THE MAKING OF THE 7TH SESSION OF THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY MEMBERS
Nigerians will file out tomorrow to elect 109 senators, that is three senators per state and one from the Federal Capital Territory, FCT(Section 43 of the constitution), and 360 member s of the Federal House of Representatives, that is representatives of 360 constituencies delineated according to population 'as nearly equal as possible'(section 49 of the constitution).
There are 120,000 polling stations and three officials, that is one presiding officer and two assistant presiding officers per polling station. Supervisory presiding officers are engaged to supervise 10 polling stations. The conduct of the poll is by open secret ballot system and it will trail blaze the presidential and governorship/legislative elections on April 9 and 16 respectively.
On June 3, 1999, the fourth session of the National Assembly was inaugurated effectively implanting the current legislative dispensation with the sixth session winding down on June 3, 2011.
About 21 political parties will be presenting candidates for the election tomorrow that will produce the 7th session.
The super contenders
Some lawmakers who contested and won in 1999 are at it again running for a fourth consecutive time. They include the Senate President, David Mark, Nuhu Aliyu, Gbenga Ogunniya, Orji Kalu, Patrick Osakwe, Danlami Hamza,and Tsegba Terngu.
He is unarguably one of Nigeria's longest serving senators. As Senate President since 2007, he has deployed his military strategic insight in stabilizing the senate which for the first time since 1999 recorded a lone presiding officer.
Since 1999 after a glorious career in the military and exile, he has dominated the political scene of Benue South, winning the senatorial seat twice and on course for the fourth ticket. A man with a deep pocket, he was one of the reliable associates of ex-president Olusegun Obasanjo between 1999-2007. He also played a stabilizing role in the health crises of late president Musa Yar'Adua.
The 62 year old golf playing politician has his former professional colleague in the military, Gen Lawrence Onoja(rtd) of the Action Congress of Nigeria as his most formidable opponent in tomorrow's election. The build-up to the elections in his district has been replete with violence and gritty campaigns.
Although his name does not ring a bell outside his zone and senate circles, Ogunniya has been around since 1999, actively participating in all the momentous events in the hallowed chambers. The Ondo-born business man and grassroots mobilizer and strategist was key to the impeachments and elections of most of the senate presidents. Before 1999,he funded the Yoruba socio cultural group, Afenifere which aided his nomination as the candidate for Alliance for Democracy for Ondo Central Senatorial District. He later defected to the PDP, sought re-election on its platform in 2003 and won.
Winning the 2007 elections was tough for him as a coalition of aspirants rose against him within the party arguing that the party's ticket was not meant for him alone. He eventually overcame the opposition, picked the party's ticket and won the election. He also won at the elections petitions tribunal. His main challenger is Ayo Akinyelure(All over) of the Labour Party. Considering the fact that this is governor Segun Mimiko's district, will the bid materialize?
In Niger politics, he ranks amongst the elite group that dictate the pace of politics. A former Deputy Inspector General of Police(DIG), the 68 yeas old has caused several stirs since 1999, when he became a senator. The first time was when he accused some federal lawmakers of fraud, saying he personally arrested and interrogated them when he was in the police. He dominated Niger North, and is on course for yet another term.
Hon Monsur Owolabi
After 12 years representing Island Federal Constituency of Lagos State in the House of Representatives, he has switched over to battle for the Mainland Federal constituency seat. The non-controversial legislator is perceived widely as a silent smooth operator, and has survived several political onslaughts. He is contesting on the platform of the ACN.
As Speaker of the Federal House of Representatives, his contest in tomorrow's election naturally will elicit interest, notwithstanding the fact that he is not in the league of fourth termers.
Added to this is the fact that he did not find it easy to secure the PDP ticket.