OrderPaperToday – Representatives from the South-south leads the other five geopolitical zones in terms of bills sponsorship by members of the House of Representatives at midterm.
The members from the zone comprising Delta, Akwa-Ibom, Rivers, Edo, Cross-River, and Bayelsa States have pulled a total of 263 bills. This means they have sponsored 20% of the total number of House of Representatives bills in the last two years.
The South-South contingent consists of 55 members, including some notable new members, long-term serving members, and principal officers, as analyzed in our South-South geopolitical bills scorecard for the senate.
Understandably there is no limit to the number of terms a member can serve in parliament as stipulated by law. Thus it is common to find long-serving members who have served as long as six terms in the House. The South-South contingent is not short of such members. One notable long-serving member is Mr. Ebomo Nicholas Mutu (PDP, Bomadi/Patani) from Delta state. Referred to as “Mutu the Methuselah,” he has been in the House since 1999, making him a 6th term member.
However, with his years of parliamentary expertise, more would have been expected from him when it comes to carrying out the mandate of lawmaking by way of bills sponsorship. Ironically, he has not sponsored any bill at midterm, which seems to be a trend with the other long-serving members from the zone.
Another long-serving member from the South-south is Mr. Ogor Leonard (PDP, Isoko North/Isoko South), also from Delta state. He has been in the House since 2003. Thus he is a 5th term member and a Minority Leader in the 7th Assembly. Ogor is likewise without any bill in two years.
The third long-serving member from the region is Mr. Essien Ekpenyong Ayi (PDP, Calabar South/Akpabuyo/Bakassi), from Cross River state. He is also a 5th term member of the House. Essien has not sponsored any bill in two years.
Looking at female representation, the South-South, however, records sparse female representation. The region presents just one female member out of the 13 we currently have in the 9th House of Representatives. Hon. Boma Goodhead (PDP, Akuku Toru/Asari Toru) from Rivers state is the lone female rep, and she is yet to sponsor a bill in the two years under review.
While bills sponsorship by the long-serving and female members might not be forthcoming, two new members from the South-south were able to add to the regions bills tally. One new member that stood out and made the top 10 newbies chart is Mr. Onofiok Luke Akpan (PDP, Etinan/Nsit Ibom/Nsit Ubium), from Akwa Ibom State. He is currently 3rd on the chart with 22 bills sponsored in his first two years in the House. Most of his bills are on Constitution alteration and a few on transport, human rights and the amendment of the police act. Also, he appears on the 9th spot on the top 10 house of rep members’ bills sponsorship chart.
Also appearing 2nd on this chart is Mr. Ossai Nicholas Ossai (PDP, Ndokwa East/Ndokwa West/ Ukwuani) Delta state. Although he is not new to the House, he sponsored a total of 44 bills to ramp up the tally for the zone. His bills cover issues like firearms regulations, chemical weapons prohibition, finance, etc.
The second new member from the region that stands out in terms of bills sponsorship is Mr. Ben Roland Igbakpa (PDP, Ethiope East/Ethiope West), from Delta state. He sponsored 12 bills in his first two years, placing him 9th on the top 10 newbies’ bills chart.
Not to be left out, the region also boasts of two principal officers who have added to the bills tally. Notably, the Minority Leader of the House Mr. Ndudi Godwin Elumelu (PDP, Aniocha North/Aniocha South) of Delta state is from the region. He has nine bills which were all sponsored in the first legislative year. These bills are on health, education, ICT and elections. There is also Mr. Peter O. Akpatason (APC, Akoko Edo) from Edo state. He is the Deputy Minority Leader and has sponsored two bills so far for the establishment institutions of learning.