The former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Ghali Umar Na’abba, has breathed his last on 27 December 2023 at the National Hospital in Abuja. The demise of the 4th Speaker of the House of Representatives has left a void in Nigeria’s political landscape.
Na’abba, who held the esteemed position from July 1999 to 3 June 2003, etched his name in the annals of Nigerian legislative history by being the only Speaker to successfully overturn a President’s veto on crucial bills. His leadership saw the mobilisation of an overwhelming majority of the House’s 360 members to challenge and overturn President Olusegun Obasanjo’s veto on significant bills, including the NDDC bill.
Furthermore, under Na’abba’s stewardship, the House catalogued 32 impeachable offences of President Obasanjo, signalling a robust effort to checkmate perceived civilian dictatorship and constitutional breaches. His tenure was marked by tension with the executive arm, especially the Presidency, which sought to replace him with a more pliable legislator. Despite these challenges, Na’abba’s resolve remained unshaken, leading the House with unwavering courage and dynamism.
“Na’abba’s legacy transcends mere legislative achievements; it embodies a resolute commitment to legislative independence, separation of powers, and the rule of law,” remarked a political analysis of his tenure in Wikipedia post about him. Upon assuming office, Na’abba articulated a visionary roadmap that prioritised the robust defense of legislative independence, the concept of separation of powers, and the protection of Nigeria’s constitution.
The former Speaker’s courageous stance against executive overreach earned him accolades as an influential figure in Nigeria’s political history. His revolutionary approach towards legislative governance resonated with his commitment to fostering good governance and quality national development.
As the nation grieves the loss of a formidable leader, funeral arrangements are underway, with details expected to be announced shortly.