The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila, is seeking to have members of the House addressed formally as ‘Representative’.
This will mean addressing a member, for instance, as Representative Femi Gbajabiamila, Representative Nkeiruka Onyejeoacha and Representative Sada Soli Jibia.
Members of the House currently carry the title, ‘Honourable’, the same prefix that is also used by many other office and non-office holders in Nigeria.
On Thursday, a bill sponsored by Speaker Gbajabiamila to officially address members as Representative, as opposed to Honourable, passed second reading on the floor in Abuja.
He co-sponsored the bill with the Chief Whip of the House, Rep. Mohammed Monguno.
The long title of the amendment bill reads, “A Bill for an Act to Amend the Legislative Houses (Powers and Privileges) Act, 2017; and for Related Matters (HB.2149).”
Monguno, while leading the debate on the bill in the absence of Gbajabiamila, explained that the title, ‘Representative’, appropriately reflected the work of the lawmakers, being that they were representatives of their constituencies at the National Assembly.
He also said “Representative” was the title used in addressing House members in the United States of America, where Nigeria copied its presidential system of government.
Monguno added that Honourable had become more generously used these days, as appointees in the executive arm of government, local government chairmen, councillors, among others also used the title.
The bill secured a majority voice vote and passed second reading.
It was referred to the Committee of the Whole for further legislative work.