The inauguration of the 9th National Assembly as well as the election of the principal officers is only a few days away from now. Members of the 9th House of Representatives sure have a date with history on Tuesday by ensuring that national interest is placed far ahead of all other interests. They must patriotically endeavour to elect for the House principal officers that have the capacity to deliver good governance, harmonious working relationship with the executive and sustainable development in the country. A viable and competent leadership choice has already been cut out for us and that choice has been endorsed by the majority members of the House. The manifestly and undeniably competent leadership option before us is Gbajabiamila- Wase. This is a leadership option we can trust to run an all inclusive House that will deliver on impactful legislation and accommodate the interests of all members of the lower legislative chamber across party lines. For the aspiration of Gbajabiamila-Wase, it has been a torrent of endorsements across party lines. This ticket has since been openly endorsed by serving and immediate past governors of both the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) and the leading opposition parties in the country. However, it is particularly instructive that the flood gate of was opened by President Muhammadu Buhari. The president had made it known at several forums that he could only work comfortably with Gbajabiamila.
The choice of Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila was not imposed on any member; it was willingly and gleefully embraced by the majority of members across party lines, even before the light of widespread endorsements was ignited by President Buhari. This aspiration has so far secured endorsements of a part of the PDP caucus and other parties. Without being immodest, I can humbly state that this aspiration is victory bound. The ongoing campaign of calumny on the person of Hon. Gbajabiamila, albeit an ineffective one, is not totally unexpected. It is however regrettable that lies are repeatedly being churned out by a few tantrum throwers to create an illusion of the truth. Meanwhile, the sad news for these mindless elements is that we the concerned actors in the House of Representatives have since made up our minds to swim and stick with the leadership. It is an open fact that he has never been accused of corruption and has no corruption charge leveled against him in Nigeria or anywhere in the whole wide world. What other evidence do we even need on the wicked allegation than the letter of exoneration written by the State Bar of Georgia, in which it was unambiguously stated thus: “There is no criminal conviction in the matter relating to Hon. Femi and he is currently an active member in good standing of the State Bar of Georgia”.
Of a particular importance was the endorsement and clarification made by the Kaduna State governor, Malam Nasir El-Rufai. He had emphasized the working chemistry that President Buhari already underscored between himself and Gbajabiamila. The governor had further cleared the air that it was President Buhari himself that chose him as the person he could work with in the House of Representatives. Mallam Nasir El-Rufai had also emphasized that the duo of Gbajabiamila and Wase deserved to be Speaker and Deputy Speaker respectively on account of being ranking lawmakers with requisite experience to effect the needed reforms and deliver legislative deliverables in 9th Assembly. The trust reposed in the leadership ability and national acceptability of its ‘Rainbow Coalition’ campaign slogan of “Nation Building: A Joint Task” must have informed why a major contender for the speakership, Hon. Abdulrazak Namdas stepped down and had since joined forces with the camp of Gbajabiamila and Wase. The torrent of endorsements could not have been witnessed if not for the fact of his being a very competent and dutiful lawmaker as seen in the last 16 years. He is a 5th term member of the House who had served as the Minority Leader as well as the Majority Leader of the House. He is a highly patriotic Nigeria and a loyal party man. What could be described as an icing on the endorsement cake was given by a senator-elect and former governor of Abia State, Dr Orji Uzor Kalu. He said, “You are not Tinubu’s candidate. It is a mistake. You were endorsed by the Commander-in-Chief and President. He told us in an open place, he told all members of the House of the Representatives and he also told all the senators. You have been endorsed by Mr President; you have been endorsed by the National Working Committee of our party; you have been endorsed by Progressive Governors; you have been endorsed by all levels of our political party and I have no regret, and I am not thinking otherwise in endorsing you as a person and endorsing you from our region.”. As things stand today, there seems to be no better alternative if we patriotically hope to rebuilding the economy and deliver economic prosperity to our fellow country men and women.
- Hon. Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo is the member-elect for Akoko North East/Akoko North West of Ondo State.