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9th Assembly and the speakership contest

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By Imran Muhammad Halilu

AS Nigerians get set to usher in the Ninth National Assembly, especially in the House of Representatives, in June this year, the quest for who emerges as Speaker has rightly dominated discourse in the polity.

Majority of Nigerians would want to see a speaker who would ensure a harmonious working relationship between the Legislative and the Executive arms to achieve the ideals of the APC-led government in the next four years, beginning from May 29.

The All Progressives Congress, APC, with the support of the Presidency, is set to zone the various leadership positions in the National Assembly. But truth be told, that zoning should be done based on certain considerations. In spite of this, the quest should not be extended too far as there are several candidates who easily fit the bill.

First, the party should consider zoning the positions, especially that of speaker, to a region where it has lawmakers-elect with popular support. The second consideration should be to zone the position to a region that has never produced the number four citizen, which obviously is the North Central.

One of the candidates of note is Ahmed Idris Wase, who has represented Wase Federal Constituency of Plateau State in the Green Chamber since 2007. He not only possesses leadership qualities, including leading the House, but also has the prowess and finesse to handle every situation that may present itself as speaker.

Lawyers set agenda for 9th Assembly

After obtaining a National Diploma in Civil Engineering from the Plateau State Polytechnic in 1986, the 55-year-old legislator later obtained the Higher National Diploma in Civil Engineering from Kaduna Polytechnic in 1995. In 2005, he was appointed the Executive Secretary of the  Plateau State Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Board, a position he held up to 2006 before his election to the Green Chamber by his constituents under the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, in 2007. A committed member of the APC after the merger that gave birth to the party, he understands the dynamics of good governance and positive social change. He later bagged an Executive Certificate in Strategic Governance in 2016 from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government in the United States.

Wase has demonstrated to his constituents that good governance and quality representation are possible, hence his many programmes that have had positive impact on the people. His key areas of interest have been in education, health, youth empowerment, infrastructural development and quality representation of the interest of his state at the national stage.

Nicknamed Maje by his associates, he was appointed chairman of the House Committee on Federal Character in the seventh assembly, and retained the position in the current assembly until his elevation to the position of deputy house leader late last year.

As chairman of the Federal Character Committee, he fought to bridge the disparity and imbalances in various states and regions in terms of employment and infrastructural distribution to bring them in line with the constitutional requirement of federal character. He thus distinguished himself as a man keen on justice, equity and fairness; as a result, he became known as a  go-getter for employment opportunities for members and staff of the National Assembly.

His Committee became the most active committee in the seventh and eighth assemblies, recording an unprecedented number of interactive meetings with MDAs exceeding 150 sessions per assembly. On his contributions on the floor of the House during debates on major bills and motions, Wase exuded diligence and experience in his contributions which were always laced with wisdom from a man that has it in abundance.

In the last 12 years that he has served as a lawmaker, no scandal has cropped up around him. He served as member of several committees during the sixth and seventh assemblies, including committees on emergency and disaster (2007-2011); public service and federal character (2007-2011); environment (2007-2011); area councils (2011-2015); capital market (2011-2015); public accounts (2011-2015); poverty alleviation (2011-2015); housing and habitat (2011-2015).

Between 2015 and 2018, Wase has served as member of the governing board of the National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies, NILDS. He was a member of the Federal Government delegation to the 89th Session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York and had been appointed regional representative for West Africa to serve on the executive committee of the Commonwealth parliamentary Association International, CPA.

Given his profile, it is sufficient to state that Wase is one of those that should be considered for the speakership of the House.

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