9th assembly and the clamour for Gbajabiamila’s speakership – By Abdullahi Mahmud Gaya

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Under the presidential system, the party that wins the most legislatives after election is designated “majority” in each house, and the other party is called the “minority.” The majority party holds the most significant leadership positions in both two chambers such as the Speaker of the House and the Senate President. In United States system of legislative procedures at the beginning of each Assembly, the members of each party meet to select their leaders by majority vote. Democrats call their meeting a “Caucus” and the Republicans call theirs “Conference. Next, when each house convenes in for its first session, congressional leaders such as the Speaker of the House and the Majority Leader are selected. Even though in United States there is no office of senate president so both United States Two chambers votes for its leaders, the majority party makes the real selections ahead of time behind the scenes when they select party leaders.

Despite our party All Progressives Congress stand on the leadership of 8th assembly but in clear defiance of party directives that the position had been zoned to the South west and north east. But than APC renege members with support of opposition party   played itself out with the emergence of Hon. Yakubu Dogara as speaker. Even though the contest was tough and even bitterly fought with all manner of recrimination and rancor from opposing camps after what the renege APC members does. A  mature Hon Femi Gbajabiamila accepted the outcome , he  served superbly and loyally as House Majority Leader co-operating and collaborating with previous rivals and contestants in moving the House Legislative Agenda forward.

Now as Majority Leader of 8th assembly, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila stands out as the most senior ranking member of the House with the defection of the House Speaker, Rt Hon. Yakubu Dogara to the opposition, PDP. Therefore in accordance with the hallowed principle of legislative seniority, Hon Femi Gbajabiamila deserves to be elected to the position of House Speaker in the 9th National Assembly.  Going strictly by the presidential system, the contestants from minority parties would have no choice but to abide by the rule of majority and even though they have says in the emergent of the speaker and FEMI promised them to be inclusive and we really needs them. In his effort to runs inclusive 9thNational Assembly  He have tagged his campaign NATION BUILDING, A JOINT TASK and Gbajabiamila’s Speakership campaign logo embodies the logos of all political parties represented in the House (9th Assembly)  saying he humbly invite each one of them to join me so together we can build a more perfect union. I seek the buy-in of all my colleagues, political parties and Nigerians to this Joint Task.

So far, Hon Gbajabiamila has sponsored the highest number of Bills in the National Assembly amongst all the legislators. Hon Femi Gbajabiamila is a first class legal luminary and has always remained in the vanguard of the struggle for the enthronement of rule of law and due process in the conduct of governmental activities and operations. Having being deeply involved in the pro-democracy movement that battled and finally ousted the military dictatorship in May 29th 1999, a feisty Hon Femi Gbajabiamila does not care a hoot whose ox is gored in the process of advancing the fundamental human rights of his people, as far as he is concerned all citizens are equal before the law; what is good for the goose is also sauce for the gender, the popular Gbaja surmises. During the unpopular third term gambit by the outgoing President Olusegun Obasanjo regime, Hon Gbajabiamila was in the forefront of the massive mobilization of democratic and progressive forces that sealed the fate of the third term promoters and their paid hatchet men in and outside the National Assembly.

In terms of leadership acumen, Hon Femi Gbajabiamila is a leader amongst leaders having displayed a high degree of vigor, rigour, foresight and fortitude in the course of his political and legislative outing for there has never been a day when the famed constitutional avatar was known or said to have lost his cool even in the face of provocation by members of the ruling or opposition party as the case may be. When he was the Minority Leader of the House during the period of PDP dominance, Hon Femi tirelessly battled the ruling party’s handlers and henchmen whenever he felt that they were severe infractions on the legislative and constitutional process occasioned by the arrogance and impunity of those in power.

In 2014, Gbajabiamila as the leader of opposition in the House of Representatives led his colleagues into the merger that gave birth to the APC. Under Gbajabiamila’s leadership of the APC caucus in the House, the party increased its numbers, earning them the majority. He always protecting the party interest, he played a pivotal role in protecting the interest of the APC, positioning it as a strong force, especially in the eight assemblies where the party suffered internal crisis that led to gales of defection.  While 37 members of the caucus dumped the party during plenary on July 2018, Gbajabiamila led the remaining members to reject the defection, while he hinted at taking “necessary steps” over the move which he described as illegal.  “People elected you on a particular platform to represent them. That seat does not belong to you; it belongs to the political party. Not only does APC remain the majority in the house it is still a clear majority. This leaves APC over and beyond what is required for majority,” Gbajabiamila had said.

The 8th assembly Majority Leader he has exhibited competent and highly experienced the above legislator are in their chosen endeavors so also has it become pertinent that in choosing who leads the HoR and by implication the National Assembly, collectivism, carriage, selflessness, brilliance and capacity might just be words but they must characterize the persona that aims to lead the 9th Assembly. And with all due respect to others angling for the SPEAKERSHIP position, Hon Femi has shown over the years to possess the priceless acumen needed to take up this task.  Another pivotal point that cannot be taken out of the FEMI is his political worth to his party, the APC.  He has manifested a sophisticated political capacity that only few can boast of.  The camaraderie Femi exhibits is one that’s pure and from the heart. No pretence! It is inbuilt in him; having mixed and interfaced with Nigerians from all works of life and so has become part of him.

Hon Gaya wrote in from Abuja can be reached at [email protected]

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