By Eric Teniola
With the passage of Senator Ayomide Fasanmi (September 27, 1925 to July 29, 2020) the number of the ninety-five Senators, who served between October 1979 to October 1983, still alive has been reduced. I covered that Senate until Major General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd.), GCFR, terminated democracy in Nigeria on December 31st, 1983. Senator Fasanmi contested the Ondo state gubernatorial primaries in the UPN in 1979 along with Chief Adekunle Michael Ajasin (28 November 1908 – 3 October 1997). He lost in the primaries held at Omolere Primary School, along Ado-Ekiti road in Akure. That was when Ekiti state was part of Ondo state. His campaign manager at that time was Chief Adebayo Adefarati (February 14, 1931 – March 29, 2007). After the gubernatorial election which Chief Ajasin won in 1979, Chief Ajasin invited Chief Adefarati to be a Commissioner in his cabinet eventually. He was said to have been impressed with the loyalty Chief Adefarati showed to Chief Fasanmi during the primaries. Eventually, Chief Fasanmi was elected Senator for Ondo North in 1979. Chief Adefarati was later elected governor of Ondo state in 1999. Between 1979 and 1983, Senator Fasanmi was a member of the Senate committee on health and social services. He was also a member of Senate committee on public works. Senator Fasanmi was a frontbencher in the Senate, sitting along with Senators Jonathan Akinremi Olawole Odebiyi (Egbado North-South), Abraham Aderibigbe Adesanya (Ijebu North East), Cornelius Olatunji Adebajo (Kwara Central) and Emmanuel Idahosa Akpata(Bendel Central).
During his tenure in the Senate, Senator Ayomide Fasanmi sponsored eight bills, all related to health management. He was a Pharmacist. He never missed any sitting in the Senate. Among the Senators who served between 1979 and 1983 and still alive are the former Senate President, Dr Joseph Wayas (Ogoja), Senator Isa Obaro (86)(Kwara South), he was a member of the Committee on Trade and Industries. He was very close to the then Senate Leader, Dr. Abubakar Olusola Saraki. In 1968, he was appointed Kwara State Commissioner of Information and later held the finance and Justice Ministry portfolios. He is from Okene in the present Kogi state. He was called to bar on February 5, 1963. He is one of those who fought for the creation of Kogi state.
Other still alive Senators are Senator Ahmed Zakari (Kano North East), Senator Jubrin Salihu (Agaie/Lapai), Senator Suemo Chia(Benue East), Senator Hamisu Musa (Kano South West), Senator Onyeabo Obi(Anambra West), Senator Kunle Oyero(Abeokuta/Ifo/Ota), Senator Ameh Ebute (Benue South Central), Senator Bello Bakori (Malumfasi/Funtua), Senator Iliya Galiya Audu (Wukari), Senator Ahmadu Ada Alli(Benue West), former Chairman of the PDP and Senator Olatunji Cornelius Adebayo (Kwara), who later became the Governor of Kwara state in 1983 and also served as Minister under President Olusegun Obasanjo, GCFR. Also alive are Senator Mohammed Girgiri Lawan (Borno North West), a successful businessman, who transverses between Abuja, Kano and Maiduguri these days, he is a highly polished man and detribalized Nigerian, Senator Stephen Adebanji Akintoye (Ondo Central), a new voice now in the Yoruba cause, Senator David Olatubosun Oke (Ondo West) from Igbara-Odo in the present Ekiti state, who I understand is in Ireland, Senator Michael Atijosan Emmanuel Onunkun (Ondo West), an elder statesman, now in Ondo South Senatorial district and Senator Abba Ali (Katsina/Dutsinma), a classmate and childhood friend of President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, a member of the present Federal Judicial Commission and a member of APC Caretaker Committee.
Among those who have departed includes Senators Muhtari Abdularim (Sokoto East), Mubashir Akanbi O. Abiru(Ikorodu), Andrew Abogede(Benue North-Central), Ademola Adegoke(Oyo), Ayoola Adeleke (Osun II), Christopher ‘Laogun Adeoye (Osun I), Abraham Aderibigbe Adesanya (Ijebu North East), Olalere Adesina (Ibadan), Muhammed Musa Agwai (Lafia/Akwanga/Awe), Mohammed Uba Ahmed(Bauchi South East), Adeyiga Omopenu Ajayi (Ikeja), Victor Akan (Eket), Nathaniel N. Anah (Anambra South), Isaiah Nnamani Ani (Anambra North), Joseph Ogua Ansa (Calabar), Tony Anyanwu (Owerri), F.O.M. Atake (Bendel Delta), Obafemi Ayantuga(Epe), Umara Bama(Borno East), Ibrahim Barau(Ikara/Zaria/BirniGwari), Garba Musa Dada(Minna/Kagara), David Omueye Dafinone(Bendel South), Usman Alto Dambatta(Kano North-Central), George Asuquo Daniel(Uyo), Yusuf Aliyu Daura(Daura/Mani/Kankiya), Ibrahim Dimis(Bauchi South), Abayomi Adeyosola Durosinmi(Badagry), Oyibosiya Eberewariye(Rivers V(Degema), Emeka Patrick Echeruo(Okigwe), Francis John Ellah(Rivers II(Ahoada/Ikwerr/Etche), Elijah Ebonine Emezie(Orlu), Donald Dick Etiebet(Ikot Ekpene), Ayo Fasanmi (Ondo North), Garba Gada (Sokoto North), Aliyu Mohammed Gani (Kwara North), Adamu Gaya(Kano South), Gayus Gilama (Numan), Christopher Oladosu Ilori(Ife/Ilesha), Idrisa Kadi(Borno North-Central), Bitrus Bzigu Kajal(Mubi), Ibrahim Kolo(Bida), Garba Kware(Sokoto Central), Daniel Adetola Ladega (Ijebu-Ode/Ijebu Remo), Jacob Kure Madaki(Kachia/Jemaa/Saminaka), Ja’Afar Mangga(Borno South), Garba Matta(Pankshin/Mangu/Kanam), Abubakar Mogaji(Suleja/Formerly Abuja), Abdullah Muazu(Kontagora), Hamisu Musa(Kano South-West, Haruna Muza(Sokoto West), Cyrus Nwidonane Nunieh(Rivers IV (Bonny/Bori), Offia Nwali(Anambra East, Jonathan Akinremi Olawole Odebiyi(Egbado North-South), Emmanuel Kayode Ogunleye(Ondo East), Simeon Mba Ojukwu(Umuahia), Basil Charles Okwu(Anambra), John Wash Pam(Jos), Ahmadu Damyama Rufai(Bauchi Central), Abdulkadir Yalwaji Saleh(Bauchi North), Bukar Sanda(Borno West), Abubakar Sola Saraki (Ilorin/Asa), Sikiru Ayodeji Shitta-Bey(Lagos), Samuel Olu Sogbein(Odeda/Obafemi/Owode), Joseph Sarwuan Tarka(Benue East-Central), John Osiomole Umolu(Bendel North), Jaja Anucha Wachukwu(Aba), Obi Wali(Rivers I(Port Harcourt), Ibrahim Jalo Waziri(Bauchi East), Mahmud Waziri(Adamawa), Thomas Yepwi(Keffi/Nasarawa), Luka Zanya Zing(Muri), Amatai Zuofa(Rivers III(Brass/Sagbama/Yenogoa), Hassan Zuru(Sokoto North) and Sabo Bakin Zuwo(Kano Central).
The Clerk of the National Assembly then, Alhaji Gidado Idris, GCON, the Clerk of the Senate, Mr. A.A. Coker as well as the Clerk of the House of Representatives, Mr. B.I. Olinmah has also passed on.
In 1979, the Senate adopted 37 Resolutions while in 1980 it adopted 58 resolutions and in 1981 it adopted 97 Resolutions. In 1982, it adopted 42 Resolutions and in 1983, 29 Resolutions were adopted. Each Senator was paid N3, 000 per month and entitled to only five legislative aides, namely one legislative aide on level 12, one confidential secretary on level 8, a typist on level 4 and a clerical officer on level 4 and a messenger on level 2. Each member of the National Assembly at that time was given accommodation at 1004 Estates on Victoria Island, Lagos. They were all given Medical Facilities at the 1004 Estate. The Medical Centre at that time at 1004 was headed by Dr Chris Ngige, who is at present, the Minister of Labour and Productivity. Top Federal Civil Estate was equally given accommodation at the 1004 estate. It was the then-Senate that approved the following as members of the Federal Electoral Commission with Mr Justice Victor Erereko Ovie-Wiskey appointed as the Chairman. Other members are Chief J.B.C. Anyeagbuna(Anambra), Mrs Ethel Onwu(Anambra), Alhaji Ahmed Kari(Bauchi), Mr O.I. Afe(Bendel), Brigadier L.N. Obeya(Bendel), Alhaji Mustapha Umara(Borno), Mr. R.F. Uko(Cross River), Mr. A.N. Adumanu(Imo), Alhaji Liman Umaru(Kwara), Mrs Husa Iro Luko(Kaduna), Alhaji Aminu Salihu(Kaduna), Alhaji Mohammadu Mashabaru(Kano), Alhaji Zubairu Dandatta(Kano), Dr (Mrs) Mabadeje (Lagos), Alhaji Umaru Audu(Niger), Dr. Lateef O. Aremu, Alhaji M.B.Ibrahim(Plateau), Mrs E.A. Pam(Plateau) and Alhaji Garba Jabo(Sokoto).
The Senate also approved the following as members of the Code of Conduct Bureau. They are Alhaji Isa Kaita (Chairman), Alhaji Nadu Maibe(member), Alhaji Hassan Lemu(member), Alhaji Zubairu Mahammud(member) and Mr. Boniface Chibunna Nwakanma(member). Other members are Mrs F.M. Sowole, Mr. Moses Olarenwaju Egundeyi Alhaji Usman Bichi, Reverend Akpan Ukpong, Alhaji Isa Iko, Mr. Agan Dankoro and Chief A.B. Batubo.
They also approved the following as Ambassadors. They are Mr. Baba Gana Kingibe (Borno), Mr. I.J. Sagay (Bendel), Mr. Y. Abdullahi (Plateau), Mr. J.E.U. Ekong(Cross River), Mr. G.O. Okany(Anambra), Mr. E.O. Sanu(Oyo), Mr. A.K. Mohammed(Borno), Mr. M.A. Carpenter(Sokoto), Mr. M..L. Rafinddi (Kaduna), Mr. A.M.S. Imam (Kwara), Mr. O. Akadiri (Ondo), Mr. I.D.O. Sokoya(Ogun), Mr. O. Oshodi (Lagos), Mr. O.O. Adesola(Lagos), Mr. H.B. Musa (Plateau), Mr. P.L. Udoh(Cross River), Mr. P.B. Loroye(Rivers), Mr. O. Ani(Ondo), Dr. L.A. Fabunmi(Ondo), Mr. P.O. Nnochiri (Imo), Mr. M.S. Umar(Bauchi), Mr. E. Fowora(Ogun), Mr. Musa M. Bello(Kwara), Mr. A.D.I. Blankson(Rivers), Mr. L. Metteeden(Kano), Dr. G. Ijewere(Bendel), Mr. I.Chinade(Bauchi), Mr. L.S.M. Osobase(Bendel), Mr. J.K. Umar(Kaduna), Mr. E.O. Kolade(Ogun), Mr. H.I. Emenyi(Cross River), Mr. A.A. Mohammed(Kano), Mr. O.O. Fafowora(Oyo), Mr. G.A. Falase(Oyo) and Mr A. D. Gadau(Bauchi).
Also approved and confirmed by the Senate were the members of the Federal Civil Commission with Alhaji Bagudu Shettima (Niger) as the Chairman. Other members are Mr. Muritalabi Ashorobi (Lagos), Alhaji M. Bayero(Gongola), Mr. Ben M. Chukwudebe(Anambra), Mr. Eyoma Ita Eyoma (Cross River), Mr. Baguda Hirse(Plateau), Dr. Othaman Ladan-Baki(Kaduna), Alhaji A.A. Jimoh(Kwara) and Alhaji Aliyu Maru(Sokoto).
On December 31, 1983, Brigadier Sani Abacha, GCFR, who announced the overthrow of President Shehu Shagari declared that “the clerk of the National Assembly (Alhaji Gidado Idris), the President of the Senate and Speaker of the House of Representatives shall, within two weeks, render an account of all the properties of the National Assembly.” After hearing the announcement I said to myself Brigadier Sani Abacha must have been misinformed about the activities of the National Assembly. No member of the National Assembly was earning more than N3, 000 per month and there was no financial autonomy, no constituency projects to be executed by them. Unlike now they did not blackmail or force the Ministers to give them contracts and neither did they attempt to run the Federal Ministries and Agencies. Except for the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives and their deputies, none of them had official cars.
I remember when the three conference halls were to be built in the National Assembly, Alhaji Gidado Idris wrote an official letter to the then Minister of Finance, Professor Matthew Esang, from Oron, now in Akwa Ibom for release of funds. The project was executed then by the Minister of Works at that time, Mr Victor Igwe Masi from Omoku in Ahoada Local Government of Rivers State. When the project was delayed, Dr. Wayas had to personally invite Professor Esang to his office over the issue. While the present members of the present National Assembly are now living like kings in palaces in comparison their predecessors never enjoyed such opulence.