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Profile: Meet Nigerian Senators Who Will Be Missed In The 9th National Assembly

Afamnews today recalls the names, profiles and memories of the erstwhile senators who would be missed in The 9th National Assembly. 

The 9th National Assembly was inaugurated on June 11, 2019 and Senator Ahmad Lawan of the majority All Progressives Congress (APC) emerged the President of the Senate. While many Senators of the 8th Assembly found their way back to the Red Chamber, others didn’t make it, hence they are conspicuously absent on the floor of the current Senate session. 

In this report, Afamnews acknowledges the efforts of  BODE GBADEBO and SUNDAY ISUWA in filing this write up on senators who were active in the previous Assembly and are already being missed.

Apart from their contributions on matters of importance inside and outside the Senate chamber as lawmakers, these Senators of the 8th Assembly registered their presence on the national psyche either for good or bad reasons. Although many senators lost re-election in 2019, the ten below stand out because they are currently missing in action:

Bukola Saraki

The immediate past Senate President, Bukola Saraki, was an influential figure in the 8th Assembly by virtue of his position and the followership he commanded.
Against all odds and permutations, Saraki, who represented Kwara Central, remains the first and only Senate President in the history of the country’s democracy to have left a ruling party for the opposition and held on till the completion of his tenure.
As a former governor and two-time lawmaker, many fresh Senators will miss Saraki’s wealth of political experience and charisma.

David Mark

David Mark, a retired Brigadier-General of the Nigeria Army, was the longest serving President of the Senate in the history of Nigeria from 2007 to 2015.
He declined the senatorial contest in the 2019 elections after serving for a record 20 years in the National Assembly as Senator representing Benue South senatorial zone.
Mark will be missed for his wealth of experience as a father-figure and for his calm and mature disposition.

David Umaru

Umaru represented Niger East in the Red Chamber until 2019. In fact, he was among the re-elected Senators inaugurated on June 11, 2019 but was removed almost immediately following a Supreme Court judgement in favour of his opponent within the same APC.

As a reputable lawyer, Umaru served in various committees both ad-hoc and standing ones and his contributions to the 8th Assembly were outstanding as a lawyer and lawmaker.

After the 8th Senate observed that many of its passed Bills were declined assent by President Muhammadu Buhari, Umaru was chosen to be the chairman of a Technical Committee to look into the discrepancies and advise the Red Chamber on the way to go.
While presenting his report, his colleagues commended him for a thorough job. In the report, Umaru suggested that the president was right to have declined assent to most of the Bills and advised the Senate to reintroduce some of them and veto the president on two Bills.

Shehu Sani

Before his election to the Senate in 2015 to represent Kaduna Central, Comrade Shehu Sani was well known in the human rights community.

He became more popular as a Senator with an Afro hair style and his metaphorical contributions on the floor of the 8th Senate. Not a few will easily forget the story of the hyenas and the jackals when President Buhari was on sick leave in the United Kingdom.

Senator Sani was elected to the Senate under the platform of the APC but ended up contesting the 2019 poll under the platform of the Peoples Redemption Party (PRP), after months of altercations with Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna state.

No doubt that Sani added colour to the deliberations and proceedings of the 8th Senate so much that he dared to reveal the package that each Senator received as salary and allowances every month, a development that threw the media space into frenzy at the time , for the topic was a well guarded secret.

Sani went to the Red Chamber for the first time in 2015. It was the first time he contested an election after many years of activism. He will greatly be missed for his ardent fight against human right violations and for being outspoken.

Kabiru Marafa

Senator Marafa was one of the few most outspoken members of the 8th Senate. Very eloquent and fearless, Marafa, who represented Zamfara Central senatorial district, ensured that victims of bandit attacks in Zamfara State got N10 billion support from the federal government through a legislative intervention of the 8th Senate.

His membership of the Senate was interesting and dramatic especially on one occasion after he secured the payment of compensation for victims of banditry in his constituency, he, in his usual jocular manner, on the floor of the Red Chamber, told the then Senate President, Bukola Saraki, that a lady in Zamfara had offered to marry him if he so wished as a reward for the Senate intervention on the Zamfara security challenge.

Marafa failed to return to the Senate due to intra-party squabbles in his home state. He is an engineer by training and was Commissioner for Water Resources in Zamfara State.

Olusola Adeyeye

Senator Adeyeye is a professor of biology and politician who was first elected asenator for Osun Central in 2011.

The outspoken lawmaker had during plenary, in the wake of killings and kidnappings in the country, said Nigeria’s problem was the 1999 constitution.
Adeyeye, who was a Principal Officer in the 8th Senate, publicly declined to contest the 2019 general elections because, according to him, he wanted to be out of the political scene.

Always blunt in his contributions, Adeyeye would always chide his colleagues for lateness to plenary sessions.

Ben Murray-Bruce

The Commonsense Senator, Ben Murray-Bruce, was one of the most outspoken senators of the 8th Assembly, who also took out time to run a series on his media outfit, the Silverbird Group.

A member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PPD), Bruce was elected to the Senate in 2015 and represented Bayelsa East zone, but could not return as a result of the zoning arrangement in his area, where one only serves one term.

He sponsored two Bills to phase out petrol cars in the country and another seeking to grant Nigerian citizenship to persons of African decent that are doing well abroad, which were all rejected by his colleagues.
The senator was, however, angry about the rejection of his Bills and expressed hope that the next Senate will talk about such issues as green energy, electric cars, diaspora voting laws, etc.

Binta Masi Garba

Senator MasiGarba was the only northern female Senator in the 8th Assembly.
Before breaking that jinx of coming to the Senate as the only woman from the North, Binta was in the House of Representatives and, interestingly, she was not representing her native Adamawa State constituency, but Kaduna State, her then husband’s state. She later contested for Senate in Adamawa State and won.

She will be missed for advancing gender issues and the plight of the Nigerian women in the Red Chamber. She lost her reflection bid to the now controversial ‘slapping’ senator,Elisha Abbo

Isah Hamman Misau

Misau represented Bauchi Central between 2015 and 2019.
Misau, an ex-police officer, was one of the most vocal senators of the 8th Senate, who did not mince words in speaking out on matters of national importance no matter whose ox was gored.

At a point, he accused a serving Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, of various misdemeanours bordering on corruption to the amazement of many.
Consequently, the Police accused Misau of deserting the Police Force and forgery and was subsequently charged to court.

He left the ruling APC for the opposition PDP and consequently lost his re-election bid.

Abiodun Olujimi

Senator Olujimi was a Deputy Governor of Ekiti State before her voyage to the National Assembly, first as a member of the House of Representatives.
Years later after leaving Ekiti Government House, she was elected Senator to represent Ekiti South senatorial district in 2015.

Being member of the PDP Caucus, she was initially appointed Deputy Minority Whip in 2015 and in 2018 she became the Minority Leader after the then occupant of the office, Senator Godswill Akpabio, defected from the PDP to the APC.

She was the only female among the principal officers of the 8th Senate and the first to be appointed so in the history of the Senate.
Olujimi is regarded as one of the most experienced female politicians in Nigeria.

The Peoples Democratic Party, Ekiti State chapter appointed her as the state party leader in November, 2018 in order to strengthen the state party in preparation for the 2019 elections, a development that pitched her against the immediate past governor of EkitiState, AyodeleFayose.

The intra-party squabbles that ensued cost her, her re-election bid at the 2019 polls.

Olujimi will be remembered for many things. For instance, in 2016, she sponsored a controversial Bill called ‘Gender and Equal Opportunities Bill, 2016’.
The Bill attracted public reactions across religious lines, leading to controversies, a development that forced the 8th Senate to dump the Bill.

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