Joseph Wayas

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Joseph Wayas
President of the Nigerian Senate
In office
Preceded by Military regime, then Nnamdi Azikiwe
Succeeded by Military regime, then Iyorchia Ayu
Personal details
Born (1941-05-21) 21 May 1941 (age 76)
Obudu, Cross River State, Nigeria

Joseph Wayas (born 21 May 1941) served as Nigeria's third Senate President during the Nigerian Second Republic (1979–1983).


Wayas was born in Basang, Obudu, Cross River State on 21 May 1941 and attended the Dennis Memorial Grammar School, Onitsha. He went to the United Kingdom where he studied at the Higher Tottenham Technical College, London, the West Bronwich College of Commerce, Science and Technology, Birmingham and Aston University, Birmingham. Returning to Nigeria, he worked as a manager or controller from 1960-1969 for several companies in Nigeria and the United Kingdom.[1] Wayas is a member of the Society of International Affairs at the Lincoln University, United States.[2]

Wayas joined the Federal Government in 1969-72. He was commissioner for Transport, South-Eastern State, now broken into Akwa Ibom and Cross River states from 1972-74. He was a member of the constituent Assembly in 1977-78.[1]

Senate President[edit]

When General Olusegun Obasanjo terminated military rule in 1979, Joseph Wayas was elected to the Senate on the National Party of Nigeria (NPN) platform and appointed Senate President. Wayas had an excellent relationship with president Shehu Shagari, ensuring that bills were generally discussed and agreed before being introduced.[3] Wayas used to play tennis with the US ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Thomas R. Pickering, afterwards taking Pickering to the State House at Ribadu Road to visit with President Shagari, a breach of protocol.[4]

Under Wayas's leadership the Senate summoned Tony Momoh, editor of the Daily Times, for contempt. This caused a major legal battle in which Momoh successfully argued that as a journalist he was empowered by the constitution to hold government accountable at all times.[5]

While visiting the USA in September 1981, Wayas was entertained by boxer Muhammad Ali, who threw a spectacular party in his honor. Ali had previously visited Nigeria and received red-carpet treatment.[6]

In the lead-up to the 1983 elections, Wayas was the leader of the NPN party's "Lagos Group" that supported a change of governor in Cross River State, in opposition to the "Home Front" led by the incumbent governor Clement Isong.[7] Wayas left office along with other members of the Shagari administration when General Muhammadu Buhari staged a coup on New Year's Eve 1983, and went into exile.[8] He returned in 1987 and was held in political detention, 1987-1988.[1]

Later career[edit]

Wayas was a member of the 1994/1995 National Constitutional Conference.[9] In 1998 Wayas was a founding member of the All People's Party. He later joined the People's Democratic Party in 2001 at the urging of Cross River governor Donald Duke.[10] He is a strong believer in true Federalism as the only solution to Nigeria's democratic problems, which had been manifested in the Nigerian Civil War.[11] In October 2003 he spoke out against the ongoing local council reforms by the Federal Government, describing them as "unconstitutional".[12]

Wayas was appointed Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the South-South Peoples Assembly (SSPA).[13] In January 2009 he described post-election petitions to electoral tribunals as senseless, reckless and time wasting.[14] In January 2010, Wayas advocated that Vice President Goodluck Jonathan be authorized to act as President pending the return of President Umaru Yar'Adua, who had been incapacitated by illness for some time.[9]


  • Joseph Wayas (1979). Nigeria's leadership role in Africa. Macmillan. ISBN 0-333-26295-6. 


  1. ^ a b c "Senator Joseph Wayas President of the Senate Federal Republic of Nigeria (1979-1983)". Federal Ministry of Information and Communications, Nigeria. Retrieved 2010-02-28. 
  2. ^ Kazeem Akintunde; Kunle Binuyo (17 May 2009). "In the News". Newswatch. Retrieved 2010-02-28. 
  3. ^ ISMAIL OMIPIDAN (February 9, 2010). "2011 Presidency: ‘Don’t rule out Yar’Adua’". Daily Sun. Retrieved 2010-02-28. 
  4. ^ HANK ESO. "Respect for public office and its confines". Retrieved 2010-02-28. 
  5. ^ Duro Onabule (May 2, 2008). "Senator Adesanya died since 2003". Daily Sun. Archived from the original on February 26, 2010. Retrieved 2010-02-28. 
  6. ^ "Ali Throws His Greatest Party for Nigerian Senator". Jet Magazine, v60. 10 Sep 1981. p. 10. Retrieved 2010-02-28. 
  7. ^ Eghosa E. Osaghae (1998). Crippled giant: Nigeria since independence. Indiana University Press. p. 144. ISBN 0-253-21197-2. 
  8. ^ "Nigerian Exiles Plotting Invasion". The Afro American. March 24, 1984. Retrieved 2010-02-28. 
  9. ^ a b NOSIKE OGBUENYI (January 12, 2010). "Mark, Bankole in survival battle ... Wayas urges caution, full acting powers for VP". Daily Sun. Retrieved 2010-02-28. 
  10. ^ Dokun Oloyede; Frank Kintum (2001-11-25). "Revolt of the 'Spare Tyres'". ThisDay. Archived from the original on 2005-09-06. Retrieved 2010-02-28. 
  11. ^ Augustine A. Ikein; Diepreye S. P. Alamieyeseigha; Steve S. Azaiki (2008). Oil, democracy, and the promise of true federalism in Nigeria. University Press of America. p. 468. ISBN 0-7618-3928-3. 
  12. ^ Kingsley Nwezeh (12 October 2003). "Local Government Reforms Unconstitutional - Wayas". ThisDay. Retrieved 2010-02-28. 
  13. ^ UBONG UKPONG (October 19, 2009). "You’re a confused liar, Clark lambasts Mbu". Daily Sun. Retrieved 2010-02-28. 
  14. ^ "Wayas visits Idris, condemn election petitioners". VANGUARD. 23 January 2009. Retrieved 2010-02-28.