From Leo Zuanke, Nassarawa
In the annals of Nigerian history, one name stands out: Rt. Hon. Speaker Ibrahim Balarabe Abdullahi. As the distinguished leader of the Nasarawa State House of Assembly, Speaker Balarabe has exhibited exceptional qualities of leadership, fostering a harmonious relationship between the executive, legislature, and judiciary.
Throughout his tenure, he has left an indelible mark on the state, ensuring peace, unity, and accelerated development. As the 6th Assembly prepares to pass the baton to the incoming 7th Assembly, here are 15 remarkable achievements of Speaker Balarabe that should be acknowledged and considered by the new lawmakers.
Unparalleled Stability and Unity:
Under Speaker Balarabe’s astute leadership, the Nasarawa State House of Assembly has enjoyed eight years of stability, devoid of rancor or party differences. Peace and unity have consistently prevailed, setting the stage for effective governance.
Enhanced Executive-Legislature Relationship:
Speaker Balarabe successfully eliminated the suspicious doubts that existed between the executive and legislature, which originated from the impeachment motion against Governor Almakura during the 4th Assembly. His efforts have ushered in an era of effective collaboration, allowing the state government to flourish.
Strengthened Oversight Functions:
Taking inspiration from the National Assembly, Speaker Balarabe introduced and encouraged robust oversight functions, which have enhanced the effectiveness of government ministries, departments, and agencies (MDAs) in Nasarawa State.
Record-breaking Legislative Output:
Speaker Balarabe’s tenure has witnessed an unprecedented number of bills passed into law. With 54 bills passed during the 6th Assembly and an additional 21 bills in various stages of passage, the total stands at an impressive 75. This accomplishment underscores his commitment to the fundamental role of lawmaking.
Second Best Performance:
Nasarawa State House of Assembly, under Speaker Balarabe’s guidance, is currently rated as the second-best performing state assembly among the 36 states in Nigeria. This recognition further exemplifies his dedication to effective legislative governance.
Speaker Balarabe’s exceptional performance led to his appointment as the first Speaker in Nasarawa State to represent the African region in the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA). This prestigious position brings pride and distinction to the state, underscoring his remarkable achievements.
Improved Employment Conditions:
In a demonstration of his commitment to the welfare of the assembly’s staff, Speaker Balarabe absorbed over 140 casual workers who had diligently served for 10 to 20 years, granting them permanent and pensionable positions.
Under Speaker Balarabe’s administration, the Nasarawa State House of Assembly published its first-ever compendium, chronicling the journey and story of the assembly. This document serves as a valuable resource for posterity.
Presidential Award for Excellence:
Acknowledging his outstanding performance, Speaker Balarabe became the first Speaker in Nasarawa State to receive the prestigious Presidential Award as the Best Speaker in North Central Nigeria. The honor was presented by Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila.
Commendation from Nigeria Labour Congress:
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) recognized Speaker Balarabe’s significant contributions to government and labor relations, presenting him with a letter of commendation and recognition—an honor bestowed for his exceptional achievements.
Diligent National Vice Chairman:
Speaker Balarabe dutifully served as the National Vice Chairman, North Central, Nigeria, Conference of Speakers of State Assemblies, further showcasing his commitment to strengthening inter-state cooperation.