legislativeAs the battle for the leadership of the National Assembly enters very crucial stage ahead of next Tuesday’s inauguration of the federal legislature, the controversy over which state and geopolitical zone will produce the next Senate President, Deputy Senate President, Speaker House of Representatives and Deputy Speaker is heating up the polity.
In the midst of all these however, are those who have expressed concern that since Nigeria’s independence, only very few states have occupied the seat of government at the federal level, Executive and Legislature.
For instance, while the odds favour Lawan/Akume ticket for the Senate, observers are quick to point out that if that works out, it would be the fourth time a Benue State indigene would occupy the leadership of the Senate.
Before now, Ameh Ebute, Iyorchia Ayu and David Mark were Senate Presidents. Indeed, Mark only left the seat Thursday, after an eight-year tenure, while some states have not produced even minority leader.
In the same vein, from 1960 to date, 15 persons have led the country as either democratically elected leaders or military heads of state.
Out of the 36 states of the federation, the number one position in the country has rotated between the 15 persons from only nine states.
Of these states, the most favoured are: Ogun, Kano, Katsina and Niger. Each has produced the head of state twice or thrice. Other favoured states are Bauchi, Abia, Plateau, Sokoto, and Bayelsa.
The first and only Prime Minister ever produced in the country, Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa is from the Bauchi and he ruled between 1960 and 1966 when he was killed during the first military coup in the country.
His successor, late General Thomas Aguiyi-Ironsi from Abia, was the first military Head of State and the only individual from the entire South-East zone to rule the country till date. However, his regime was short-lived as military officers from the North assassinated him barely six months after he ascended office.
Late Aguiyi-Ironsi was succeeded by General Yakubu Gowon (rtd) from Plateau State, who ruled the country from 1966 to 1975. General Gowon is still holding the record as the only Christian Northern ‘minority’ that ever ruled the country out of nine ruler produced from the North.
Late General Murtala Muhammed from Kano State, who was assassinated after less than one year in office on February 13, 1986, succeeded Gowon. Kano State produced another military Head of State in person of late General Sani Abacha, who coincidentally also died in office in very controversial circumstances.
Ogun State holds the record as the only state in the country whose indigene ruled the country four times. General Olusegun Okikiola Obasanjo succeeded Murtala Muhammed in 1976 and handed over to a democratically elected government in 1979.
Twenty years later Obasanjo bounced back in 1999, as civilian president and again in 2003 when he was re-elected for a second term.
Apart from Obasanjo, another indigene of Ogun State that ruled the country is Chief Earnest Shonekan, who was the Head of a contraption called Transition government, which was put together by General Ibrahim Babangida after the annulment of the June 12, 1993 presidential election.
Ogun narrowly missed producing the fifth leader in late Moshood Kasimawo Olawale Abiola, who is believed to be the winner of the June 12, 1993 presidential election.
Out of all the six states in the South-West, Ogun is the only state in the zone to produce the number one citizen.
Sokoto State produced one elected president in person of Alhaji Shehu Aliyu Shagari, who was in office between 1979 and 1983. Sokoto was denied the opportunity of having its indigene in office seamlessly for eight years as General Muhammadu Buhari toppled Shagari three months after he was re-elected for a second term.
Buhari became the first indigene of Katsina State to rule Nigeria as military Head of State in 1983 after sacking the democratically elected government. Thirty years after General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida toppled Buhari, he came back to the presidential villa in May 2015.
Apart from Buhari, Katsina State also produced another president in the person of late President Umaru Yar’Adua. Unfortunately, Yar’Adua died in office like Ramat Mohammed and Sani Abacha from neighbouring Kano State.
Niger State, which has the slogan ‘the power state’, was to take its turn in the Presidential Villa in 1985 when Babangida sent Buhari packing from Doddan Barracks, Lagos. IBB, as Babangida is popularly called, was the one that effectively moved the seat of government to Abuja, which shares boundary with his home state.
Niger State produced a second Head of State in the person of General Abdulsalami Abubakar who midwife the handover of power from military to democratically elected government in 1999.
Immediate past President Goodluck Jonathan is the only president produced by the oil-rich South-South zone. However, Jonathan holds the record as the only Nigerian that every occupied the positions of Deputy Governor, Governor, Vice President, acting President and President.
With the above scenario, states that have not been privileged to produce the President, Vice President, Senate President or Speaker are asking that they be given a chance this time around. The likelihood of this coming to past depends on the sharing formula to be adopted by the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC at its meeting today with newly elected National Assembly members.


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