Early years and education
Born in 1959, Lawan completed his primary education at Sabon Gari Primary School, Gashua in 1974 and then enrolled at Government Secondary School, Gashua where he obtained his O’Level in 1979.
From there, he proceeded to University of Maiduguri where he obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Geography in 1984.
Same year, he moved to North Central State, Benue, to do his one-year compulsory service under the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC).
He later enrolled and had his Master’s degree in Remote Sensing from the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria and a Doctorate degree in Remote Sensing/GIS from Cranfield University, UK, in 1990 and 1996 respectively.
Before venturing into politics, Lawan had had experience in civil service and the academy.
Between 1985 and 1986, he worked in the Yobe state civil service, as an Education Officer in the Ministry of Education.
From there he moved to the University of Maiduguri where he lectured for 10 years from 1987 to 1997. He was employed as Assistant Lecturer 1 in 1986.
Then politics beckoned.
House of Reps membership
He kick-started his lawmaking career at the House of Representatives in 1999 when he won election to epresent Bade/Jakusko Federal Constituency of Yobe State. The lawmaker was elected under the platform of All Progressives Congress (APP), a party he pioneered as Vice Chairman of Yobe State Chapter. He remained a member until his re-election in 2003.
Elected still on the platform of same party in 2003, Mr Lawan was made the chairman of House of Representatives Committee on Agriculture in same year and held the position till 2005.
From Agriculture, he was appointed to head the Education Committee in 2005 and held this position till the expiration of the 5th House of Reps.
Off to the Senate
In 2007, he contested and was elected a Senator to represent Yobe North Constituency. This time, his party had transmuted to the All Nigerian Peoples Party (ANPP).
In 2009, as chairman of the Senate committee on Public Accounts, he initiated and sponsored the Desertification Control Commission Bill.
Still on the platform of ANPP in 2011, Mr Lawan ran successfully for a second term as Senator and was re-elected. His party later merged with others to form the now ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2014.
During the 2015 general elections, Mr Lawan now with the ticket of the All Progressives Congress (APC) successfully ran again for the Yobe North Senatorial seat and won..
2015 Senate Presidency
One of the events Lawan would be remembered for is his experience in the race for Senate presidency in 2015.
He had emerged as favoured candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the position of Senate President, and with a majority in the Senate, he was expected to carry the day. But this was not to be so.
On June 8 2015, the day the formal election for senate president was to be held, while majority of APC senators, about 50, were waiting for President Muhammadu Buhari who had invited them to a meeting with him at the International Conference Centre, Saraki and other “rebel” senators of the APC moved into the National Assembly complex, where the police had thrown a cordon to prevent workers and reporters from entering, for the “election” of principal officers.
A total 57 senators loyal to Saraki, most of them PDP members, unanimously “elected” him after he was nominated by Senators Dino Melaye and Sanni Yerima.
That was how he lost out but he would later serve in the leadership of the Senate.
How Lawan became Senate Leader
Two weeks after defeat to Mr Saraki, he again lost a bid to become Senate Leader despite the backing of APC.
Instead of him, the APC senate caucus from the north-east nominated Ali Ndume as senate majority leader and Bala Na’ Allah (Kebbi south) as deputy majority leader by the party’s senate north-west caucus.
But Ndume would soon fall out with the powers. He was removed as Senate Leader in January 2017 and following recommendation by the APC caucus, Mr Lawan emerged to replace him.
He held this position until the end of the eighth Senate.
Nigeria’s new Senate President
Just like in 2015, Lawan again emerged as party favourite in 2019. At first, he was poised to contest against two of his colleagues; Ali Ndume and Danjuma Goje, but Goje withdrew a week before the election day.
On Tuesday, 107 Senators-elect voted and Mr Lawan emerged as Senate President.
He got 79 votes to defeat Ali Ndume, his closest rival.