Are the Speakers witch-hunted?

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By Florence Amagiya

It is noteworthy to say that,the House of Representatives since the advent of this democratic dispensation in 1999 has been presided over by five lawmakers including Salisu Buhari,Ghali Umar Na’ Abba, Mrs. Patricia Olubunmi Etteh,Aminu Bello Masari and the last man standing Dimeji Saburi Bankole. They were all members of the ruling People Democratic Party (PDP) while presiding over the affairs of the House.

Incidentally, their different tenure were enmeshed with one crisis or the other. More importantly, each of them was unable to return to the glorified chamber after their reign as Speakers. While Na’ Abba and Masari were able to serve out their tenures during the ex- president Olusegun Obasanjo administration which terminated in 2007, Etteh and Buhari were not so lucky.

Buhari was the first speaker of the House of Representatives under the present democratic dispensation. However; his tenure was short-lived as he was forced to resign over allegations that he was underage and that he also presented false academic qualifications allegedly from Toronto University, Canada.

Ghali Umar Na’ abba represented Kano Municipal Constituency of Kano State in the House of Representatives between 1999 and 2003.

He was appointed chairman of the House Appropriations Committee before he was elected speaker after the resignation of Buhari, and he piloted the affairs of the House till the end of that political dispensation in April, 2003.

Under his leadership, the House was always in a face-off with Obasanjo over one issue or the other. In September 2002, he was called before the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) to answer a petition filed against him.

Later, the Senate and the House of Representatives modified the anti- corruption Act, giving him immunity from prosecution. He sought another election and lost out to All Nigeria People Party (ANPP)

As for Patricia Etteh, it was historic when she was elected as the first female leader of the House and thus the most powerful woman in Nigeria’s political history at the advent of the sixth National Assembly in 2007. But she was forced to resign on allegation of corruption few months after assumption of office.

Bankole on the other hand is the son of a frontline politician in Abeokuta, Ogun State, Chief Alani. Bankole succeeded Etteh. Although the 42 years old politician has been commended in many quarters as an intelligent politician. He also went through crisis, he was able to finish two terms but lost out on the third.

The questions that couldcome to the lips of every true Nigerian with an analytical mind as the nation’s sixth National Assembly came to an end and the seventh began are:

Are all the Speakers of the House of Representative witch-hunted? Why is it that not even one of the five politicians has been returned to the House? What is the faith of the present speaker? What should be expected of him by Nigerians? Will he finish his tenure with clean hands or is he also jinxed?

I think it is important for the present House and the Speaker, Aminu Tambuwal to be aware that search lights are on them. The expectations of Nigerians are equally very high and there will be more stumbling blocks and hurdles to jump over. Will they be witch-hunted like the others before them or will they learn from the mistakes of the others by following their mandates to the letter? The choice is theirs.

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