By Giwa Murtala Omotola
Its not a news again that leadership tussle of the ninth Assembly is the talk of town presently in every quarters of the nation. Nigerians are eager to know who will be their next speaker, numerous person’s has indicated interest in the Speakership seat.
Although, that’s the beauty of democracy because democracy gives room to contestation not imposition. Its better we have many persons indicating interest so that our ever prepared lawmakers will be availed the opportunity to pick the best and the most qualified among the contestants, than to have a single person indicating interest.
Realistically, most of those lawmakers that has indicated interest have some unique qualities in their own way but Gbajabiamila posses a distinct traits that gives him edge ahead of them all, he is very consistent and reliable, he is capable to lead the 9th Assembly as Speaker. This is a man that has always been actively involved in politics, even while he was in United States where he vehemently participated in the election of Bill Campbell who later went on to become the Mayor of the city of Atlanta.
Platonically, the National Assembly needs philosophical kings at the helm of affair, the House is in need of individuals that are intellectually sound, morally upright, the House needs leader that will help promote good governance and unite the House to stand firm as an independent entity. People like Femi Gbajabiamila should be encouraged and empowered to lead the House as speaker of the ninth Assembly.
It is a popular aphorism that Leaders are mostly made by God, some argue that leaders are made through service, experience and character as true as all these sentiments might be, I dare say that, Gbajabiamila is a quintessential leader that posses both supernaturally abilities, experienced and natural endowments with great penchant for excellency in all ramifications. Be that as it is, he is a honest leader with divinely gifted leadership gifts that can move the National Assembly forward, make it a viable House that will always supply voice to the voiceless citizen then make the country a great one.
Lawmakers need to get it right now to avoid future occurrence that may lead to unproductive representation and legislation, our lawmakers must ensure they vote for those that are credible and capable to pilot the affairs of the Assembly, support a leader that will safeguard the principle of separation of power, a leader that will unite the entire house no matter the political divides, a leader that is well experienced, a leader that listens to his followers.
It seems quite clear that the only most qualified and most experienced among those vying for the Speakership seat is Femi Gbajabiamila. He is the current majority leader of the 8th Assembly, he has served his constituents and the entire Nigerians selflessly through his motions and bills that is very beneficial to the people, his submissions on the floor of the house speaks voluminous about him, a very popular and dedicated legislator that prioritize the interest of the majority.
Femi Gbajabiamila was the first legislator to introduce a classic job fair titled “Lagos Job Fair”, the first of its kind in Sub-saharan Africa, the job fair brought employers of labor drawn from both public and private sectors which brings job seekers from the nooks and crannies of the country under one roof. Instant employments were given to meritorious candidates who are currently excelling in NAFDAC, SMEDAN, FIRS, MIKANO, Lagos Inland Revenue Service, Lagos State civil service commission amongst others. The Gbaja model was adopted not by individual again but by state Government’s because of the unalloyed success that was recorded.
Femi Gbajabiamila led the adhoc committee of the House that prevailed on the federal government to employ family members of victims of the 2014 Nigeria Immigration recruitment disaster and advocated for automatic employment for injured victims who were still alive, presently, most of the injured persons have all been gainfully employed.
Categorically, Femi Gbajabiamila had sponsored the highest number of Bills in the National Assembly amongst all the legislators. He has sponsored over 29 bills on the floor of the House of Representative. Some of his bills are, Employee Rights Bill, Local content in Construction Industry Bill, Vocational Schools Bill, The Economic Stimulus Bill, Interest-Free Students Loan, Establishment of Nigeria Education Bank Bill, he also fought immensely on the floor of the house for Federal Government to recognise the newly created local government in Lagos state.
Other bills to his watch are bill to criminalize the use of ‘estimated billing’ in the calculation of electricity consumed and to be paid for by consumers by Nigeria’s electricity distribution companies. The bill to criminalize “estimated billing” in the calculation of consumed and amount to be paid by consumers has gathered momentum. He also sponsored a community Service Bill to decongest prisons, the review became necessary to save the inmates that are not criminals but petty offenders involved in misdemeanours like wandering, hawking or trading illegally on the streets. The bill aimed to allow low offenders to be given a milder punishment than imprisonment. Making them to do community services would be of more benefit to the society than imprisonment. More importantly, it would help decongest nation’s prisons yards, overcrowded with awaiting trial prisoners.
Femi Gbajabiamila believe in decent and proper representation, he took an active part in debates on the floor of the House and was fast recognized as one of the brilliant legislator in the National Assembly. He was always on the side of truth and justice and his view actually reflected the wishes and aspirations of the people. He has been an asset to the house with his great presentation of issues and robust contributions to sessions.
His view was especially evident during the “third term debate” when he was chairman of the 2007 movement in the House, a group largely credited for ending the “third term agenda” and machinations of the then President Obasanjo to perpetuate his stay in office. He did this at great risk to his life and political sojourn. His exceptional record saw him overwhelmingly re-elected in 2007 and elected as Action Congress leader and Minority Whip of the House. He is also known for being the first legislator to reject a national honour.
Gbajabiamila also demonstrated his philanthropical gesture by doling out 30 new Buses, 25 Tricycles and 160 Motorcycles to his Constituents, which cut across the 9 Wards in Surulere 1 federal Constituency. The Community Development Associations, Youth Associations, Women Associations, Artisans, Socio-Cultural groups (Arewa, Igbo Coalition and South South group) and APC party faithfuls were all benefitted. The Legislator move was not only to show that he is an humanitarian and a renowned philanthropist but to make the beneficiaries have means of livelihood. Gbajabiamila is an advocate of reduction in cost of governance and the salary of legislators.
As speaker of the ninth Assembly he will ensure the independence of the legislature and harmonious relation with the executive and judicial arms of government, the principles of separation of power will be regarded. He is committed to lead the house to provide best-in-class solutions to critical issues affecting the nation at large and he will drive a solid plan of action for the greater and prosperous Nigeria of our choice.
-Giwa Murtala Omotola – Moore is a Political Scientist based in Lagos State. He can be reached at [email protected]