• Saturday, April 13, 2024
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Gbajabiamila, Hadejia, Akume and the challenge of new portfolios


President Bola Tinubu Friday appointed the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, as his Chief of Staff.

The President also named George Akume, Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF).

Akume, a former governor of Benue State, is the immediate past minister of special duties in the administration of ex-President Muhammadu Buhari

In a statement signed by Abiodun Oladunjoye, director of information in the State House also named Ibrahim Hassan Hadejia as the deputy chief of staff in the office of the Vice President.

The new appointees came with years of experiences in public offices. They will be facing the task of helping the new administration to steer the ship of the country to a safe habour.

Although they are not new to governance, it is believed that they are likely going to be more motivated now to than before to give their all to the fatherland.

BusinessDay here profiles the three notable politicians:

Femi Gbajabiamila

Olufemi Hakeem Gbajabiamila is the Speaker of Nigeria’s House of Representatives. He is a lawyer and politician with over two decades of active participation in the political life of Nigeria.

Gbajabiamila was born on the 25th of June 1962. He had his secondary education at Igbobi College, Yaba, Lagos and proceeded from there to the King Williams College, Isle of Man, the United Kingdom for his Advanced Level.

He graduated at the top of his class and went on to the University of Lagos for a three-year LLB (Bachelor of Laws) degree programme.

He graduated from the University of Lagos with honours in 1983 and was called to the Nigerian Bar in 1984.

Femi Gbajabiamila started his career as a lawyer with the law firm of Bentley, Edu and Co., where he distinguished himself. He eventually left Bentley, Edu and Co. to set up his practice, Femi Gbaja and Co.

In 1998, he went back to school at the John Marshall Law School in Atlanta, Georgia in the United States of America. He graduated Magna Cum Laude from John Marshall and earned for himself a Juris Doctor (JD) degree.

He then went on to write and pass the Georgia Bar exams, after which he set up another thriving law office where he practised until his return to Nigeria.

On his return to Nigeria, Gbajabiamila delved into partisan politics and offered himself up for service on the platform of the then Alliance for Democracy (AD) and has thereafter been elected for six (6) consecutive terms to represent the people of Surulere 1 Federal Constituency of Lagos in the National Assembly.

In 2003, Gbajabiamila was elected a member of the House of Representatives from Surulere 1 Federal Constituency. His first term in the House demonstrated his true passion for issues concerning his constituents and Nigeria as a whole.

He worked passionately to address matters of great concern to him and quickly earned a reputation as a brilliantly competent legislator.

His exceptional record saw him overwhelmingly re-elected in 2007. In the same year, his colleagues elected him leader of his party, the Action Congress (AC) in the House of Representatives, and Minority Whip. By the end of his second term in office, Gbajabiamila had sponsored the highest number of Bills in the National Assembly.

In 2011, Gbajabiamila sought re-election for the third time, this time on the platform of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN). He won his election and was re-elected Leader of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and Leader of the opposition in the House of Representatives.

During this period, Femi Gbajabiamila was hailed as an effective opposition leader. He is remembered amongst other things, for bringing a motion on the floor of the House to invoke the doctrine of necessity, during the illness and absence of President Umar Musa Yar’adua. It was this motion moved in the House and the Senate that led to the swearing-in of Goodluck Ebele Jonathan as Acting President.

Read also: Tinubu appoints Gbajabiamila Chief of Staff, Akume, SGF

In 2014, Femi Gbajabiamila as the leader of opposition in the House of Representatives led his colleagues into the merger that gave birth to the All Progressives Congress (APC).

In 2015, Rep. Gbajabiamila put himself forward to lead the House as Speaker of the 8th House. He narrowly lost that election. He put himself forward again in 2019 and was on the 12th of June, 2019 overwhelmingly elected Speaker of the 9th House of Representatives.

In the build-up to his election as the Speaker of the House, Gbajabiamila mounted an aggressive campaign where he galvanised his colleagues under the slogan ‘Nation Building: A Joint Task’.

Shortly after his inauguration, the Speaker constituted an Ad-hoc Committee to draft a Legislative Agenda for the 9th House. The Legislative Agenda was adopted by the House and unveiled to the world on the 11th of October, 2019.

The Legislative Agenda is an all-encompassing document that outlines clearly the ambitions of the 9th House of Representatives. One of those ambitions was to return the country to a regular January to December budget cycle.

This was achieved with the 2020 Appropriation Act which was passed and signed into law by the President, His Excellency Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR on the 17th of December, 2019. This unprecedented feat was immediately followed by the quick passage of the Finance Bill 2020 and the Deep Offshore Sharing Formula Bill, both of which the

Gbajabiamila has personally sponsored some bills, aimed at improving the lives of Nigerians. Some of the Bills are Students’ Loan (Access to Higher Education), Bill, 2019; Physically-Challenged (Empowerment) Bill, 2019; Criminalisation of Estimated Billing System Bill, 2019; Emergency Economic Stimulus Bill, 2020, and the Control of Infectious Diseases Bill, 2020, amongst others.

He has also sought to improve his abilities to serve and to lead by attending various leadership courses including at the Stanford University, Cambridge University, and the world respected Said Business School, Oxford University.

Since his emergence as Speaker, Gbajabiamila has left no one in doubt that he is not only capable of leading Nigeria’s most truly representative chamber but has shown exceptional capacity as the Chairman of the Conference of African Speakers of Parliament (COSAP). Gbajabiamila is married with children.

George Akume

Born 27th Dec. 1953, George Akume, former Executive Governor of Benue state, is a successful career Civil Servant, an Administrator, accomplished politician, and a member of the Great Tender Hall of Fame, University of Ibadan.

After the return to democracy in 1999 Akume contested the governorship elections, winning on the platform of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).

He successfully ran for re-election in 2003 for a second term in office still on the PDP platform.

After his second tenure as the Governor of Benue State, Akume contested for the senatorial seat of Benue North West Senatorial District in the 2007 National Assembly elections and won.

At his second time of asking in the 2011 general elections, he was successfully re-elected, this time, on the platform of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) party.

In 2015, following the merger of the ACN and some other parties in Nigeria to form the ALL Progressives Congress (APC), Akume contested again for the senatorial position of Benue North West with the ticket of the APC and was again successful.

He hails from Wannune Tarka Council Area of Benue State, a local government named after the famous minority right crusader, Late Senator Joseph Sarwuan Tarka.

He had his Primary Education at the then Native Authority (N.A) Primary School at his birth place (1960 – 66) and the former Government Secondary School, Otobi now Model Science School, Otukpo, Benue State, (1967 – 71) for his Secondary Education.

George was at St. Louis College for his Advanced Level (1972), and thereafter proceeded to the Premier University, the University of Ibadan for his Bachelor of Science Degree in Sociology (1978).

He also obtained a Masters Degree in Industrial and Labour Relations (MILR) from the same Department and University (1986). He was at Administrative Staff College of Nigeria (ASCON) where he obtained a Certificate in Management (1988).

Senator Akume is a widely travelled man. He has visited the United States, Great Britain, Germany, France, Italy, and Cuba. He has been to Ghana, South Africa, Jamaica, Israel, India, Brazil, Colombia, Thailand, Japan, Taiwan, Sweden, Denmark, Holland, Mexico, Switzerland and Jamaica among other countries.

Senator George Akume is happily married and blessed with children.

Ibrahim Hassan Hadejia

Ibrahim Hassan Hadejia is a politician, one-term deputy governor of Jigawa State and elected Senator for Jigawa North East Senatorial District in the February 2019 Nigerian general elections on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Hadejia attended Sacred Heart Primary School Kaduna and Barewa College Zaria, after which he enrolled in the School of Basic Studies at Ahmadu Bello University for a year, passing the IJMB, which gave him the opportunity for direct admission in a degree course in law at the same institution in 1983.

He graduated with a law degree in 1986 and went to the Law School Lagos for his B.L. qualification and subsequent call to the Nigerian Bar.

He also enrolled in a diploma course at Oxford University, where he obtained a diploma in computing.

Hadejia did his mandatory Youth Service in Lagos and worked for a year with Credit and Finance International, a finance house as in-house counsel and company secretary.

Two years later, he joined Liberty Merchant Bank Lagos, where he worked in credit administration, banking operations and international treasury for eight years.

He was appointed Commissioner for Justice and Attornery General in Jigawa State in 1999 and promoted to secretary to the state government two years later.

He was appointed the Deputy Governor before the elections in 2003 and ran again as a deputy governor on the defunct All Nigeria People’s Party (ANPP) tickets a few months later and continued in that position till 2007.

From 2007 to 2014, he was engaged in private business in the insurance, construction and security consultancy sector and was also a partner in the law firm of Hassan, Iman & co.

In 2014, he was involved in the formation of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as a state leader of the ANPP, one of the three political parties that formed an alliance and was elected Deputy Governor of Jigawa State on joint serving in that role from 2015 to 2018.

He ran for and won a senate seat in 2019 and is currently the senator representing the Jigawa North East senatorial zone.