Sacked, non-returning lawmakers begin packing out of NASS complex

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Mixed feelings enveloped the National Assembly as sacked and non-returning Ninth House of Representatives legislators began packing out their personal effects ahead of the final dissolution of the parliament in Wednesday’s plenary.

In a message, Yahaya Danzaria, the lower chamber clerk, informed the legislators that a valedictory session would be held on the day. According to him, the event will have former presiding officers, leadership and clerks in attendance.

National Assembly office assistants were seen helping lawmakers to move their belongings into their vehicles. Other staff took inventory of items at the lawmakers’ offices.

Sam Onuigbo (APC-Abia) said the items legislators moved from their offices had been paid for.

Mr Onuigbo sponsored the bill on climate change, which was assented to by former President Muhammadu Buhari in 2022.

“I have been able to impact meaningfully on Nigerians. For instance, when they deleted management courses from the University of Agriculture, I came out heavily against it,” Mr Onuigbo stated. “I moved a motion, invited the relevant authorities, pursued it and said it was wrong for such an action to occur, and then it was restored.”

Nkem Abonta (PDP-Abia), a non-returning legislator, was asked what he would miss as a lawmaker. He said he had been privileged to sit at the National Assembly for four years.

“I have been privileged to sit here four tenures and also 16 years as an aide. I was a personal assistant for eight years to a senator, cumulatively 24 years for the institutional memory,” Mr Abonta revealed. “What I will be missing is the issue of Nigeria. I pray the people coming after us will have enough political will to approach issues that affect Nigerians.”

He said the problem was that most newcomers would have to begin to learn the rope, adding that by the time they mastered the art, they would again be shown the way out by their constituents.

“What we may do is to be around to offer our various opinions like I’m doing now, and our experience,” stated Mr Abonta. “What I am trying to do is to put together the association of ex-members to see where we can also have a national discussion on important issues and give our opinion.”

He also stressed that “that we are not sitting here does not mean we are no longer relevant or that we can no longer count,” revealing that “I will actually go back to my classroom.”

Mr Abonta said, “I used to lecture. I was a senior lecturer. So, I will go back to the lecture room.”


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