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Valedictory Session: Speaker Abbas Pays Tribute To Na’Abba

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…Gbajabiamila, Masari, others hail late lawmaker at valedictory session
By Gloria Ikibah
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rep. Abbas Tajudeen, on Thursday, led several former and serving members of the House to pay glowing tributes to a former Speaker of the forth House, Rt. Hon. Umar Ghali Na’Abba, CFR, at a valedictory session held in his honour.
Na’Abba, who served as the Speaker of the House from July 1999 to May 2003, died on December 27, 2023.
Leading the tributes, Speaker Abbas described him as “an extraordinary statesman and a patriot,” saying that the ex-Speaker “undoubtedly, left an indelible mark on our nation’s democratic journey and will be remembered as one of the titans of our democracy.”
The Speaker said the session was to testify to Na’abba’s courage, boldness, dedication to the principles of democracy, exemplary leadership and steadfast commitment to the time-honoured principles of separation of powers.
Of all his qualities, Speaker Abbas said, what stood out the most were Na’Abba’s simplicity, austerity, contentment and rare honesty.
“He was a modest and deeply religious man who gave the last full measure of devotion to his work and Nigeria. He lived a simple life but always with the end in mind. His life is, therefore, a worthy lesson for political office holders of today and generations of politicians to come,” he said.
Speaker Abbas said though it was a moment of grief and national mourning, it was equally a time for sober reflection and celebration of his unblemished public service record and enduring legacy.
“At a more personal level, I am humbled by the enormity of his contributions and inspired by the purity of his vision. As we reflect on his life, we are reminded of the enduring strength of our democracy and the pivotal role of the legislature in that regard,” he added.
The Speaker recalled that at the dawn of the Fourth Republic in 1999, Nigeria stood on the threshold of history. He said after long years of military rule, Nigerians longed for stability, democracy, and governance that resonated with their hopes and aspirations. He noted that it was in this context that Na’Abba assumed the position of the Speaker, guiding the House with wisdom, dedication, and unwavering commitment.
“His tenure laid the foundations of a robust, independent legislature, vital for the checks and balances that underpin a vibrant democratic system. His leadership was characterised by a profound understanding that the strength of a democracy is measured not just by the freedom enjoyed by its citizens but also by the strength of its institutions,” Speaker Abbas stressed.
The Speaker further said under Na’Abba’s stewardship, the House emerged as a forum for vigorous debate and a powerful instrument for change and development. He added that the late lawmaker championed laws and reforms that continue to impact the nation, fostering economic growth, social justice, and the welfare of all Nigerians. He stressed that Na’Abba laid a solid foundation for the growth and development of the House and pursued institutional building with unparalleled vigour and passion.
Speaker Abbas added: “Moreover, his tenure was marked by efforts to ensure the independence of the legislature, recognising that a truly democratic society thrives when its legislative arm operates without undue influence, freely articulating the will and aspirations of the people. He worked diligently with his colleagues to ensure the National Assembly budget was put on first-line charge.
“He also formalised the legislative aides’ system we operate today, which continues to boost the capacity of legislators for enhanced performance. The vision of Hon. Na’Abba has been supported by successive administrations, with the Executive arm working in concert with the National Assembly to ensure good governance, transparency, and accountability.”
The Speaker announced that the House had resolved that the National Assembly Service Commission building under construction be named after Na’Abba and that the resolution had been transmitted to the Senate for concurrence.
The Deputy Speaker, Rt. Hon. Benjamin Okezie Kalu said Na’Abba must have been a good man indeed if his deputy could publicly declare so several years after they had worked together. “Your Excellency, you are alive and I am your deputy, and I want to say you are a good man. Your Excellency, I will not wait till we meet in heaven. We have a long way to go. You are a good man,” he said.
Several former leaders and ex-members of the House who spoke at the session, especially those who served with Na’Abba between 1999 and 2003, recalled several memories of the foremost parliamentarian.
Those at the ceremony included the immediate past Speaker of the House and current Chief of Staff to the President, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila; former Speaker and ex-Governor of Katsina State, Rt. Hon. Aminu Bello Masari; and ex-Deputy Speaker (Na’Abba deputy), Rt. Hon Chibudum Nwuche.
Others were former Chief Whip (under Na’Abba), Abubakar Bawa Bwari, who spoke for former principal officers of the House and disclosed that 76 members 1999-2003 set had died; Senator Binta Masi Garba who spoke for the 12 female members of the 4th National Assembly; former Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, who spoke for former members of the House; and former members of the House and ex-Senior Special Assistants to the President on National Assembly Matters, Senators Kawu Sumaila and Ita Enang, among others.
In his tribute, Gbajabiamila recalled that he was elected to the House in 2003 and was there for 20 years – till 2023. “Therefore, it is with a feeling of melancholy that I appear for the first time, officially, in this House (after becoming Chief of Staff to the President) with mixed emotions. But I take solace – and I think we should all do – that we are here not only to remember one of us but to celebrate a giant,” he said.
The former Speaker described Na’Abba as “a great man, a talented politician, a worthy public servant and a true Nigerian patriot whose death has brought tears and sorrow,” saying, “But as I said, we do not mourn the life he lived for we know and the evidence abounds that he lived a very good life of service. Our grief Mr. Speaker Honourable Members stems from knowing that with his passing, our nation has lost the talent of a principled and courage of a consummate politician.”
Similarly, Masari recalled how tough it was for Na’Abba to lead the House filled with inexperienced members successfully under President Olusegun Obasanjo who was a retired General of the Nigerian Army and former military Head of State. “But thank God Ghali Umar Na’Abba came from a radical political background in Kano. It helped him a lot; it gave him the courage to face the challenges of that time. There is no how the history of the legislature, particularly that of the House of Representatives, can be written without a special place for Ghali Umar Na’Abba,” he said.
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Unite for Change: Nigerians Urged to Protest Peacefully to Avoid Economic and Social Fallout

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In light of the upcoming protests planned across Nigeria, we urge all citizens to engage in peaceful demonstrations. It is crucial to express our grievances and demand change without resorting to violence, which only exacerbates the issues we face as a nation.

Recent examples from around the world highlight the destructive outcomes of violent protests. In *France, the yellow vest protests, which began as peaceful demonstrations against fuel tax increases, escalated into violent clashes with police, resulting in significant property damage and injuries.

Similarly, in **Chile*, protests over economic inequality and living costs turned violent, leading to widespread destruction and a heavy-handed government response. These instances serve as a reminder that violence undermines the legitimacy of protests and often leads to severe repercussions for all involved.

In a recent interview with Victor Walsh Oluwatemi, the Chief Executive of the Africa Development Studies Centre (ADSC), he emphasized the importance of non-violent protests.

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“We must learn from the recent events in *Kenya*, where protests against rising living costs and economic hardships turned violent, resulting in severe economic disruptions and further strain on the country’s fragile economy,” Oluwatemi stated. “The violence not only led to loss of lives and property but also scared away investors, causing long-term damage to the nation’s economic prospects.”

We acknowledge the frustrations and hardships that many young Nigerians face. With high unemployment rates and limited opportunities, it is understandable why the youth might feel they have nothing to lose. However, resorting to violence is not the solution. Violence only leads to more suffering and delays the progress we seek.

“We understand the deep frustrations felt by our youth,” said Oluwatemi. “But history has shown us that non-violent movements can bring about significant and lasting change. The Civil Rights Movement in the United States and the Indian Independence Movement led by Mahatma Gandhi are prime examples of how peaceful protests can lead to meaningful and transformative outcomes.”

To ensure our message is heard and to bring about the change we desperately need, we must remain united in our commitment to non-violence. We urge community leaders, activists, and all citizens to advocate for peaceful protests and to discourage any form of violence. Let us stand together and show the world that we can demand justice and change without compromising our principles or endangering our communities.

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EXPOSED! How they tried to bribe Justice Nwosu-Iheme but she refused-Hon EJ

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A Federal Commissioner of the Code of Conduct Bureau, Honourable Ehiozuwa Agbonayinma has recounted how Justice Chioma Nwosu-Iheme of the Supreme Court was kidnapped when she was ruling on a case that deals with electoral fraud which involved him as a candidate in an election.

He accused INEC of rigging the election, pointing out that the perpetrator was apprehended by the DSS.

He noted that they had brought the culprit before both a tribunal and a court. However, he stated that despite the evidence provided by the DSS, the tribunal’s chairman dismissed the report as inconsequential.

He further recounted how the appeal process unfolded, particularly highlighting the integrity of Justice Iheme Nwosu. He alleged that despite attempts to bribe her, Justice Nwosu remained steadfast and was subsequently kidnapped, an ordeal during which her police orderly and driver were tragically killed.

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He said in an interview with Channels TV, ”I contested for Election and my mandate was stolen. INEC rigged the election and the man who did it was caught by the DSS. The DSS did a fantastic investigation and they took the man to court, they took him to the tribunal.

The Chairman of the Tribunal said the DSS report is inconsequential. At the end of the day, we went to appeal Court and the Appeal Court Judge, Justice Iheme Nwosu who is a wonderful woman.

They tried to bribe Justice Nwosu but she refused and she was kidnapped, they killed her police orderly and her driver. She was in captive for over 30 days and today that woman is now the Justice of the Supreme Court. That is the kind of woman that should be celebrated in this country.”

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Speaker Abbas endorses MoU with UN CEDAW on women empowerment

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…says Reps open to partnership with CSOs, others on gender equality

By Gloria Ikibah

The Speaker of the House of Representatives Hon. Abbas Tajudeen, on Tuesday, signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Office of the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women Nigeria Member (OCEDAWNM) on legislative interventions on issues affecting women.

At the epoch ceremony, Speaker Abbas restated the commitment of the 10th House, under his leadership, to empowering women and ensuring gender equality in politics, governance and other spheres of life.

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Speaker Abbas pointed out that the MoU “uniquely attests to recognition of the need to marshal out diverse resources to achieve our 2024 International Women Development (IWD) themed: ‘Inspired Inclusion.’”

He said: “It is barely one week after my endorsement of a similar Parliamentary Development Programme for the 10th House sponsored by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) for capacity building of members and staff of the House of Representatives.

“We are here again this afternoon to enter another working agreement with the United Nations group on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women to promote the vision of our Legislative Agenda on inclusion and affirmative action for good governance.

“There is no better way to underscore the dedication of the House towards rebuilding the confidence of our people through pragmatic citizen’s engagement and capacity strengthening.”

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The Speaker said given the huge gender gaps in many sectors, there was the need for proactive measures to consolidate the 10th House Legislative Agenda’s vision of promoting inclusion and affirmative action for good governance, and promoting innovative and technology-based approaches to stimulate economic growth and ensure that no one is left behind in line with the SDG2030 & AU3063 Agendas.

He also said the measures should include harnessing existing opportunities for replicating good practice models in women’s peace and security, climate change management and renewable energy, and fin-tech, e-commerce and market access that could expand livelihoods and catalyse economic revival at the grassroots level.

He stressed the need to rebuild confidence in the people through pragmatic citizen engagement and capacity strengthening for key stakeholders as duty-bearers and rights holders.

Speaker Abbas added: “I urge our development partners, private Sector Companies and civil society associates to identify pillars in the partnership log frame where they can collaborate maximally to help realise concrete and transformative results

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“I look forward to receiving the out ones of your first contact meeting with details of priority interventions, strategic actions with timelines that will help utilize our eight-fold legislative mandate to advance our global and regional obligations in a way that responds to our local realities and contexts.

“The House will provide necessary legislative actions and support for the success of this partnership.”

The Speaker noted that the House recently had an ‘Open Week’ to engage citizens during which the members presented their one-year scorecard in office.

“Nigerians responded with great enthusiasm. The bottom-top approach intrinsic in the Open NASS Week and the unmatched performance of the House as meticulously articulated in the scorecard were greatly acknowledged by Nigerians who attended the Open Week and have largely enhanced our legislative image and heightened people’s confidence in the 10th House as a bastion of the common man,” he said.

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Speaker Abbas added that the House would “continue to engage our constituents because they are the reason we are here.”

The Vice-Chairperson, UN CEDAW, Madam Esther Eghobamien-Mshelia, who led the OCEDAWNM and with whom the Speaker signed the MoU, commended Speaker Abbas and members of the House for their efforts towards gender equality and women empowerment so far, while urging them to implement the agreement towards achieving more results.

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