Thursday, June 8, 2023

[Op_Ed]10th House of Representatives Speaker: The cap fits Sada Soli

By Khalid Isa

As the new government comes in, and the inauguration of the 10th National Assembly is expected, the race for the leadership positions for both chambers has commenced.

Already the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has issued certificates of return to both the senators-elect and House of Representatives members-elect.

It is noteworthy that the current 9th National Assembly was inaugurated in June 2019 and will come to an end in June 2023; the same month the 10th assembly will be inaugurated.

Results declared by INEC indicate that the ruling APC retained the majority of both the Senate and House of Representatives seats, implying that the ruling party will form the leadership of both chambers in the National Assembly.

Following the election, those eyeing the positions of the Senate President, deputy Senate president, House of Representatives speaker, deputy speaker, and other principal officers have begun their moves.

Among the potential front-runners for the Senate presidency are; Barau Jibrin (Kano), Orji Uzor Kalu (Abia), Godswill Akpabio (Akwa Ibom) Sani Musa (Niger), and Dave Umahi (Ebonyi).

In the House of Representatives also, potential candidates for speaker and deputy speaker had started constituting strategic teams to realise their ambitions.

Those most likely to declare interest after zoning the positions are Ahmed Idris Wase (Plateau, Deputy Speaker), Muktar Aliyu Betara (Borno, House Committee Chairman on Appropriations), Alhassan Ado Doguwa (Kano, House Majority Leader) and Hon. Sada Soli (Katsina, House committee chairman on Agriculture).

Among those contending for the Speakership position, Hon Sada Soli, representing Jibia/Kaita Federal Constituency stands out.

Although he is yet to formally make his intention known, observers have started pointing in his direction given his wealth of experience over the years and commitment to legislative ideals.

There reasons are not far fetched.
Apart from his wealth of experience in the legislature, Hon. Jibia is endowed with leadership qualities that stand him out for the position.

Rep Soli, who is the current Chairman of the House Committee on Agriculture has been a vocal voice on many issues of national interest.

He is a ranking member of the House with several motions and bills to his credit.

In July 2019 he moved a motion urging the House to set up an ad-hoc committee to carry out a comprehensive investigative hearing on how much money was spent on the power programme over the years.

His point of concern was the need to review government expenditure on power to ensure sustenance of the power reforms.

Another notable motion he had moved on the floor of the Green Chamber was on the need to enhance a broad based agricultural policy in the country with emphasis on youth participation.

He tasked the Federal Government to talk to the banks to give money to ease regulations and give money to young people who are willing to engage in agriculture.

Similarly, Hon Soli had argued against closure of borders, insisting that it had proven counterproductive. Rather than mitigate the situation, Hon Soli argued that the border closure had encouraged extortion, corruption, criminal and extrajudicial killings of people at the borders.

Also, his vast experience in continental legislation coupled with his membership of various standing committees makes him eminently qualified to lead the Green Chamber in the 10th National Assembly.
First elected in 2006, Hon. Soli has endeared himself in the minds of his constituents by winning his return bid into the National Assembly as the member representing Jibia/Kaita Federal Constituency of Katsina State.

Apart from serving as Deputy Chairman, House Committee on Cooperation and Integration in Africa, Hon Soli served on several committees, including: Privatization and Commercialization, Capital Market, Media and Public Affairs, Legislative Budget, Urban Development, Foreign Affairs, Inter-Parliamentary, Petroleum–Upstream, Aids, Loans and Debt Management.

From 2019 when he got re-elected into the 9th Assembly, Hon. Soli has served on the following committees: Agriculture, Production & Services, Federal Capital Territory, Banking and Currency, Foreign Affairs, Defence, Interior, Power, Works, Climate Change, Capital lMarket and Lake Chad.

Always rising to the occasion where national interest is involved, he was also appointed Chairman Ad hoc Committee on National Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) to investigate the Non-Remittance of Contributions in the National Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) as well as Chairman Ad-hoc Committee on Process and Industrial Development (P&ID) Limited, to Investigate the Alleged Negligence by the Federal Ministries of Justice, and Petroleum Resources in the Handling of the Transaction between the Federal Government and the Process and Industrial Development (P&ID) Limited.

Because of his interventions in some important national assignments, he earned the sobriquet, as the task master from friends and admirers, as well as being a go-to-person in the House of Representatives engagements based on his institutional memory of that arm of government.

Other Ad-hoc Committees he served on are: Special Committee on Constitution Review, Unspent Fund, Electoral Act, Petroleum Bill, Power, Parliamentary Friendship Group (Nigeria and Cameroon), Assessment and Status of all Recovered Loots, Movable and Immovable Assets from 2002-2020 by Agencies of the Federal Government of Nigeria for Effective/Efficient Management and Utilization, Ad-hoc Committee to Investigate Joint Venture (JV) Businesses and Production Sharing Contracts (PSC) of NNPC from 1990.

Sada Soli has the pedigree, knowledge and experience to lead the House. If his party, the APC and other honorable members of the House consider him for the top job and give him the opportunity to emerge as the Speaker of the 10th National Assembly, Hon. Sada Soli will surely be a square peg in a square hole.

With a knack for cultivating goodwill and respect from his colleagues across party lines because of his simplicity and boundless generosity, it is evident that Hon. Soli can gracefully lead the House effectively with the kind of team spirit expected of legislative business.

Isa, a public affairs analyst, writes from Dutse, Jigawa State.

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