One hundred and seven out of the 360 members of the House of Representatives may not be returning to the National Assembly when it is inaugurated by June next year. There are many reasons why the incumbent lawmakers would not be returning to the Green Chamber.
It is gradually becoming clear that the 10th House of Representatives will be without several experienced lawmakers who failed to secure a return ticket from their parties to contest the next general elections. While some of them have decided to seek higher calling either in the Senate or as governors of their respective states, several others failed to get the mandate of their respective parties to fly their flag during the election. Many of them failed to secure a return ticket because of the issue of power rotation in their constituencies. Others fell to the machinations of their godfathers, while some failed because they have spent many years in the Green Chamber or because they failed to offer quality representation to the people they represent.
Interestingly, three of the 10 principal officers of the House (four from the ruling party, four from the opposition and two presiding officers) will not be part of the Green Chamber when the 10th Assembly is inaugurated in June 2023. They are Chief Whip of the House, Mohammed Tahir Mongunu (Borno), Deputy Minority Leader, Toby Okechukwu (Enugu) and Deputy Minority Whip Adekoya Abdul-Mojeed (Ogun). Mongunu, a former Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice in Borno State is one of the oldest serving members of the House, as well as one of the most active members. He headed the ad-hoc committee that midwifed the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) in the House.
However, his service in the house has ended, following the unanimous decision of his people to give him a bigger responsibility. The lawmaker will continue his legislative work in the Senate from 2023 if he wins in the general election. He was returned unopposed for one of the three senatorial seats in the state. The emergence of Senator Abubakar Kyari as the Deputy National Chairman of the APC paved the way for the elevation of Mongunu to vie for the senatorial seat.
For Toby Okechukwu, it is a different story. The people of Aninri/Agwu/Oji River Federal Constituency in Enugu State believe he has spent enough time in the Green Chamber. As a result, he failed to secure his party’s ticket to recontest for the seat during next year’s House of Representatives election. Okechukwu’s defeat in the primary is one of the biggest shocks witnessed during the PDP primary. The Deputy Minority Whip, Adekoya Abdul-Mojeed was also not lucky, like Okechukwu. The PDP in Ijebu North/Ijebu East/Ogun Waterside decided to give the ticket to another candidate. So, Adekoya will not be part of the Green Chamber in 2023. Ossai Nicholas Ossai who heads the House of Representatives Committee on Treaty and Protocol and one of the most vibrant lawmakers in the chamber also failed to secure the PDP ticket to contest for the Ndokwa/ Ukwani Federal Constituency seat. Available information has it that his people are of the view that he has had enough time in the House. Therefore, he was not given the mandate to recontest to represent them. Ossai has remained one of the few strong voices of the opposition in the House and he will be missed by his colleagues when the 10th assembly is inaugurated next year.
In Imo State, the none of the three Senators representing the Imo East, Sen. Ezenwa Onyewuchi (PDP), Imo North, Sen. Frank Ibezim (APC) and Sen. Rochas Okorocha (APC) got the tickets of their party to return to the Red Chambers. For the Green Chambers, the member for Aboh Mbaise/Ngor-Okpala, Bede Ekeh (PDP), the member for Ideato North and Ideato South, Pascal Obi (APC), the member for Orlu/Orsu/Oru-East, Jerry Alagbaoso (PDP) who contested Imo West Senate ticket and lost, are all not returning to the National Assembly.
Other experienced lawmakers who will not be part of the House include Mark Gbillah, Chinyere Igwe, Sam Onuigbo, Tajudeen Yusuf, and Nkem Abonta among others. While Tajudeen Yusuf secured the ticket of the PDP to contest the Kogi West senatorial election, beating Senator Dino Melaye to the ticket, Sam Onuigbo and Uko Nkole, Nicholas Garba lost their bid to go to the Senate. Also, Ogbeide Ihima, like Tajudeen Yusuf, secured the ticket of a faction of the PDP in Edo State to contest the senatorial election.
Onofiok Luke who represents Etinan/Nsit Ibom/Nsit Ubium Federal Constituency had nursed the ambition of becoming governor of Akwa Ibom State. But, that dream appears to have crashed as the PDP governorship ticket has been given to the favoured candidate of Governor Udom Emmanuel. But, the former Speaker of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly has not given up.
Farah Dagogo will also not take part in the deliberations of the House of Representatives in the 10th National Assembly, as he is currently fighting for his freedom. He was arrested and is currently undergoing trial in Port Harcourt, after being declared wanted by Governor Nyesom Wike. Dagogo was one of those who bought the PDP ticket to contest the governorship election in the state. He was not screened and not cleared by the party for the contest. He has, however, filed a suit at the Federal High Court in Abuja, claiming he was excluded from the exercise.
Sylvester Ogbaga, Chukwuma Alegbela and Anayo Edwin may also not be part of the Green Chamber haven contested the governorship ticket of the PDP in Ebonyi state. Even though they were not successful, some of them have complained about the process.
In the same vein, Herman Hembe, regarded as one of the most vibrant lawmakers in the house will also not be part of the Green Chamber in 2023. Hembe has transverse several political parties in his stay in the legislature. In 2019, he was elected on the platform of APGA and later defected to the APC. Chairman of the House Committee on National Security and Intelligence, Sheban Ibrahim Sharada sought to be the next governor of Kano State, but lost to the Deputy Governor. Sharada has rejected the outcome of the primary that threw up the Deputy Governor. In Sokoto State, Abubakar Salame will not be returning to the House after losing his bid to contest the governorship of the state. Salame who stepped down from the APC primary complained that the process was not transparent. However, only Mohammed Bago who will also not be returning to the House was successful in his bid to seek higher responsibilities as he emerged as the governorship candidate of the APC in Niger State. Chairman of the House Committee on Army, Abdulrazak Namdas was very sure he will emerge the governorship candidate of the APC in Adamawa State. So, he already made up his mind not to contest the election into the House. Namdas lost the governorship ticket to Senator Aishatu Binani.
Some other members of the House will not be part of the green chamber in 2023 because they choose not to contest the election for obvious reasons. Stephen Azaiki (Bayelsa) Leo Ogor (Delta, after being in the House five times), and Sergius Ogun (Edo) did not contest the election. While Sergius opted not to contest because of the principle of rotation, having served two terms, Leo Ogor opted out after serving five terms in the House. Majority of the members from Kwara, Katsina and Nasarawa State failed to secure return tickets to the House. As of the time of this report, only four of the 15 House of Reps members from the state had secured a return ticket, while nine others failed to secure their tickets. Two results were, however, still being awaited. A controversial member from Jigawa State, Muhammad Gudaji who is perhaps the funniest member of the house failed to get a return ticket, same with the Deputy Chairman of the House Committee on Customs and Excise, Sani Ado Kiri. In Kaduna State, Shehu Balarabe fell victim to the single term and power rotation policy in the state. He will not be returning to the House. The ticket was given to Bashir Zubairu, a former Speaker of the Kaduna State House of Assembly. Johnson Oghuma (Edo) who heads the House Committee on Environment, Lanre Edu (Ogun) who is the Vice Chairman of the House Committee on Works, Ibrahim Obanikoro (Lagos), Bede Eke (Imo), and Patrick Asadu (Enugu) will also not be coming back to the House, except they actualize their ambition in other parties.
Francis Ottah Agbo lost his ticket to a lady said to be the daughter of former Senate President David Mark. Agbo who represented Ado/Ogbadibo/Okpoku Federal Constituency was said to have gotten himself involved in some local politics, interfering often in traditional matters, while making himself inaccessible. The PDP in Delta State may also have lost a vocal voice in the house with the defeat of Rowland Ben Igbakpa by the daughter of former Governor James Ibori. Another member of the House who will be missing is Rimande Shawulu from Taraba State. Incidentally, all the PDP members of the House from Taraba state did not get a return ticket to contest the election. Shawulu was said to have been a victim of manipulation of the process by Governor Darius Ishaku. As a result of the manipulation, all PDP members of the House from the state did not get their return tickets and so, may not be part of the 10th National Assembly unless the contest on the platform of other parties and succeed.
Rivers State is another state that is going to witness a clean sweep, as a majority of the members from the state, especially those on the PDP platform are not returning to the House; at least not on the PDP ticket. Chinyere Igwe, Chikere Kenneth Anayo, Farah Dagogo, Gogo Bright Tamuno and Prince Nnam Obi Uchechukwu did not get the PDP ticket. The result of the APC primary was still being awaited at the time of this report. The party has two members in the House of Representatives from the Southsouth state.
Shina Pellar, another member of the current assembly also failed to get a return ticket. The same thing applies to Adejoro Adeogun who headed the ad-hoc committee that investigated unclaimed funds in banks. Ajibola Muraino also failed in his bid to get his party’s return ticket to the House.
So far, about 107 members out of the 360 in the House of Representatives from the two major political parties will not be returning to the House.