Akpabio, Moro, Natasha, Wadada…24 lawmakers to watch in 2024

Sharon EboesomiJanuary 22, 202418 min

As the National Assembly (NASS) prepares for its first full year in the tenure, OrderPaper identifies 24 lawmakers to look out for in the year 2024.

24 lawmakers to watch in senate

It has been 7 months since the inauguration of the 10th National Assembly and by January 30, 2024, the National Assembly will resume for the new year to continue its legislative activities.

This will be the first full year of the 10th assembly since coming on board in June 2023. Before the year-end break, OrderPaper had keenly observed proceedings in both chambers of the NASS (Senate and House of Representatives) and taken note of contributions of lawmakers to critical issues addressed on the floor of the parliament as well as at committee levels. Based on this, we have identified 24 lawmakers to look out for in 2024. The first set of 12 (Senators) are presented below in no particular order:

  • Natasha Akpoti-Uduaghan  (PDP, Kogi Central)

Natasha is a lawyer with a Master’s in Business Administration in Oil & Gas Management from the University of Dundee, United Kingdom. She entered the political scene in 2019 by contesting to represent Kogi central senatorial district under the platform of the Social Democratic Party (SDP). Although she lost to the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, Sadiku Ohere, she later contested the governorship position against the incumbent governor, Yahaya Bello, that same year.

By the 2023 electioneering season, Akpoti-Uduaghan joined the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and returned to the race for the office of Senator. She secured 52,132 votes against her opponent’s 51,763 votes. Despite the slim margin of 369 votes, her opponent was declared elected. Unyielding, Akpoti-Uduaghan embarked on a legal challenge which eventually landed her victory at the Appeal Court and was eventually sworn in on the 2nd November, 2023 to replace Ohere. She holds the record of being the first female Senator from Kogi State.

Before arriving at the Senate, Akpoti-Uduaghan had been vocal in her quest for good governance and gender-related issues. She had previously presented an investigative report to the National Assembly on March 1, 2018, on corrupt activities regarding the Ajaokuta steel mill. The report detailed the repetitive waste of government funds and embezzlement since the initial construction of the steel mill which has remained moribund despite multiple attempts to get it running. Expectations are high that she would bring her activism into the Senate in 2024

  • Ahmad Lawan (APC, Yobe North)

Ahmad Lawan

Ahmad Lawan served as the 14th president of the Nigerian Senate from 2019 to 2023. He was first elected to the House of Representatives in 1999 to represent the Bade/Jakusko federal constituency of Yobe State as a member of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) and was re-elected in 2003 before successfully running to become Yobe North Senator in 2007.

He was made Senate Majority Leader in 2015 before he was elected President of the Senate in 2019. Although he sponsored zero bills from 2019 to 2023, Lawan belongs to a distinct class of lawmakers referred to as “Landlords of the National Assembly.” Having achieved the pinnacle of legislative leadership, will he, like Sen. David Mark whose return to the 8th assembly after serving as Senate President was tantamount to a ghost tenure, atrophy into irrelevance? Or will he, like displayed during the 2024 budget defence exercise, continue to use his vast legislative experience to the benefit of the Senate and country? 2024 will be the year to watch out for what becomes of Lawan in the 10th National Assembly.  

  • Adams Eric Oshiomhole (APC, Edo North)

10th NASS: 24 lawmakers to look out for in 2024 - Adams Oshiomhole

Nigeria’s most popular labour leader, Senator Adams Oshiomhole, rose to prominence as president of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) in the days of former President Olusegun Obasanjo. He went on to serve as two-term governor of Edo State and subsequently as national chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Oshiomhole who is one of the oldest lawmakers (in terms of age) in the Senate had initially declared for the office of President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in 2022 but later withdrew in support of the current President and picked up the senatorial ticket of the APC for his home district. Given the above background and one known to be very vocal, he has gained widespread attention as he has significantly demonstrated and expressed his preparedness for the position. The country will be looking out for him in 2024.

READ ALSO: SPOTLIGHT: Oshiomhole as emerging show stopper in Senate

  • Asuquo Ekpenyong  (APC, Cross River South Senatorial District)

Thirty-nine-year-old Asuquo Ekpenyong Jr. is the youngest Senator in the 10th Senate.

Not a new name in Cross River Politics, Ekpenyong was appointed to serve as the Commissioner for Finance at the age of 29 by Senator Ben Ayade, the then Governor of Cross River State in November 2015. In March 2022, he resigned his appointment to contest for election as Senator representing Cross River southern senatorial district under the platform of All Progressive Congress (APC).

Ekpenyong, who is a newbie in the Senate, is the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC). Given his age and political experience, eyes will be on the Cross Riverian politician to see what impact he would make in 2024.

  • Mohammed Ali Ndume (APC, Borno South)

Ali Ndume

Senator Mohammed Ali Ndume is the current Chief Whip of the Senate. He was a member of the House of Representatives representing Chibok/Damboa/Gwoza federal constituency of Borno State from 2003 to 2011 before moving to the Senate later in 2011 where he has been serving till date. Between 2015 and 2017, Ndume served as the Senate Majority Leader and was removed in controversial circumstances after falling out with the Bukola Saraki senate presidency. He maintained a fairly quiet run in the 9th senate and gained prominence again in the race for the leadership of the succeeding assembly. He said President Bola Tinubu had told him to ensure that Sen. Godswill Akpabio emerged as the number three citizen and according to him, supporting Akpabio was about “justice and doing what is right”

But barely months into the assembly, things have fallen apart between Ndume and Akpabio with the former acccusing the latter of being insensitive, untrustworthy, and having a habit of making inappropriate jokes from the position of the dais. He also dragged Akpabio on the way he handles affairs in the red chambers, stating that it is against the rules. Will Ndume continue his open drama against Akpabio in 2024?

READ ALSO: PROFILES: 11 Former Rep Members ‘Graduating’ to the 10th Senate

  • Godswill Akpabio (APC, Akwa-Ibom North West)

10th NASS: 24 Lawmakers to look out for in 2024 - Godswill Akpabio

Akpabio is the President of the 10th Senate. He has a robust political experience – from being a two-term Governor of Akwa Ibom State (2007 – 2015) to becoming Minority Leader of the Senate (2015 – 2018), and then minister for four years under President Muhammadu Buhari (2019 – 2022).

Since emerging as the Senate President, Akpabio has faced several controversies that stirred up reactions from the public. Notably, he was accused by Senator Tony Nwoye (LP, Anambra North) of sidelining Labour Party senators after announcing Senators Abba Moro (PDP, Benue South) and Osita Ngwu (PDP, Enugu West) as the minority leader  and minority whip respectively to replace the previous occupants ousted from the Senate by the courts.

Will Akpabio continue to downplay the opposition parties or will he learn from these controversies and turn a new leaf? The nation will be looking out for him in 2024 as he wields the gavel.

  • Opeyemi Bamidele (APC, Ekiti Central)

10th NASS: 24 lawmakers to look out for in 2024 - Opeyemi Bamidele

Popularly known as MOB, Senator Opeyemi Bamidele is currently serving as the  Majority Leader of the 10th Senate. In this capacity, he presents Executive bills on the floor of the Senate and has the responsibility to rally support for the Executive arm of the Government led by his mentor and benefactor.

Incidentally, Bamidele has had a long-standing relationship tutelage under President Bola Tinubu even his political experience dates back to June 1992 when he contested and lost in the primary elections to the House of Representatives to represent Oshodi/Isolo federal constituency in Lagos State under the platform of the Social Democratic Party (SDP). In 1993, he served as a special assistant on legal matters to then Senator Bola Tinubu and was in July 2000 appointed Senior Special Assistant on political and inter-governmental relations when Tinubu became Lagos State governor. Bamidele served further as Commissioner for Information and Strategy (July 2007 to February 2011) and Commissioner for Youths, Sports and Social Development (July 2003 to May 2007) under same Tinubu administration. In the extant fourth Republic, he was elected as a member of the 7th National Assembly and served as Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Legislative Budget and Research. Political watchers will have eyes on him as he protects and promotes the interest of the Tinubu asdministration even when such appear unpopular. 

  • Ireti Kingibe (LP, FCT)

10th NASS: 24 Lawmakers to look out for in 2024 - Ireti Kingibe

Sen. Ireti, who is one of the four women in the Senate, is currently serving her first term 

With a professional background in Engineering, Ireti once worked as Adviser to the National Chairman of the defunct Social Democratic Party (SDP) in 1990; and in 2003, contested for the FCT Senatorial seat under the platform of the All Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP) but lost. She made other attempts at get the Senate but it was not until 2023 that she won the National Assembly election to represent the  FCT Senatorial District in the 10th Assembly.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with OrderPaper shortly after clinching the seat, she disclosed that her legislative agenda was to strategise better and find effective means of achieving her campaign promises through sustainable development programmes. She also promised to have a Constituency Office and desk to address the issues presented by her constituents. It is important to keep a close eye on the lawmaker to see if she really keeps to her words in 2024.

  • Aliyu Wadada (SDP, Nasarawa West)

10th NASS: 24 Lawmakers to look out for in 2024 - Aliyu Wadada

Senator Aliyu Wadada is currently serving his first term as a Senator representing Nasarawa West Senatorial District under the platform of the Social Democratic Party (SDP).

He was a member of the House of Representatives from 2003 to 2011 representing Keffi, Karu, and Kokona federal constituency where he sponsored several bills and moved several motions. While serving in the green chamber, he chaired the House committee on capital markets and institutions as well as the committee on gas, national security and intelligence. Wadada also pushed for various youth and capacity development projects while in the House of Representatives. 

Currently serving in the 10th Senate, Wadada holds a strong position in the opposition caucus considering that he chairs the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) which is a significant committee in the National Assembly that scrutinises expenditures in the Federal Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to ensure transparency and accountability and compliance with public financial regulations. Will he anchor this very pivotal assignment in the national interest and confront public financial malfeasance headlong? 

  • Abba Moro (PDP, Benue South)

Senator Abba Moro

Sen. Abba Moro started his political career as the Local Government Area Chairman of Okwopko, Benue State in 1998. He contested and lost the governorship election in 2011 and was subsequently appointed in the same year as Minister of Interior by the former President, Goodluck Jonathan. 

In 2019, Moro was elected under the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as the Senator representing Benue South in the 9th National Assembly. He is currently serving his second term in the Senate. On the 21st of November, 2023, he was appointed Minority Leader of the Senate to represent and direct the activities of the minority parties on and off the floor of the Senate. All eyes will be on him to see how he pilots this very crucial responsibility of providing checks on the APC majority.

  • Barau Jibrin (APC, Kano North)

10th NASS: 24 lawmakers to look out for in 2024 - Barau Jibrin

Senator Barau Jibrin served in the House of Representatives between 1999 and 2003 and chaired the Committee on Appropriations and the Committee on Power. The then president, Olusegun Obasanjo, appointed him as a member of the committee he had set up to review Nigeria’s budgetary process.

He eventually returned to private practice where he was appointed by the Kano State Government as a member of the Kano State Business Incentive Committee in 2009. He served as the Chairman of Kano State Investment and Properties Ltd and a one-time Commissioner of Science and Technology in the state.

In 2015, he contested and won the election for the Kano North Senatorial District on the platform of the APC, and after the inauguration, he was named Vice Chairman of the Senate Committee on Petroleum (Downstream) months later, he was elevated to chair the same committee.

Also in the 8th Senate, he was appointed Chairman, Senate Committee on Tertiary Institutions and TETFUND. He was also a member of the Committee on Niger Delta, Industries and Land Transportation.

Barau was re-elected in 2019 for a second term, where he was appointed Chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriations. In 2023, he was reelected for a third term and got elected as the Deputy President of the Senate, confering on him the power of the gavel whenever Akpabio is absent from duty. This is why he is one of 24 lawmakers to watch in 2024. 

  • Ned Nwoko (PDP, Delta North)

Ned Nwoko

Ned Nwoko, lawyer and philanthropist, began his political career as a member of the House of Representatives between 1999 and 2003 representing Aniocha/Oshimili federal constituency of Delta State.

He is a strong advocate of malaria eradication in Africa having flagged off the Ned Nwoko Malaria Eradication campaign via a symbolic expedition to Antarctica in January 2020. The Delta senator has been notable since he was elected to the 10th Senate having canvassed for diaspora voting and recently stirred controversy when he advocated for citizens to bear arms due to the worrisome insecurity situation in the country. The public will pay attention to his legislative activities in 2024.

STAR Check: Nigerians can keep tabs on the legislative performance of their lawmakers throughout the 10th NASS here.

Sharon Eboesomi

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