Paying back to constituents: The Balarabe-Abdullahi example

CHEKE EMMANUEL reports that Hon. Ibrahim Balarabe- Abdullahi has distinguished himself as the Speaker of the Nasarawa State House of Assembly by empowering not just his constituents but youths across the state

The beauty of democracy is when all the organs of government are allowed to carry out their responsibilities without hindrance from any quarters. Democracy also flourishes when citizens enjoy equal rights and opportunities to exercise their responsibilities.

In Nasarawa State, the legislature and the executive have demonstrated unity of purpose through shared vision of the present administration in the state both in spirit and in practical terms to provide good governance for the people of the state. While some other state governments and their Houses of Assembly may be engrossed in crises, the executive and the legislature in Nasarawa State, including the judiciary, have excellent working relationship.

This cordial working relationship between the three arms of government has necessitated the lofty achievements recorded in virtually all sectors of the economy in the state in the past two years. This working relationship between the executive and the legislature, in particular, had been attributed to the hard work of the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Hon. Ibrahim Balarabe- Abdullahi, whose sterling leadership qualities provide stability and peaceful atmosphere between the two arms of government, thereby paving the way for the executive to perform beyond and exceeding all expectation. Although the previous leadership of the state House of Assembly had fulfilled its legislative responsibilities, Balarabe-Abdullahi has made more remarkable impact so far in the history of the state legislature.

Elected Speaker of the Nasarawa State House of Assembly in June 2015, Balarabe-Abdullahi represents Umaisha/ Ugya state constituency on the platform of the All Progressive Congress (APC). So far, the Nasarawa State House of Assembly under Balarabe-Abdullahi’s leadership has passed a total of 29 bills and 44 resolutions.

This feat has been achieved with the cooperation of the all members in the Assembly. This achievement has been attributed to the quality, visionary, hardworking and exemplary leadership of the speaker. Little wonder, Balarabe-Abdullahi was recently elected as vice chairman, North Central zone chapter of the Nigeria Conference of Speakers of State Legislatures. Speaking in an interview, a member of the Assembly, representing Lafia North state constituency, Hon. Mohammed Alkali said: “From our records, Nasarawa State House of Assembly has the most cordial working relationship with the executive arm. This is because the Assembly is one as the speaker is always there, so members find it easy to work with him and by that, members don’t have any problems relating with him.

“In some cases where you find crisis in some states Assembly is because the leadership don’t carry members along but here in Nasarawa State, the story is different because the current speaker knows how to carry everybody along. At a particular time, the executive brought 14 bills in one moment and all these bills were considered because of the cooperation and understanding of all members irrespective of political parties.” Also commenting on the personality of the speaker, the House minority whip, Hon. Abel Yakubu Bala, representing Nasarawa Eggon West state constituency, said the State House of Assembly had not had it so good like during the time of Balarabe-Abdullahi.

His words: “Ibrahim Balarabe-Abdullahi is someone who carries members along. He sees no political differences; all he does is to keep preaching oneness and unity of purpose whether at the executive session or at the plenary. He always tells us that once a member gets to the gate of the House of Assembly, he should drop party differences and that is the fundamental reason for unity in the Assembly.

“In the Nasarawa State House of Assembly, we are one irrespective of our party differences. This is because of the leadership style of the speaker. He ensures that all benefits meant for every member of staff get to them. He is always in touch with the governor all the time to ensure that what is meant for the legislature gets to it at any given time. “I commend the speaker and the governor for having good understanding of one another and appreciating each other’s role.

The relationship between legislature and executive in the state is cordial such that any executive bill that comes to the Assembly is always considered. I must also say that the speaker’s leadership style is responsible for the peace and stability in the Nasarawa State House of Assembly.” As speaker, Balarabe-Abdullahi has sponsored several private bills including the Bill for a Law to Prohibit Violence against Persons as well as a Bill to Amend the Area Court Law 1068. The most popular among them is the Anti- kidnapping Bill, which has already been signed into law by Governor Abdullahi Sule.

The Anti-kidnapping Law, which prescribes death sentence for kidnappers, has drastically reduced the rate of kidnapping in Nasarawa State. Interestingly, a vote of confidence was passed on Hon. Balarabe- Abdullahi by the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the Assembly led by the minority leader, Danladi Jatau, The House minority caucus cited good leadership and inclusivity for its position. As expected, the entire House supported the motion on confidence vote moved by the House majority leader, Tanko Tunga and seconded by Muhammad Okpoku.

Perhaps, it was against this backdrop that the immediate past governor of the state (now senator representing Nasarawa South Senatorial District), Tanko Al-Makura, recently described Balarabe-Abdullahi as an asset to the state and the ruling APC. Similarly, Governor, Alhaji Sule, while in Toto Local Government Area during his recent Meet-thepeople Tour of the state to mark his second year anniversary in office, described Balaraba-Abdullahi as a blessing to the state and its people. Balarabe-Abdullahi has equally earned the respect and recognition of the traditional council in his area, which bestowed on him, the revered title of “Walin Opanda.”

He has also earned an award as the most outstanding State Assembly Speaker in the North Central Nigeria by the Sir Ahmadu Bello Merit Award Foundation. Determined to improve the living condition of his constituents, Balarabe-Abdullahi procured and installed 150 Solar Street light in Umaisha. He also lobbied and facilitated the construction of Toto-Umaisha road, installation of 35KVA transformers in Toto to boost electricity in the area, construction of a classroom block at the Government Transfer School, Umaisha, among other projects.

The speaker has also facilitated employment opportunities for over 100 youths in his constituency as well as succeeded in aiding the installation of some village heads in his constituency. Besides his primary responsibility of lawmaking and leading the legislature, the speaker has positively impacted on the lives of his constituents through women and youth empowerment programmes. He also instituted a scholarship scheme for indigent students from the constituency studying in both secondary and tertiary institutions across the country.

During the anniversary of his one year in office, Balarabe-Abdullahi donated two speedboats to the people of the riverine areas to ease their transportation challenges. In the same vein, during his two years in office, the speaker empowered his constituents, particularly women across the six electoral wards of Umaisha/Ugya state constituency.


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