OrderPaperToday – Francis Alimikhena was born on 18th October, 1947. He represents Edo North Senatorial District and is a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC). Edo North Senatorial District covers six local government areas: Etsako West, Etsako Central, Etsako East, Owan East, Owan West and Akoko Edo.
Alimikhena served as deputy chief whip of the 8th Senate from 2015 to 2019.
He was re-elected in February 2019 after polled 117,783 votes to beat his closest challenger, Abubakar Momoh of the PDP, who scored 80,752 votes.
8th Senate score card
How did the Edo senator fare in the 8th Senate from 2015 – 2019, prior to his election in 2019?
Alimikhena sponsored a total of six bills in five years. His first bill was the Nigerian Agricultural Processing Zones (Est, etc) Bill, 2015 which was read for the first time on Wednesday, 12th August, 2015. The bill failed to make it past the committee stage after it was referred to the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Trade and Investment.
His second bill, the Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Bill, 2015, was a landmark legislation that was passed by the Senate and eventually signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The third bill sponsored by Senator Alimikhena in the 8th senate, the Chartered Institute of Capital Market Registrars (Est, etc) Bill, 2015 was also passed by the Red Chamber on 20th July, 2017.
Furthermore, two other bills sponsored by the former principal officer, the Environmental Managers Registration Council of Nigeria (Est, etc) Bill, 2015 and City University of Technology, Auchi (Est. etc,) Bill, 2017 were passed by the Senate.
His last bill during the 8th Senate was the International Institute for Excellence and Leadership Development of Nigeria (Est, etc) Bill, 2018, which failed to make it past first reading on Thursday, 6th December, 2018.
Outside bills, Francis Alimikhena, in 2018, sponsored a motion on the “Urgent need to halt the importation of palm oil and its allied products to protect the palm oil/kernel industry in Nigeria.”
He expressed concern over the increasing importation of palm kernel and allied palm products into Nigeria, describing it as a threat to the diversification of the economy. The Edo senator revealed that Nigeria had imported 450,000 tonnes of palm oil to the tune of N116.3 billion within the space of a year.
“With an ever increasing population, a steady decline in palm oil production, and a proliferation of the uses of various products from palm oil, it is an economic fact that there is high demand for palm oil in Nigeria”, he said.
Consequently, the Senate called on the Federal Government to ban the importation of palm oil/kernel, and inject funds to aid its local production.
His motion also led the Senate to call on the private sector to partner with state governments to embark on a revolutionary transformation of palm oil production and creation of allied industries through backward integration, while also directing its Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development to invite the Nigerian Institute for Oil Palm Research (NIFOR) to explain why it has failed to deliver on its mandate.
Alimikhena also sponsored a motion that called on the federal government to settle inherited local debts and contractual obligations on refund to state governments for projects executed on behalf of the federal government.
Twenty one states of the federation were identified to benefit from the N489 billion refund approved by the Senate.
Lagos State topped recipients of the funds with N114.6 billion with Akwa Ibom in second place with N78.7 billion. Zamfara State was scheduled to get N60.02 billion from the refund; Ogun, N59.2 billion and Anambra, N37.95 billion.
At the committee level, Alimikhena was active, chairing various ad-hoc committee of the Senate. He was the chairman of the ad-hoc committee that probed allegations of corruption against the then IGP, Ibrahim Idris, in 2017 after a senator, Isah Misau, accused him of diverting money meant for the purchase of armoured personnel carriers and sports utility vehicles and of receiving bribes to promote officers and populating the force with officers from his Nupe ethnic tribe.
Alimikhena was also the chairman of the ad-hoc committee that investigated the clash between officers of different security agencies on November 21, 2017. The Senate, in November 2017, set up the committee to probe the face-off between officials of the State Security Services (SSS) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in Abuja during an attempted arrest of former director-general of SSS, Ita Ekpeyong and that of the Nigeria Intelligence Agency (NIA), Ayodele Oke.
Furthermore, in 2018, Alimikhena chaired the Senate Ad-hoc Committee on Promissory Note Programme and Bond Issuance. The ad-hoc committee was tasked with critically evaluating the request made by President Muhammadu Buhari, seeking approval for the issuance of promissory note and bond to offset local debts. The funds were sought for the payment of owed pension arrears, including for former employees of the defunct Nigeria Airways.
In addition, Senator Alimikhena was the acting chairman of Senate Ad-hoc committee on New National Minimum Wage that recommended the approved N30, 000 as the new national minimum wage. His committee also proposed a fine of N75, 000 against firms that refuse to comply with the new minimum wage. They further recommended an urgent review of the revenue-sharing formula in order to enhance the ability of states to pay the new minimum wage.
Alimikhena’s extensive involvement with important ad-hoc committees in the 8th Senate might not be unconnected with the position he held as deputy chief whip of the upper chamber. It remains to be seen how he will fare in his new role as chairman, Senate Committee on Customs, Excise and Tariff in the current 9th Senate.