Following the February 25th 2023 presidential and National Assembly elections, the Independent National Electoral Commission has announced that at least 73 new senators will be in the 10th Senate. The Activist Media introduces some of them in this report.
As the 10th National Assembly begins to take shape, at least 73 new Senators-elect are warming up to take their seats in the upper chamber of the next parliament. They will join the about 25 returning Senators who will be retaining their seats in the new assembly having been re-elected by their constituents to continue as the representatives of their respective senatorial districts. Some of them are returning to the upper chamber for their third, fourth, fifth or sixth terms respectively. These returning lawmakers are now qualified to be called ‘ranking members’.
Among the new Senators are prominent politicians who have held important political offices before now. Former governors, former deputy governor, ex-federal and state legislators, and many others the winners of the senatorial elections held alongside the presidential poll on February 25, 2023, will take their seats when the next Senate is convened. More newcomers are likely to emerge when the re-run poll holding in the outstanding senatorial districts is concluded. Some of the fresh Senators to watch out for include:
Adams Oshiomhole, a former national chairman of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and immediate former governor of Edo who also served as the National Chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), will be joining the 10th senate as the representative of Edo North Senatorial District. On his way to the senate chamber, he defeated his erstwhile political godson and incumbent Senator, Francis Alimekhena, who contested on the platform of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state.
Oshiomhole, turned 71 this month, won his election to the senate on the platform of the APC. Oshiomhole is expected by many to play prominent roles in the next parliament especially in the area of protecting the interest of the ruling APC and the federal government. Already, he is being touted as one of those interested in the presidency of the senate in spite of being a newcomer to the chamber. The civil society and the unionists are also looking forward to his contributions that will promote workers’ welfare and human rights. He is also expected to promote loyalty and cooperation among APC senators as a former party boss.
Also, the people of his senatorial district are expecting the former governor to make good his promise of opening up the area to the world through legislation and infrastructural amenities. “My intention to vie for the Senatorial seat is to ensure that the voice of Afemai land is heard and my concept of empowerment will be modified, not just giving Keke Napep, generator or motorcycle,’ Oshiomhole, who believes the Senate should not be a place of a “sabbatical leave for ex-governors”. had said last year while declaring his bid for the senatorial seat.
Incumbent Rivers State deputy governor, Dr. Ipalibo Harry-Banigo, will be a prominent face when the next parliament is inaugurated. The elderly politician was declared winner of the Rivers West senatorial district election held on February 25. She defeated the candidate of the APC and former chairman of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Hon. Asita, to book her place in the 10th senate. Born on the 20th of December, 1952, the trained medical doctor became the first female deputy governor of Rivers State on the platform of the PDP in 2015 when Nyesom Wike was elected governor of the state.
She has held various important offices at the Rivers State Ministry of Health before venturing into partisan politics. During her service, she rose to the positions of Director of Public Health Services, Acting Commissioner, Director-General and Permanent Secretary. In 1995, she was nominated as the Secretary to the Government of Rivers State. She later served as Head of Service of the state before her emergence as deputy governor in 2015. Upon the completion of two terms of four years as deputy governor on May 29, 2023, the prominent female politician will join other Senators-elect at the upper chamber of the National Assembly.
While campaigning for the senate seat, Harry-Banigo assured the people of her senatorial district that she would provide undivided representation if voted into the Senate in 2023. She is expected to join other female legislators to promote the interest of women and children at the national assembly. Her election to the senate has been widely described as a reward for her loyalty to her boss. During her 70th birthday last year, Governor described her as an exceptionally supportive deputy.
Controversial politician and husband of a popular Nollywood actress, Regina Daniel, Hon. Chinedu Nwoko better known as Ned Nwoko, will also be joining the next senate as the representative of Delta North Senatorial District of Delta State. The well known socialite was declared winner of the coveted seat after he polled a total of 92,514 votes to defeat the Labour Party (LP) candidate, Kennedy Kanma, who polled 86,121 votes and the incumbent senator and candidate of APC, Peter Nwaoboshi, who scored 36,816 votes.
The lawyer, philanthropist and politician, was a member of the House of Representatives between 1999 and 2003 representing Aniocha/Oshimili Federal Constituency, Delta State. In 2019, he lost a chance to be in the senate when his emergence as the senator representing Delta North Senatorial District was nullified by the Court of Appeal, Abuja Division. Nwoko and Senator Nwaoboshi, who were then chieftains of the PDP, had contested for the senatorial ticket of the party in the primaries.
The PDP later won the senatorial election in the district with Nwaoboshi recognized as its candidate. Dissatisfied with the outcome of the primary election, Nwoko approached the court for redress. On the strength of the initial High Court ruling, INEC withdrew the certificate issued to Nwaoboshi and presented same to Nwoko, recognizing him as Senator-elect. But the decision was later reversed following the appeal court ruling shortly before the inauguration of the 9th National Assembly.
Incumbent Speaker of the Cross River State House of Assembly, Hon. Eteng Jonah Williams is another newcomer that will be coming to the senate next month. The outspoken politician emerged as the winner of the February 25 senatorial election to represent Cross River Central senatorial district in the tenth National Assembly. Eteng, who is the candidate of the ruling APC, polled 57,344 votes to beat his closest rival and former federal lawmaker, Honorable Bassey Eko Ewa of the PDP. Ewa polled 53,453 votes in the fiercely fought election.
Eteng, an experience legislator, was elected to represent Yakurr II constituency at the State Assembly. He has held several legislative positions including Deputy Leader of the House, Adviser to the Speaker of the House, Chairman House Committee on Finance and Appropriation, Vice Chairman House Committee on Business and Rule among many others.
Eteng as a legislator in the 7th and 8th Assembly in Cross River State, has shown some laudable and erudite skills in Legislative activities.Before coming into politics, the APC chieftain had worked with the office of the Organisation for African Unity (OAU) Chairman (documentation Unit), at the Presidency where he was in charge of compilation and writing of the research. As an experienced lawmaker, he is expected to sponsor bills that will improve the lives of the people.
For the first time since 1999, a senator elected on the platform of a party other than the PDP, will be taking the senate seat of Edo Central Senatorial District of Edo State. Monday Okpebholo of the APC won the senate seat by scoring 41,334 votes while the LP candidate scored 32,574 and the PDP candidate got 25,225, during the last National Assembly election. Okpebholo aka Akpakomizam, was a political son of the late godfather of Edo politics and Iyasele of Esanland, Chief Anthony Akhakon Anenih.
Born on 29th August in 1970 to popular Okpebholo family of Udomi – Irrua in Esan Central local government, Okpebholo relocated to Jos, Plateau state, to live with his elder brother. It was here he became successful in the computer business and in 2000 established his own brand called Chapman Computers. In 2002, he also set up Interweb Satcom in Abuja, which today, is a leading internet service provider and broadband merchant in Africa. Okpebholo was for many years, a member of the PDP before defecting to APC in 2020.
Today, the Senator elect is one of the closest political allies of former governor of the state and leader of the APC, Adams Oshiomhole. While seeking the senate seat, he had said the National Assembly will be a platform for him to provide infrastructure to the people of Esanland. He is expected to actively pursue the interest of his senatorial district and that of the party while in the upper chamber.