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Dimeji Bankole Celebrates His 51st Birthday Today

Sabur Oladimeji “Dimeji” Bankole (born 14 November 1969) is a Nigerian politician who served as the 9th Speaker of the House of Representatives of Nigeria. Elected at the age of 37, Bankole is the youngest Speaker in the history of the House and 2019 Ogun State gubernatorial election candidate under the platform of Action Democratic Party.

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Early life, Education and Career

A Yoruba of aristocratic background, he was a businessman before being elected to the House. A Muslim Egba, Bankole was born in Abeokuta in what is now Ogun State on 14 November 1969. His parents are Alani Bankole, a businessman, former National Vice-Chairman and acting Chairman of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) and holder of the chieftaincy titles of the Oluwo of Iporo Ake and the Seriki Jagunmolu of Egbaland, and one of his wives, Atinuke Bankole, who was herself the Ekerin Iyalode of Egbaland.

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Newspaper Thisday identifies Bankole’s education as such: Baptist Boys’ High School, Abeokuta starting 1979; Albany College, London, England, starting 1985; University of Reading, Reading, England, starting 1989; short course at University of Oxford’s Officer Training College, Oxford, England, in 1991; and Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, US, in 2005.

Bankole obtained a Master of Public Administration degree from John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, USA in 2005. In 2014, he became a Mason Fellow in Public Policy and Management at John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, USA.

In 1991, Bankole passed D.A.B selection into Royal Military Academy Sandhurst while taking courses for military officers at Oxford University where he was in the Artillery Corps.

Bankole is a polo player, and is a member of the Lagos Polo Club and the Guards Polo Club, Abuja with defence as his preferred position. He also enjoys football.

Public Sector – House of Representatives of Nigeria
In 2002, Bankole was elected to the House of Representatives on the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) ticket to represent the Abeokuta South Federal Constituency of Ogun State. He was Deputy Chairman of the House Committee on Finance while Aminu Bello Masari was Speaker, (Farouk Lawan was Chairman of the committee) and was also previously Chairman of the House Committee on Land Transport. Other committees he has sat on are the panels on Defence, Internal Affairs and Banking, and Currency.

Bankole was re-elected in April 2007. He considers his legislative interests to be those related to defence and finance.

Speaker of the House
In September 2007, a committee questioned Speaker Patricia Etteh about spending the sum of ₦628 million ($4.8m) on home renovation and automobiles. She denied wrongdoing, but many representatives were unhappy with her attempts to defend herself, blows were traded on the floor of the House, and Etteh had to be escorted from the chamber. Former President Olusegun Obasanjo and many top PDP members continued to back her, but a large segment of the party, led by Lawan and including Bankole, called for her resignation. It was reported that Bankole, among multiple other contenders, hoped to succeed her as early as 5 October 2007.

After Etteh’s resignation from the post on 30 October (along with her deputy, who was also caught up in the scandal), Integrity Group (anti-Etteh) member Terngu Tsegba became interim speaker.

Nomination
On 1 November, he was elected to succeed Etteh. The election began at 10.30am. The House was short of the statutory 360 members because three (Moses Segun Oladimeji, Joe Anota and Aminu Shuaibu Safana) died. Two constituencies were yet to elect their representatives. 328 of the 355 members voted. Samson Osagie of Edo State nominated Bankole for the post of Speaker, and Lynda Ikpeazu of Anambra State seconded the proposal. His challenger was Osun State Representative George Jolaoye, whom he beat by 304 votes to 20 (and 4 abstentions). Etteh was among those who voted against Bankole. The new deputy speaker was Usman Bayero Nafada. Bankole was declared speaker at 1.30pm.

In his acceptance speech, entitled “We Stand Upon The Threshold of History”, Bankole said “I am taking over the mantle of leadership at a very difficult time. But these are hard times, we need to build confidence again and assure the populace that we are still their representatives. I want an independent house that Nigerians will be proud of, this is my first task.”

Tenure
One week after his election, political opponents claimed that Bankole had not completed his National Youth Service Corps (N.Y.S.C) service, which is mandatory for all Nigerian university graduates under thirty years of age when they graduate, and called for his resignation over the issue. Bankole provided his N.Y.S.C discharge certificate, ending the rumour. On 22 June 2010 Bankole suspended 11 members of parliament indefinitely for disorderliness and fighting in the house.

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