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BREAKING NEWS: Longest Serving Senators In Nigeria; many public office holders have turned their office into a permanent seat.

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Nigeria is indeed an unusual country. Here, in this part of the world, many public office holders have turned their office into a permanent seat.

While many desire to stay in office till old age or perhaps even die in office, others prefer to turn it into a family affair, making it hereditary and passing from one generation to another.

Yes, Nigeria is that country. Imagine the same signature you had on your appointment letter, being the same signature you see on your retirement letter.

Funny, but sad. Some people have bluntly refused to retire, especially our politicians.

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You see, since Nigeria returned to democracy in 1999, it has had five presidents – Olusegun Obasanjo, Umaru Yar’Adua, Goodluck Jonathan, Muhammadu Buhari, and the incumbent, Bola Tinubu.

Each of the 36 states would also have had at least three governors within the period.

This figure could be more if any of the governors spent only one term of four years.

Now, come to the National Assembly, the nation’s bicameral legislature, made up of the Senate and the House of Representatives, some lawmakers seem to be maintaining permanent seats in the chambers.

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It may surprise you to know that some of them have been in the parliament since 1999 and completed their sixth term in 2023.

Several members have been in either the House or the Senate or both since 2003, and they would have spent not less than 20 years by 2023 at the end of the 9th Assembly.

In fact, some still found their way into the 10th Assembly.

The members belong to the ruling All Progressives Congress and the opposition Peoples Democratic Party. Some of them have also switched parties as part of moves to get re-elected.

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There have been divided opinions on which is better between having long-serving lawmakers and fresh lawmakers every four years.

Some persons have argued that returning members have legislative experience and the institutional memory of parliamentary norms and processes.

People in this category often cite the United States’ parliaments with many long-serving lawmakers.

However, there are those who believe that the Senate is fast becoming the ‘retirement home’ for former governors and ex-ministers.

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Some members of the chamber have already been tagged ‘Landlords’.

Let’s cruise through a few of them.

Nicholas Mutu has been in the House since 1999, solidifying himself as the ‘Landlord’ of the chamber.

Representing Bomadi/Patani Federal Constituency in Delta State, Mutu served as the chairman of the House Committee on Niger Delta Development Commission between 2009 and 2019.

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That is arguably the longest time a member would head the same committee.

Mutu is not the only name on the long list. Former senate president, Ahmad Lawan, also passes for a ‘landlord’.

He has been in the National Assembly since 1999.

He was first elected a member of the House where he spent two terms. He represented Bade/Jakusko Federal Constituency in Yobe State.

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In 2007, he was elected a senator to represent Yobe North Senatorial District and retained the seat till he became the Senate president.

Lawan became the President of the 9th Senate in 2019.

Gbajabiamila served as Speaker of the House of Representatives, in his fifth term.

He has been in the House since 2003, representing Surulere 1 Federal Constituency in Lagos State.

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The lawmaker was the Minority Leader of the House in the 7th National Assembly.

He later became Majority Leader in the 8th Assembly after his hope of becoming Speaker was dashed.

Gbajabiamila was set to remain in the house if not for Tinubu’s appointment.

An election to replace him in the House was held in Surulere on February 1, 2024.

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Since 2003, Ali Ndume has been in the National Assembly.

He first represented Chibok/Damboa/Gwoza Federal Constituency in Borno State for two terms.

That was in 2003 to 2011.

In 2011, he was elected to represent Borno South Senatorial District at the red chamber, a seat he kept for years.

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During his stay in the chamber, Ndume had attempted to be President of the Senate at different times.

He was the Majority Leader of the House in the 8th Assembly but was sacked over his political stance against that of the then President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki.

Ndume was replaced with Ahmad Lawan, who later became Senate President.

Ndume is still in the senate till date, with his eyes still on the senate president seat which is currently occupied by Akpabio.

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The lawmaker representing Enugu West Senatorial District, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, has been in the Senate since 2003.

He attempted to be President of the Senate in 2005 but failed.

Senator Ken Nnamani got the position instead.

However, Ekweremadu was the Deputy President of the Senate for three consecutive terms – 6th, 7th and 8th, spanning 12 years, a record time as a presiding officer in the National Assembly.

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The lawmaker had announced his retirement from the Senate in 2023.

He joined the governorship race in Enugu but lost the PDP ticket.

Now Ekweremadu is cooling off in jail, far away from home.

The Delta South Senatorial District in Delta State has had James Manager as its representative since 2003.

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Ogor has been representing Isoko-North/Isoko-South Federal Constituency in Delta State at the House of Representatives since 2003.

He was the Deputy Majority Leader of the House in the 7th Assembly and Minority Leader in the 8th Assembly.

Ogor’s exploits as leader in both majority and minority caucuses is on record, especially during heated debates with his then opponent, Femi Gbajabiamila, who was also Minority Leader and Majority Leader at different times.

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