elected for four consecutive times to represent his constituency in the House of Representatives, means he must have performed creditably as a parliamentarian. Undoubtedly, he represented the entire northern interest in such critical areas as rural development, youth and women empowerment, employment and agricultural improvement.
“Going beyond his well-documented achievement as a parliamentarian, the North-West Solidarity Forum which marketed him to the present level, simply brought to the fore Sarkin Adar’s rare characteristics that were hitherto largely unknown to the larger public.
“In order for the Group to actually get the North-West and the entire North by and large to endorse Sarkin Adar, they proved that he possesses the rare qualities that make a politician tick in the North.
In the end, the Solidarity Forum was able “to expose Sarkin Adar as one northern politician who aspires to respect different views, analyze problems, and identify the best solutions – not based on loyalty to political party alone, but based on what is good and right and in the best interest of the people as a whole.