By Ozibo Ozibo
When the 9th House of Representatives is inaugurated in June 2019, a number of members of the House of Representatives who will not be returning will be sorely missed by their colleagues, journalists and Nigerians, who have followed their peculiar ‘styles’ in the green chamber over the years.
Whereas some of the lawmakers will be missed for their ‘unusual styles’ in the core legislative business of law-making and committee assignments, others will be missed for their peculiar conduct, manner of dressing, speaking, access to newsmen among others, which added flavour to the 8th House.
Chika Adamu (APC, Niger)
Adamu, an APC first-term lawmaker representing Shiroro/Rafi/Muny Federal Constituency of Niger State in the House, is known for his peculiar dressing in short-sleeve, up-and-down, brown kaftan that makes it easy to spot him both at plenary and in committee assignments. A darling of journalists, Adamu easily passes as a principled politician known for speaking his mind on any issue in the House, irrespective of party lines.
In fact, Adamu it was who moved a motion that members of the House should boycott President Muhammadu Buhari’s budget presentation in December 2018 until the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Udo Udoma, tendered an unreserved, public apology over a “disparaging comment.”
He had also warned that the House would soon become “an assemblage of governors’ stooges,” if nothing was done against imposition of candidates. In a country where politicians are known for sit-tight mentality and recycling from one position to another, the acclaimed technocrat and Chairman, House Committee on Legislative Compliance, first shocked journalists when he declared: “I will not seek re-election, neither will I accept if nominated to return to the House in 2019.” Adamu’s uncommon courage will no doubt be missed in the 9th House.
Bashir Babale (APC, Kano)
Bashir Baballe, representing Minjibir/Ungogo of Kano State, is reputed for simplicity in dressing and for voluntarily refusing to seek re-election after a two-term of eight years from 2011 to 2015. Babale will be missed in the 9th House for his erudition and extended versatility in various legislative activities. He is the nightmare of visiting corporate executives who at times try to exploit perceived ignorance or naivety of the lawmakers in such fields.
Young, robust and well-built, the 41-year-old is ready to use his fist against erring opponents if need be, as was the case during the 2019 budget presentation by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Pally Iriase (APC, Edo)
Widely perceived as a ‘gentleman,’ Pally Iriase, representing Owan East/West Federal Constituency of Edo State, could be easily mistaken for a lawyer or banker in the National Assembly complex, with his usual black suit and a matching hairstyle.
The gentility and corporate ambiance of the 63-year-old Deputy Majority Whip who voluntarily declined to seek re-election amid the intrigues that characterised the APC primaries in his native Edo State, will be missed in the 9th House.
Yusuf Lasun (APC, Osun)
The Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, who represents Irepodun/Olurunda/Osogbo/Orolu of Osun State, will be missed in the 9th House not only for his inaccessibility to newsmen but also for his name. It is always a spectacle to behold the lawmakers, irrespective of party lines, shouting Lasun! Lasun! Lasun! whenever the Deputy Speaker steps into the House or makes contributions to debates.
One more thing: whenever Lasun is presiding over the House plenary, both lawmakers and journalists already know that it will be a ‘snappy business’ as Lasun has no time to waste. All that will be missed about the 58-year-old in the next House.
Razak Atunwa (PDP, Kwara)
Listening to Razak Atunwa’s cockney English accent, either during the House plenary or in the Justice Committee that he chairs, might tempt one to believe that one is in the British House of Common.
In fact, a colleague once pleaded with Speaker Yakubu Dogara to “please tell Razak to speak English that we can hear.” Aside accent, Razak also has the tendency to be verbose, especially when the debate veers into legal technicalities, in which he is no doubt an acknowledged authority. The next House will miss all the above about the 49-year-old lawmaker who currently represents Asa/Ilorin West Federal Constituency, as he aspires to be the governor of Kwara State this year.
Davematics Ombugadu (PDP, Nassarawa)
The 41-year-old PDP lawmaker representing Akwanga/Nasarawa Eggon/Wamba Federal Constituency of Nassarawa State could easily fit into the ‘timber-and-caliber’ mould of Adegoke Adelabu of the First Republic, especially in his manner of speaking.
The Chairman, House Committee on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria Control, can literally bring down a house with his characteristic ‘campaign voice,’ which he deploys to pass his messages across, even to the deaf.
Although seldom available at plenary, Ombugadu who is currently the PDP governorship candidate in Nassarawa will be missed in the 9th House.
Edward Pwajork (APC, Plateau)
The Chairman, House Committee on Rules and Business and the only Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) member of the House, will be missed for his erudition, legal expertise and intelligent contributions to legislative proceedings.
Whenever the House gets stuck in some legal cum constitutional matters, Pwajork is always to the rescue. The 53-year-old, who represents Jos South/East Federal Constituency, also doubles as an ‘unofficial’ legal adviser to individual lawmakers. Pwajok will surely be missed in the next House.
Diri Douye (PDP, Bayelsa)
In the 9th Assembly, Diri Douye would be missed, especially for his onomatopoeic name that takes about 30 seconds to pronounce.
Although the 59-year-old representing Yenagoa/Kolokuna/Opokuma of Bayelsa State is aspiring to the Senate, his name would not be forgotten in a hurry, especially among journalists and those who have encountered him in committee assignments.
Nnenna Ukeje (PDP, Abia)
The female lawmaker from Abia State will be bowing out after three terms in the House of Representatives (2007-2019). “Nnenna,” as she is popularly known, will be sorely missed in the next House for her versatile knowledge that sees her contributing to virtually all matters in the House. A legislative debate is never deemed complete until the Chairman, House Committee on Foreign Affairs has made her input which she often does with impeccable grammatical eloquence. Her inaccessibility to journalists notwithstanding, the champion of legislation against arms proliferation will be missed.
Joan Mrakpor (PDP, Delta)
Unlike Nnenna, Mrakpor will be missed not strictly for her contributions to legislative activities but for the proselytization of her Christian faith, which will be missed among her colleagues and associates. The 52-year-old lawmaker from Delta State shocked many of her admirers in the recently concluded PDP primary in which she lost to Ndudi
Elumelu when she matched to the podium and snatched the microphone from the man announcing the result.
Linus Okorie (PDP, Ebonyi)
The lawmaker from Ebonyi State will be missed in the next House, especially by the PDP caucus in which he is one of the most consistent bulwarks. Okorie was one of those that greeted President Muhammadu Buhari with placards during the presentation of the 2019 budget, which led to a fisticuff with Bashir Babale (APC, Kano).
Tony Nwulu (UPP, Lagos)
This 40-year-old lawmaker representing Oshodi/Isollo II of Lagos State and sponsor of the Not Too Young To Run Bill is seen as the face of the youth in the House.
He is currently the UPP governorship candidate in Imo State and will not be returning to the 9th House.