By JACOB ONJEWU DICKSON
As the race for who becomes the Speaker of the House of Representatives in the 10th Assembly gets tough, the Chairman, House Committee on Navy, Hon. Yusuf Gagdi, member representing Pankshin/Kanke/Kanam Federal Constituency of Plateau State in North Central geopolitical zone of Nigeria has emerged as the top contender for the post and he is highly rated for it as well.
Last week, a Non Government Organisation (NGO), called Alliance for True Democracy met in the Federal Capital Territory and endorsed Gagdi for the office of the No 4 man in the country .
The group cited Gagdi’s pedigree which include, being the Deputy Speaker of Plateau State House of Assembly, Legislative Aide to the Deputy Speaker, Plateau State House of Assembly and the Chairman Special Committee on Peace, Security and Reconciliation Plateau State 2018 and as well as Financial Secretary of People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Plateau State 2012 to 2014.
The group further added that apart from holding these posts, the lawmaker was also a member of Plateau State Library Board between 2012 to 2014 and Chairman of Federal Board, Lower Benue River Basin Development Authority (LBRBDA Makurdi 2012 to 2014, Chairman of Special Committee on Peace, Security and Reconciliation Plateau State 2015; Chairman Special Committee on Peace, Security and Reconciliation Plateau State 2018 and as well as Financial Secretary of PDP Plateau State 2012 to 2014.
It therefore, based its arguments that based on wealth of experience at both state and federal legislative houses, Mr Gagdi should be given the top post of the Speaker of the House of Representatives.
Another group clamouring for Hon. Gagdi to become the Speaker, is the popular Middle Belt Forum
According to Okpani Mike Akatu Odeh.
“Hon.Yusuf Gagdi is one of the youngest law maker at the both the 9th and 10 Assembly respectively, as such he would bring about the much needed vibrancy in to the lower legislative House.
“Secondly, Hon Gagdi would be the link between millions of Nigeria’s youth and the legislators which would ensure that the wishes and needs of our teeming young men and women would be respected.
“There is also the need to to do a balancing act in the National Assembly, since the President is from the South West, his Vice is from North East and with the Senate President likely going to the South East or South South, the Middle Belt advocacy posited that it would be in the interest of national unity and cohesion to have the experienced lawmaker as the Speaker,” he said.
Okpani explained “If we are to have every geopolitical zone represented at the 10th Assembly, then we should do a balancing at. If the President is from the South West, the Vice President is from the North West the Senate President is from South, is only proper to have the Speaker from one of the Middle Belt State and it is in this regard we are calling on members of the HoR to please consider justice, equity and fairness by electing Hon. Gagdi as its Speaker.”
Apart from the game of endorsements by prominent groups across the country that the astute legislator heads the Lower House, political pundits and legislative analysts have tipped Gagdi as the most suited for top job .
Dr. Baba Adams of Institute of Leadership and Development, Nigeria added his voice to the debate.
Adams stressed that given the lawmaker’s long years of service at the National Assembly, coupled with the fact that most of the law makers in the 10th Assembly are first timers, there is the need to have a leader who would guide them through the difficult processes of legislative workings.
A veteran journalist who had covered the National Assembly for years, Bashir Bello is of the opinion that the legislator’s emergence as Speaker of the House would restore hope and unity in Nigeria as Christians who have been alienated as result of the Muslim-Muslim ticket would be reassured that they are not marginalised.
Born on November 5, 1980, the 42 year old lawmaker has served in various other capacities before his present position, which included Legislative Aide to Deputy Speaker of Plateau State House of Assembly between 2003 and 2006.
He was a deputy speaker of the State House of Assembly before getting elected into the House of Representatives in 2019.