Godswill Akpabio, senate president on Tuesday officially introduced the principal officers for the 10th National Assembly.
In its usual manner, BusinessDay takes a look at the profiles of the new principal officers. From the top to the bottom principal in the 10th Senate, are:
Opeyemi Bamidele – Senate Leader
Michael Opeyemi Bamidele, commonly known as MOB, is a prominent Nigerian lawyer, human rights activist, and politician.
He was born on July 29, 1963, in Ekiti State, Nigeria. Bamidele, newly appointed as the new senate leader, has served as a lawmaker in the 7th, 8th, and 9th National Assembly, representing the Ekiti Central Senatorial District at the Nigerian Senate.
He has been actively involved in politics since 1992 and has been dedicated to advocating for the rights of the Nigerian people.
Bamidele’s educational journey includes obtaining a bachelor’s degree in religious studies from Obafemi Awolowo University and a bachelor’s degree in law from the University of Benin.
He further pursued his legal studies at Franklin Pierce University, where he earned a master’s degree in law and was admitted to the New York Bar.
In his early political career, he contested in primary elections for the Federal House of Representatives and later served as a special assistant on legal matters to Senator Bola Tinubu.
Bamidele has held several significant positions, including serving as a commissioner for the Lagos State Ministry of Youth, Sports, and Social Development.
Dave Umahi – Deputy Senate Leader
David Nweze Umahi, a Nigerian politician born on July 25, 1963, currently represents Ebonyi South Senatorial District as a senator since 2023.
He previously served as the governor of Ebonyi State from 2015 to 2023 and as the deputy governor from 2011 to 2015.
Before his political career, Umahi graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Civil Engineering from the Enugu State University of Science and Technology in 1987.
He has been involved in various business ventures and construction companies, including co-founding Norman Engineering and Construction Nig. Limited in 1990.
In 2020, David Umahi joined the All Progressives Congress (APC) after leaving the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
His defection received congratulations from President Muhammadu Buhari, who praised it as a principled decision. However, it also sparked controversy, leading to legal challenges regarding his status as governor.
Ali Ndume – the Chief Whip
Mohammed Ali Ndume is a Nigerian politician who has had an extensive career in both the legislative and educational fields. Born on November 20, 1959, in Gwoza Town, Borno State, Ndume pursued his education and obtained diplomas in marketing.
He then had the opportunity to study Business and Computer Education in the United States on a scholarship, earning a B.Ed and M.Ed in 1990. Initially a teacher, Ndume transitioned into politics in 2003 and has since played significant roles in various political parties.
Ndume’s political journey began when he was elected as a member of the House of Representatives in 2003 under the All Nigeria People Party (ANPP). However, due to perceived injustices within the ANPP, he joined the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in 2010. In 2011, Ndume won the Senate election representing Borno South under the PDP ticket.
Lola Ashiru – the Deputy Chief Whip
Oyelola Yisa Ashiru is a Nigerian architect and politician. He was born on June 14, 1955, in Offa, Kwara State, Nigeria. Ashiru is the Chief Executive Officer of Capital Projects Limited, a real estate firm with branches in Lagos, Abuja, and other West African countries. He completed his education at Esie Iludun Anglican Grammar School and Federal Government College, Sokoto. He studied environmental design and architecture at the University of Lagos, graduating in 1980.
In his political career, Ashiru ran for office multiple times before declaring his intention to run for the position of Senator in the 2019 Nigerian general election. He contested for the Kwara South senatorial district seat on the platform of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
However, in August 2018, he and other PDP members in Kwara State, including Ashiru, defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC) to campaign against the previous administration led by Bukola Saraki, whom they accused of mismanaging the state for 16 years. Ashiru emerged victorious in the APC primary election and went on to win the senatorial election with 89,704 votes, defeating the incumbent senator from the PDP.
Simon Davou – PDP, Minority Leader
Simon Mwadkwon is a Nigerian politician who holds a position in the House of Representatives. He is currently serving as the Federal Representative for the Barkin Ladi/Riyom constituency in the 9th National Assembly.
Oyewunmi Olarere – PDP, Deputy Minority Leader
Lere Oyewumi, born on January 5, 1960, is a well-known Nigerian politician, educator, philanthropist, and community development specialist.
Oyewumi’s academic background is strong, with a bachelor’s degree in Geography from the University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University) in 1987, followed by a master’s degree in community development in 2006 and a doctoral degree from the University of Ibadan in 2016.
His political journey began in 1992 when he became a member of the House of Representatives, representing the Irewole/Ayedaade/Isokan Federal Constituency. Oyewumi actively participated in defending democracy and played a crucial role in the fight for democratic governance during the military era.
Within the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Osun State, he held leadership positions as the publicity secretary and later became the chairman of the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON) in the state.
Darlington Nwokeocha – LP, Minority Whip
Darlington Nwokocha is a Nigerian politician who currently holds the position of senator, representing Abia Central federal constituency. He was elected to the Senate after the 2023 Nigerian Senate elections in Abia State.
Before his role as a senator, Nwokocha served as a member of the House of Representatives, representing Isiala-Ngwa North/Isiala-Ngwa South from 2015 to 2019. He also held a position in the Abia State House of Assembly from 2007 to 2015.
Rufai Hanga – NNPP, Deputy Minority Whip
Rufai Hanga is a politician and accountant who hails from Kano state. He is currently the senator-elect for the Kano central senatorial district, representing the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP). Although Rufai Hanga initially aspired to become a teacher, he pursued a career in accounting and previously worked at the College of Education in Kano.