• Tuesday, March 05, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

Ghali Na’Abba, former speaker dies at 65

Ghali-Umar-NaAbba

Ghali Na’Abba, who served as the 8th Speaker of the House of Representatives in Nigeria’s Fourth Republic, died Wednesday morning in Abuja at 65. According to family sources, he had been battling a long-term illness for some time.

Mr. Na’Abba rose to prominence in 1999, elected to the House of Representatives under the banner of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) representing Kano Municipal Federal Constituency. His political career took a pivotal turn when he emerged as Speaker in 2000 following a political crisis that led to the exit of the first Speaker, Salisu Buhari.

During his tenure as Speaker, Mr. Na’Abba was known for his assertive leadership and clashes with the executive branch, particularly with then-President Olusegun Obasanjo. He championed legislative independence and transparency, leading to high-profile investigations into alleged government malfeasance, including probes into the mismanagement of COVID-19 funds by ministries and agencies.

“Mr. Na’Abba was a fearless advocate for accountability and good governance,” said political analyst Hassan Abdullahi. “He left an indelible mark on Nigeria’s democratic landscape, and his voice will be sorely missed.”

Mr. Na’Abba’s legacy extends beyond his political career. He was a staunch advocate for education and human development, establishing the Ghali Na’Abba Foundation in 2004 to provide scholarships and educational opportunities to underprivileged Nigerians.

Mr. Na’Abba’s death was met with an outpouring of condolences from across the political spectrum. President Muhammadu Buhari, in a statement, commended  Na’Abba’s “contributions to our democracy and development,” while former President Obasanjo acknowledged his “strong spirit and dedication to the nation.”

Mr. Na’Abba’s family confirmed that his remains will be buried in Abuja on Wednesday afternoon, according to Islamic rites. He is survived by his wife, children, and grandchildren.

Ghali Na’Abba’s life and career were deeply intertwined with the story of Nigeria’s democracy. His assertiveness, commitment to accountability, and advocacy for education will be remembered by generations.