Ahmad Ibrahim Lawan is a politician and scholar from Nigeria. He has been a member of the Nigerian legislature since 1999, sitting in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. He is the President of the Nigerian Senate as of 2022. He is a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and represents the Yobe North Senatorial District in Nigeria.
Early Life & Education
Ahmad Lawan was born on January 12, 1959. He is a Yobe State native. He went to Sabon Gari Primary School in Gashua for elementary school and received his First School Leaving Certificate in 1974. He went on to earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Geography from the University of Maiduguri in 1984. He earned a Master’s Degree in Remote Sensing from Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria in 1990. He went on to earn a Doctorate Degree in Remote Sensing/GIS in 1996 from Cranfield University in the United Kingdom.
In 1985 and 1986, Lawan served as an Education Officer in the Yobe State Civil Service’s Ministry of Education before lecturing at his alma mater, the University of Maiduguri, from 1987 to 1997.
Ahmad Lawan was elected to the House of Representatives for the first time in 1999 as a member of the All Nigeria Peoples Party to represent the Bade/Jakusko Federal Constituency. Lawan served as chairman of the House Education and Agriculture Committees after being elected to the House of Representatives.
He was re-elected in 2003, and he stood for Yobe North Senator in 2007, which he won. He was a member of the National Assembly’s Joint Committee on Constitutional Review in 2008. Lawan initiated and sponsored the Desertification Control Commission Bill in 2009, when he was chairman of the Senate Committee on Public Accounts.
In addition, in August 2009, he spoke out against the proposed Kafin Zaki Dam. He claimed that the Tiga and Challawa Gorge dams had already severely reduced water flow and that the Jama’are River was now the Yobe River’s principal water supplier. According to him, the dams caused tremendous poverty, desert encroachment, migration, and clashes between arable farmers and herders.
After being re-elected as a member of the All Progressive Congress, the ANPP’s successor, in 2011, 2015, and 2019, Lawan was elected Senate President with 79 votes cast, defeating Senator Mohammed Ali Ndume with 28 votes, after the 9th Nigerian National Assembly was inaugurated in 2019. It was his second run for Senate President, but he had lost the first.
Lawan ran for Senate President in 2015 after the APC allotted the seat to the northeastern Nigerian region based on the party’s current power-sharing arrangement. Because of the zoning, only senators elected on the APC platform from the six northeastern states could run for Senate President. After talks with important political stakeholders and senators-elect from the northeast, Lawan was backed and presented to the party’s national leadership, who nominated him as the party’s candidate for Senate President. Due to the APC’s zoning scheme, those senators elected from other zones are precluded from vying for the seat.
Senator Bukola Saraki of Kwara State in Nigeria’s north-central region, however, disagreed with the party’s decision, arguing that all competent candidates should be allowed to exercise their constitutional right to run for Senate leadership positions. Saraki announced his candidacy in defiance of the party’s zoning policy.
On June 9, 2015, which was the morning of the day of the Senate president election, 51 APC senators gathered at the International Conference Centre, reportedly convened by the APC leadership and President Muhammadu Buhari with the clear goal of convincing senator Saraki to drop his ambition and support Lawan, when the election was conducted by 57 senators, mostly from the opposition PDP and a few APC senators. Saraki was elected with 57 unanimous votes from the senators who were present at the time of the election. When the election was held and a winner was announced, Senator Lawal was present at the International Conference Centre. That occurrence denied his bid for the presidency of the 8th Senate.
On June 6, 2019, Senator Danjuma Goje stepped down from the Senate Presidency election, after meeting with Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari. Senator Ahmed Lawan of the APC was elected and sworn in as the Senate President of Nigeria’s 9th Assembly on June 11, 2019, after defeating his opponent, Senator Ali Ndume of the APC. Senator Ahmed Lawan defeated his opponent by a margin of 79 to 28 votes.
After the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) was passed in August 2021, Lawan and other Cabinet ministers were accused of accepting bribes to ensure the bill’s approval despite widespread public opposition to parts of its contents. Several lawmakers expressed outrage, not because Gbajabiamila and Lawan allegedly took bribes, but because the bribes were not distributed fairly among the legislators, as other members claimed to have gotten $5,000 for representatives and $20,000 for senators.
Initially, Gbajabiamila and Lawan refused to comment on the report. Lawan denied the story several days later, calling it “unwarranted, unproven, and false,” and urging Nigerians to “always think positive about their leaders and their governments,” as well as to “let them speak the truth and we are prepared to tell corrections that we believe should be able to make us do better.”
On Friday, June 25, at the Sheikh Sharif Ibrahim Saleh’s mosque in Maiduguri, Ahmad Lawan marries a new wife, whose name was reported to be Zainab Algoni Abdulwahid.