The Majority Leader of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila on Sunday, formally declared his interest in contesting for the office of Speaker of the House of Representatives
At the well attended event held in Abuja, the Lagos representative, who has won election back to the House for the fifth term, said his decision is hinged on his abiding faith in the greatness of Nigeria.
He said: “Let no one tell you otherwise. We are not where we ought to be considering the abundance of talents and the blessing from God. However, you can rest assured that slowly but surely we will get there.
“It is because of this unshakeable belief in the potential of Nigeria and the majesty of our democracy, that I, today (Sunday), after wide consultations with my colleagues, friends, family, party and stakeholders, and in total submission to the will of God, formally declare my intention to seek the position of the office of the Speaker of the 9th National Assembly and offer my service to the nation in this capacity.
“As many of you are aware, I ran for the same office just four years ago but it was not to be. Well, four years have come and gone and now we have come full circle.
“With all sense of humility, I seek this office with a rich legislative background and pedigree and having just won a historic 5th term mandate to the House. I have in the last 16 years dedicated my life to the service of my constituents and Nigeria. I have studied and understood the intricate workings of the legislature, a critical arm of government, and I have come to understand the imperative of striking a delicate balance in the relationship between the Executive and the Legislative arms of government without compromising the latter’s independence.
“Indeed, there is an essential need for a symbiotic relationship between all arms and all tiers of government if we are to make progress in nation building.”
The event was attended by about 170 lawmakers-elect across party lines, including three four aspirants for the office of Speaker.
They are Kawu Sumaila (APC, Kano), Mohammed Monguno (APC, Borno), Khajidat Bukar-Ibrahim (APC, Yobe) and Alhassan Ado-Doguwa (Kano).
Also present at the declaration are some prominent lawmakers such as the leader of Gbajabiamila’s campaign, Abdulmumin Jibrin, Lagos lawmakers, James Faleke and Rotimi Agunsoye; and some former principal officers of the House.
The PDP lawmakers were not left out at the declaration, with some of them speaking at the event.
They include Wole Oke (Osun), Iduma Igariwey (Ebonyi) and Jerry Alagbaoso (Imo), who all eclared their support for Gbajabiamila. They however asked him to reach out to more opposition lawmakers.
Oke said: “Gbajabiamila and I came to the House in 2003. We have worked together and I know him in and out. He has been to my office twice and to my house twice, to notify me that he wants to seek election as Speaker of the House of Representatives. He has honoured me and as a well-cultured person, I also have to honour him by attending this declaration, but there is more to this.
“Nigeria is at a critical period of our national life. This is a period that we should be considering issues. So, when we talk about national interest and issues, I can’t see anybody in the House that is more qualified than Gbajabiamila.
“We, from the South-West, we are giving you one of our best. I speak here as Hon. Wole Oke; and honestly, I will be with him all through.”