Gbajabiamila speakership timely —Tunji-Ojo
Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo is newly-elected to represent Akoko North-East /North-West federal constituency of Ondo State in the ninth House of Representatives on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC). He speaks on the process to elect Speaker of the lower chamber of the National Assembly.
In about three weeks from now, the ninth National Assembly will be inaugurated. What are your expectations?
By the time the ninth National Assembly comes on board, I expect that it delivers to Nigerians a whole world of difference to the effect that there would be significant and positive impacts of legislation on the life of all Nigerians. I expect that the ninth Assembly will be a National Assembly emplaced to do the bid of common Nigerians and not one that exists to do the bid of any individual or group of persons. A legislature that would, at all times, prioritise the yearnings and aspirations of the citizens and conduct itself with distinctions and uphold best practices.
What is your take on the possible leadership configuration of the ninth Assembly?
A majority of the elected members of the Federal House of Representatives are on the side of Honourable Femi Gbajabiamila. It is no news that I, Honourable Bunmi Tunji -Ojo, the chairman of the First-time members of the House of Representatives and a vast majority of the elected members are on the side of Gbajabiamila. He is a fellow with the right capacities and pedigree; he has what it takes. He is a veteran in the game; a distinct personality whose moral and leadership credentials are outstanding.
It is on record that Gbajabiamila declined a national honour freely given by a former president in defence of his principles and political faith. He has the intellect and intelligence required of the exalted office. The adoption of Gbajabiamila and Honourable Ahmed Wase from Plateau State as running mate in the ninth Assembly will bring great rewards to Nigerians. Wase as running mate is another seasoned legislator with profound credentials whose standing will go a long way in complementing the leadership prowess of Gbajabiamila.
A Gbajabiamila-led House will surely be an embodiment of fantastic interventions in the areas of critical needs of Nigerians. We are rooting for Gbajabiamila in the best interest of Nigerians; in the best interests of the citizenry. With him steering the ship of the ninth Assembly, Nigerians can be sure of an effective, responsive and responsible legislative arm of government that will complement the efforts of the executive arm of government under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari.
What is your reaction to the allegation that your group members were bribed at a meeting you recently had with Gbajabiamila?
It is unfortunate that such ridiculous allegation could spring up from anywhere. It is quite unfortunate and sad that any person in his right senses would choose to fabricate and propagate such disdain for whatever reason. With all sense of modesty, it is the basest I have heard in a long time that elected members of the House of Representatives were bribed with iPhones to support a candidate for the leadership of the House.
The fact is that one of us elected member who is involved in telecommunication bought iPhones and gave to each member of the group since we agreed to the need for a phone with some level of sophistry to enable a more effective interaction. The calibre of personalities aboard is not one who will fall for anything. It would interest you to know that the membership of our group cuts across; we have members elected on different political platforms working together to achieve this noble goal.
The support we are giving Honourable Gbajabiamila is not borne out of such material pursuit. We are doing this in the best interests of the country and the people. We are supporting Gbajabiamila because he is eminently qualified to give the ninth Assembly the right leadership that it needs to deliver results to Nigerians.
Are you saying your group is not supporting Gbajabiamila out of pressure or in anticipation of juicy legislative offices?
It is easy for people to think of people giving support in this mould for the purpose of picking up positions in the House because that has been a trend. While it is not out of place to do so in political transactions, it is far from the reasons we have taken our decision in favour of Gbajabiamila. My group is driven by noble convictions to the effect that Gbajabiamila is such a wonderful personality that will make things work. So, our support for him is borne out of nothing than patriotism.
With the moves by a group loyal to Speaker Yakubu Dogara who is against the emergence of Gbajabiamila, do you think you have the winning number?
In times like this, opposing forces are expected. But I can assure you that Gbajabiamila will emerge victorious in the end. It is a question of quality and capacity. As I speak to you, we are well prepared to ensure that Honourable Femi Gbajabiamila leads the ninth House of Representatives. While I would not give you figures as to the number of elected members with us, I can assure you that the leadership of Gbajabiamila is an idea whose time has come.
What should Nigerians expect of the ninth National Assembly?
As I said earlier, Nigerians should expect an Assembly with a sterling difference. Under the leadership of Honourable Gbajabiamila, by the grace of God, Nigerians should expect an Assembly that seeks and works to improve on the quality of life of the citizens through impactful legislative interventions.
The people should expect an Assembly that exists to provide succor; one that would work round the clock to complement the works and efforts of President Muhammadu Buhari to make the country work and better in the interest of all Nigerians. The ninth Assembly will be a clear departure from the past experiences and be a referral for best practices and great deliveries.