The leadership dispute in the 7th Nasarawa State House of Assembly has finally come to an end, as Daniel Ogazi has decided to step down as the speaker. In his place, the lawmakers have elected Ibrahim Balarabe to assume the position. All 24 members attended the plenary session at the Assembly Complex in Lafia on Friday, signifying that a consensus has been reached after a series of meetings between the Ogazi and Balarabe factions.
Ibrahim Balarabe, who represents Umaisha/Ugya, now holds the position of the speaker, while Abel Yakubu Bala of Nasarawa Eggon West has been elected as the deputy speaker. The Acting Clerk, Ibrahim Musa, made this announcement during the inauguration of the members in the state capital, stating that this decision aligns with Governor Abdullahi Sule’s proclamation and the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Mohammed Oyanki of Doma North nominated Balarabe for the speaker’s position, and Larry Ven Bawa of Akwanga North seconded the nomination. For the deputy speakership position, Ibrahim Peter Akwe of Obi 1 nominated Abel Yakubu Bala, and Suleiman Yakubu Azara of Awe South seconded the nomination.
Following the nominations and secondments, the Clerk officially inaugurated Ibrahim Balarabe as the new speaker and Abel Yakubu Bala as the deputy speaker. Subsequently, Balarabe administered the oath of office to the other members.
During his acceptance speech, Balarabe committed to offering inclusive leadership that prioritizes the peace and development of Nasarawa State.
“I want to congratulate the honourable members on your inauguration and for electing me to serve as speaker of the seventh assembly,” he said.
“I have presided over the affairs of this assembly in the last eight years with all sense of fairness and fear of God. I want to assure you that I will continue in that spirit.
“I will also continue to operate an open door policy as I have done in the last eight years,” he assured.
Furthermore, Balarabe assured the assembly staff of his ongoing dedication to enhancing their well-being. Subsequently, the plenary was adjourned until Monday, July 25.
Following the session, the lawmakers paid a visit to the Government House, where Governor Sule encouraged them to set aside past conflicts and collaborate for the advancement and prosperity of the state.
“Please, I am pleading with you to live with each other in fairness and trust, to respect one another amongst yourselves, and to put all these things that have happened behind you,” the governor said.
The events on Friday mark the resolution of a prolonged crisis that erupted in the Nasarawa Assembly when both Ogazi and Balarabe asserted their claims to leadership of the house.
Amidst the conflicting claims of legitimacy from each faction, a significant security presence was evident when the Balarabe group held their plenary session and inaugurated the only female lawmaker, Hajara Danyar.
In response to the crisis, Governor Sule had assured the public of his commitment to resolve the dispute, emphasizing that Ogazi and Balarabe were friends.