Speaker Abbas, Gbajabiamila lead tributes to 'titans of democracy', Ghali Na'Abba

Alhaji Umar Ghali Na’Abba

Alhaji Umar Ghali Na’Abba

By Femi Ogunshola

The Speaker of the House of Representatives Tajudeen Abbas and his immediate predecessor Femi Gbajabiamila on Thursday led other dignitaries to pay glowing glowing tributes to the late speaker, Ghali Na’Abba during a valedictory session held at the Green chamber.

Former and serving members of the National Assembly also paid their last respects to the late Fourth Republic speaker.

Members of Na’Abba’s family, former presiding officers, and body of Principal Officers, and a forum of Clerks at the State and national assembly levels were also in attendance.

It was an emotion-laden valedictory as former and serving lawmakers took turns to celebrate the man, Na’Abba.

The lawmakers were unanimous in describing the late speaker as one who lived and died for the downtrodden while appealing to those in authority to prioritize the welfare and wellbeing of the masses.

Speaking at the valedictory session Abbas said the late Na’Abba left an indelible mark on the nation’s democratic journey and would be remembered as one of the “titans of our democracy.”

Abbas said that Na’Abba’s tenure laid the foundation for a robust and independent legislature.

“Na’Abba was known for his courage, boldness, dedication to the principles of democracy, exemplary leadership and steadfast commitment to the time-honoured principles of separation of powers.

“Of all his qualities, what stood him out the most was his simplicity, austerity, contentment and rare honesty,” he said.

He also said that Na’Abba was a modest and deeply religious man who gave the last full measure of devotion to his work and Nigeria, adding that he lived a simple life but always with the end in mind.

He described his life as a worthy lesson for political office holders of today and generations of politicians to come.

Deputy speaker, Benjamin Kalu described Na’Abba as a “hero of transparency and courage’’ who stood for the masses.

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In his remarks, the immediate past house speaker and Chief of Staff to the President, Femi Gbajabiamila, said Na’Abba lived a good life of service, adding that he was a politician who spoke truth to power.

He said Na’Abba was a man of progressive politics who worked for the independence of the house of representatives.

Former speaker, Aminu Bello Masari who spoke on behalf of the body of former speakers, said Na’Abba paid his dues as a parliamentarian.

“He showed great deal of resilience. We need to keep the family in good shape so that they will not suffer financially. We should lead by example as leaders. We must provide leadership for the people. No more excuses from us,” he said.

Also speaking, Na’Abba’s deputy, Mr Chibudom Nwuche who spoke on behalf of the body of former deputy speakers, described Na’Abba as a speaker par excellence.

He added that he led the house without a compass and worked to safeguard democracy.

Minority Leader of the house, Rep. Kingsley Chinda, said Na’Abba was a detrabilised leader who has paid his dues, while urging leaders to be more selfless and less selfish.

A former lawmaker, Mr Bawa Bwari said Na’Abba led with integrity, transparency and honesty, adding he was a beacon of hope in the face of adversity.

According to him, his courage and fearlessness was a guiding light for us. He understood the power of collaboration and consensus building.

Na’Abba emerged speaker in July, 1999, after Mr Salisu Buhari was impeached as a result of irregularities in his academic qualifications.

Abbas said during the event that the house was awaiting Senate concurrence to name the National Assembly Service Commission building after Na’Abba.


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