In this write up we will explore the former and current Speakers of the Nigerian House of Representatives, the lower chamber of the Nigerian National Assembly. The Nigerian Parliament otherwise called the National Assembly is made up of upper and lower chambers.
The leader of the House of Representatives is called “the Speaker,” while a member of the House of Representative is called “Honourable” There are 360 House of Representative Members. The House of Representatives members are addressed with the title, “Hon” which stands for “Honourable.”
The other arm of the National Assembly is the House of Senate. The House of Senate is the Upper Chamber. It is made up of three senators from each of the 36 states and one from the Federal Capital Territory, FCT which makes up the federation. The total number of Senators in Nigeria is 109.
Order Of Office in Nigeria (Highest Office To Lowest Office)
The Speaker of the House of the representative is the fourth- highest office in Nigeria. The first highest office in Nigeria is the office of the president. The second-highest office is the office of the vice president
Origin of the House of Representative
The office of the House of Representatives was formally formed in 1954. Before its formation, the Legislative Council existed in its place. The First Speaker of the House of Representatives was Sir Frederic Metcalfe.
At the inaugural edition of the Nigerian House Of Representatives, the constitution provided for a unicameral legislature and it was called the House of Representatives. The membership of the house was increased from its initial one hundred and forty-nine to one hundred and eighty-eight.
How the number of members of the House Of Representatives is determined and elected
Currently, the House of Representative membership is determined by the number of federal constituencies in Nigeria. Each state has a specific number of constituencies allotted to it.
In the 1950s, the members were elected directly by voters and not indirectly on the floor of regional legislative houses as was in the 1951 constitution. Then the legislature consisted of a speaker, three ex-official members and one hundred and eighty-four elected representatives.
Then each elected representative came from a constituency of 170,000 people. The one hundred and eighty-four seats were shared out as follows: northern region had ninety-two representatives, the western region had forty-two representatives, the eastern region presented forty-two members, southern Cameroon elected six representatives while the
How Many Times Can Nigerian House Of Representative Members (Honourables) Be Elected?
Unlike other elective positions in Nigeria’s executive arm of government, the office of the Nigeria House of Representative members has unlimited terms of office. An Honourable can be elected for each term of four years apiece multiple times. There is no limit to the number of times they can be elected into office.
How Members of the House of Assembly Can Be Removed
House members of the House of Senate and House of Representatives can be removed from office through a process called Recall.
Electorates of the constituency that such member is representing can file a recall petition as a way of withdrawing their support for such a member. The petition would be submitted to the chairman of INEC and must be signed by more than 50 per cent of the registered voters in the constituency.
The process will be followed up with a verification of the signatures and a referendum.
How Federal Constituencies are Created
Federal consistencies are different from Local Government Areas. Federal constituencies are created by the electoral commission body that conducts elections. Their creation can be determined by population, demand, the need to be represented.
List Of Former Speakers Of The House Of Representative
Sir Frederic William Metcalfe 1955-1959
Sir Frederic William Metcalfe was the first speaker of the Nigerian House of Representatives in 1955. He was a British military officer and a civil servant.
Jaja Anucha Wachuku 1959-1960
Jaja Wachukwu was the first indigenous Speaker of the House of Representatives in Nigeria. He hails from Abia State, Eastern Nigeria. A Royal Prince of Ngwa land. He was a diplomat, politician, lawyer and philanthropist.
He emerged as the first Speaker of House of Representative the political party platform, National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons (NCNC).ss
Besides being the first speaker of Nigeria House Of Representatives at Independence, he was also Nigerian first Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the UN. In addition, he served as the first Minister for Foreign Affairs of Nigeria.
Jaja Wachuku was succeeded by Ibrahim Jalo Waziri and preceded by Sir Frederic Metcalfe.
Ibrahim Jalo Waziri 1960-1966
Ibrahim Jalo Waziri was the third Speaker of Nigeria House of Representatives and the second indigenous speaker following Nigeria’s independence. He was the first Speaker of the House of Representatives to be elected twice as the Speaker of the House in 1960 and 1963.
Ibrahim Jalo Waziri was elected in the House of Representatives under the platform of NPN
He was from Gombe State in the northeastern part of Nigeria where he served as the Representative of Gombe Centra. He was also a senator that represented Bauchi State South-East Senatorial District between 1979 and 1984.
Edwin Ume-Ezeoke 1979-1983
He was the first Speaker of the House of Representatives under the presidential system of government in the second republic, I.e, in 1979. A Christian that served as a Knight of Saint Mulumbu.
Edwin-Ume-Ezeoke was from Amiche Nnewi,Anambra State. He served as the speaker of the House of Representatives between 1979 and 1983 under the platform of the National Party Of Nigeria (NPN) and All Nigerian Peoples Party (ANPP). They had formed a coalition government since NPN did not meet the requirement to single-handedly form a government This was when he was only 44.
Edwin Ume-Ezeoke before becoming a Politician was a Lawyer. He held numerous political positions including Chairman of All Nigerian Peoples Party (ANPP). He demonstrated leadership qualities even in his primary and secondarily school day having held numerous positions.
Benjamin Chaha Akari 1983
Benjamin Chaha served as the Speaker for only three months. His tenure as the Speaker was between October 1 and December 31, 1983.
Benjamin Chaha Akari was born on the 22nd of July 1940 at Biam, old Kastina State, presently in Benue State, where he had is WAEC. He worked as a primary school teacher and headmaster of Zakibiam NKST Primary School, Benue State.
At this time, the first executive president of Nigeria, Alhaji Shehu Shagari had barely started his second tenure as president. The democratically elected president was overthrown by Major General Muhammadu Buhari.
Chaha Benjamin Biam is a native of Ukum Local Government Area of Benue State, in the middle belt region of Nigeria He was elected through the platform of the National Party Of Nigeria (NPN)
Salisu Buhari 1999 – 2000
Salisu Buhari was a Businessman before becoming a politician in 1999. He was forced to resign from the position of the Speaker of the House he was appointed into in the same 1999 over allegation of forged school certificate and age He had been sentenced to 2 years imprisonment with an option of fine.
Salisu Buhari served the shortest tenure as the Speaker of the House of Representatives. He served for only six weeks. He came through the platform of the People Democratic Party (PDP). He is the first House of Representative Speaker of Nigeria’s longest republic which is the current fourth republic.
Salisu Buhari is from Kano state, in northern Nigeria
Ghali Umar Na’Abba, 2000-2003
Ghali emerged as the Speaker of the House of Representatives through the People Democratic Party, PDP after Salisu Buhari was disgraced out of office over certificate and NYSC certificate allegation.
Ghali Uma Na’Abba is from Kano State. He is a businessman. His dad was an Islamic scholar. He is a graduate of political science from the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria.
He had won the prior election as the Speaker of the House of Representatives but had to listen to counsel to permit Ibrahim Salisu Buhari to take the said position.
He held many positions even in the African continent. His popularity and achievements during his tenure prompted worriers from his political foes about how powerful he may become if allowed to be reelected as the house leader.
Ghali Uma Na’Abba was given the National Honors Award of the Commander of the Federal Republic (CFR) in 2010 by former president, Goodluck Jonathan.
Aminu Bello Masari, 2003-2007
Aminu Bello Masari is the present Governor of Kastina State. He started his political career as a member of the House of Representatives before emerging as the leader of the House of Representatives between 2003-2007.
Before attaining the position, he worked at Kastina State Water Corporation. In 1994, he served as the Commissioner for Works, Housing and Transport.
He had earlier contested for the Governorship position of Kastina State against Ibrahim Shehu Shema of the PDP where he lost under the then CPC – Congress for Progressive Change. He later re-contested after moving to All Progressive Congress, APC where he eventually won in 2015
He was first elected as the Governor of Kastina State in 2015 before being reelected in 2019. He is married to three wives. Aminu Bello Masari lost two of his sons at some point. one to an auto accident while the other was to sickle cell anaemia.
Patricia Olubunmi Foluuke Etteh, 2007
Patricia Ettah was the first female Speaker of the House of Representatives in Nigeria. She is the only female Speaker that has ever existed in Nigeria. She came in through the platform of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP)
Patricia Etteh served as the Speaker of the House of Representatives between June 2007 and October 2007. His tenure as the Speaker of the House Representative was the third shortest, just behind Benjamin Chaha who served for three months and Benjamin Biam’s six weeks at the helms of affairs of the house.
Patricia Etteh is a law graduate from the University of Buckingham. She is from Osun State. She is also a trained beauty therapist and hairdresser.
She was forced into resigning from the position after pressure arising from an allegation of theft and misappropriation of public funds for personal benefit. She had been accused of spending over five million dollars on the purchase of official vehicles and renovation of her residence.
Sabur Demeji Bankake, 2007-2011
Following the resignation of Patricia Etteh as the speaker of the house, Terngu Tsegba stepped in as the interim speaker. Bankole was later reelected in November 2007 to replace her.
Demeji Bankole was the youngest ever elected speaker of the Speaker of the House of Representatives in the history of Nigeria. He was made the Speaker of the house at the age of 37. He was elected under the platform of the party, PDP. He served as the speaker for roughly 8 years.
Demeji Bankole is a businessman who hails from Ogun State, western Nigeria. His dad was also a businessman with the traditional chieftaincy title of the Oluwo of Iporo Ake. He is a graduate of the University of Reading and Harvard University.
In 2017 Demeji divorced his first wife Olaitan Bankole and later got married again in 2021to Miss Aisha Shinkafi.
Aminu Waziri Tambuwal 2011-2015
Aminu Waziri Tambuwal is the current governor of Sokoto State since 2015. Before becoming the Governor of Sokoto state he was the Speaker of the House of Representatives in 2015. He emerged as the speaker through the platform of the APC.
Aminu Tambuwal is a graduate of law from Usman Dan Fodio University.
Before working as the speaker he worked as a personal assistant on Legislative matters to the then senate leader, Senator Abdulahi Wali.
Yakubu Dogara 2015-2019
Yakubu Dogara is a lawyer who later served as Speaker of the House of Representatives. He is a native of Bauchi state.
A graduate of Law from the University of Jos. He later got a masters in International Commercial Law from Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, Scotland.
Upon his graduation, he worked as a teacher at ATBU Staff School in Bauchi and later venture into private legal practice before he was eventually appointed as Special Assistant to the minister of state for transport.
In 2006 he indicated interest to contest as a representative of the Bogoro/Dass/Tafawa-Balewa federal constituency which he eventually won in 2007.
He was made the Speaker in 2015 after a tense election. Yakubu Dogara is a Christian. He made it to the house through the PDP but later defected to the APC.
He held the traditional title, Jakdan ofBuachi which was later suspended from him over the crisis in the community he hails from.
Femi Ghajamilia 2019 Till Date
Femi Gbajabiamila is the current speaker of the House of Representatives of Nigeria. He studied law at the University of Lagos. He also had part of his education in the United Kingdom.
Before becoming the Speaker of the House, he practised his legal profession in the USA and Nigeria. He contributed to the election of Bill Campbell in becoming Mayor of Atlanta.
He was first elected into the House in 2003 and reelected in 2007. He represents Surulere federal constituency in Lagos State. He came into power through the All progressive Congress (APC)