In this edition of our spotlight on Chairpersons of the various Senate Standing Committees, we delve into the political background and legislative experiences of the 5 Senators from the South-South geo-political zone leading Committees.
1. Senator Seriake Dickson (PDP, Bayelsa West)
Senator Seriake Dickson is the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Ecology and Climate Change.
A former police officer, he went on to study and practice law, leading him to hold key positions as an official of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) in Bayelsa, National Legal Adviser of the Ijaw National Congress (2001 – 2003), and member of the Council of Legal Education in Nigeria.
In politics, Dickson has held key positions such as State Chairman of the Alliance for Democracy (AD) (1999 – 2000), National Legal Adviser, Alliance for Democracy (2000 – 2002), and later as Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice of Bayelsa State (2006 – 2007) under the Goodluck Jonathan administration. He thereafter contested for a seat in the federal parliament, leading him to serve in the Sixth and Seventh House of Representatives.
He left the legislature to take up the seat of Governor of his home state between 2012 and 2020; holding the position of Chairman, South South Governors Forum within the same period. Dickson was first elected to the Senate in an October 2020 bye-election following the inauguration of the previous occupant as the Bayelsa State Deputy Governor.
- Member representing Sagbama/Ekeremor Federal Constituency of Bayelsa State (2007 – 2012).
- Chairman, House Committee on Justice
- Senator representing Bayelsa West (March 11, 2020, till date). In the Ninth Senate, he sponsored one bill.
2. Senator Adams Oshiomhole (APC, Edo North)
Senator Oshiomhole is Chairman of the Senate Committee on Interior and a member of the governing All Progressives Congress (APC)
A former General Secretary of the National Union of Textile, Garment and Tailoring Workers of Nigeria (1982) and former Deputy President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (1988). He, however, came to national prominence when he became President of the NLC between 1999 and 2007.
In the same vein, he represented African workers for two terms on the Governing Body of the International Labour Organization (ILO), serving on the committee on Freedom of Association. He was also a member of the executive board of the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions.
Oshiomhole’s entrance into public office commenced with his inauguration as Governor of Edo State (2008 – 2016) under the Action Congress (AC) following a court victory. He will later become National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress for two years (2018 – 2020) and has been elected Senator for Edo North Senatorial District in the Tenth National Assembly.
- Oshiomhole is a newbie in parliament.
3. Senator Asuquo Ekpenyong (APC, Cross River South)
The youngest Senator in the 10th Senate, Asuquo Ekpenyong, is the Chairman of the Senate Committee on the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
A former Commissioner of Finance in his home state of Cross River State. He also had a stint as Commissioner for Transport and Marine Services in the State from 2018 to 2019, and served as Managing Director of the Tinapa Business and Leisure Resort (2016 – 2017).
Before his entrant into politics, Ekpenyong served as Chief Executive Officer of Iquasu Limited between 2009 and 2015, amongst many other private sector positions, and took up the role of an academic in the Banking and Finance Department of the University of Calabar between 2009 and 2012.
- Ekpeyong is a first-term lawmaker.
- Senator Barinada Mpigi (APC, Rivers South East)Mpigi is a member of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and Chairman of the Senate Committee on the Niger Delta.
A two-time Executive Chairman of Tai Local Government Area (1999 – 2001, 2008 – 2011), he also served as pioneer Commissioner for Youth Affairs during the administration of former Rivers Governor, Peter Odili between 2001 and 2002.
He later crossed over to the federal parliament, serving two terms in the Seventh and Eighth House of Representatives before his election to the Senate in 2019. He notably sponsored six bills in the Nonth National Assembly, including a piece of legislation seeking the establishment of a Federal University of Environmental Technology in Saakpenwa-Ogoni, Rivers State.
- Member representing Tai/Oyigbo/Eleme Federal Constituency (2011 – 2019)
- Vice Chairman, House Electoral Matters Committee (8th Assembly)
- Senator representing Rivers South-East (2019 till date).
- Vice Chairman, Senate Committee on Establishment and Public Service (9th Senate)
- Senator Ipalibo Harry Banigo (PDP, Rivers West)
Chairperson of the Senate Committee for Health, Senator Banigo is a member of the Peoples’ Democratic P
A medical doctor, she had served as an Executive Director and Secretary at the National Primary Health Care Development Agency. She also held other positions, including Permanent Secretary. Acting Commissioner, Head of Service of Rivers State and later as Secretary to the Government of Rivers State.
In 2015, she rose to become the first female Deputy Governor of her home state of Rivers under the Nyesom Wike Administration and served for eight years before her election to the Senate. She is one of the only three female Senators in the current National Assembly.
- Senator Ipalibo is a first-time lawmaker.