By Christiana Ekpa
The Majority Leader of the House of Representatives Femi Gbajabiamila, has declared his intention to contest for office of the Speaker of the 9th Assembly.
The 9th Assembly is expected to be open on June 6.
Gbajabiamila who represents Surulere 1 Federal Constituency of Lagos State, made the declaration on Sunday at the Transcorp Hiltion, Abuja where he promised to use his 16 years of experience as Member of the House and 12 years as a Principal Officer to strike a balance between the all arms of government without compromise for the progress of the Nigerian nation.
In his declaratory statement the former Minority Leader turned Majority Leader said, “I stand here today before you hopefully as a symbol of encouragement and a point of contact for many young men and women out there who believe that with hard work and commitment whatever the mind can conceive is possible.
“As a beacon of hope and faith and a testimony of the endless possibilities that abound in this great country. That you can be whatever and whoever you want and with focus, hard work and perseverance, the sky can sometimes be the beginning.
“I stand before you as a man with an abiding faith in the greatness of our country. 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 I rest assured that slowly but surely we will get there.
“It is because of this unshakeable belief in the potential and genius of Nigeria and the majesty of our democracy, that I today after wide consultations with my colleagues, friends, family, Party and stakeholders and in total submission to the will of God, today formally declare my intention to seek the position of the office of the Speaker of the 9th 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 has 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 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.
“In these 16 years I have been a principal officer for 12 years. I have occupied the office of leader of the opposition and successfully my party
from opposition to majority in the House and thereafter assumed the position of house leader, placing me in a uniquely advantageous position of understanding the nuances and intricacies of this very critical arm of government and the need to for its independence and at the same time interdependence with the executive.
“It is this wealth of experience and a burning desire for good governance that I bring to the table. A desire to take the legislature to the next
level standing tall and shoulder to shoulder with the most advanced legislatures world over.
“I have spent the last 4 years in doing my best to stabilize the House, whilst exploring and studying now how best we as legislators can unleash the full potentials of this country. I have taken copious mental and physical notes and its time for implementation.
“I have tagged my campaign NATION BUILDING, A JOINT TASK because the task is onerous and can only be completed if we all come together, in line with the legacies of our forebearers and the labour of our heroes past. Our Speakership campaign logo embodies logos of all political parties represented in the House (9thAssembly) and I 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 patties and Nigerians to this Joint Task.
“I seek the office of the Speaker to bring our tendencies together and unite us as country. I seek the office of the Speaker to bring governance
even closer to the people. I seek the office of the Speaker to mentor the next generation. I seek the office of the Speaker so I can use the bully
pulpit to galvanise Honourable members to make life more abundant for every Nigerian irrespective of tribe, religion background or political
“There is so much work to be done by way of legislation in many areas of our life including but not limited to education, health, power, infrastructure and alleviation of poverty. I believe many of these deficits can be addressed through meaningful and impactful legislation.
“Historically, the House of Representatives was established to be the People’s House and for the people’s business. It follows therefore that the Speaker must be the people’s Speaker elected to do the people’s business and champion their cause and in doing so fulfilling their hopes and
aspirations. This is the Speaker l intend and hope to be and the House I intend and hope to lead, a People’s House”.
Meanwhile, Bukar-Ibrahim, immediate past Minister of state for Foreign Affairs and a Member of House of Representatives from Yobe State, Mohammed Monguno, Member from Borno and Alhassan Ado-Doguwa, Chief Whip, House of Representatives have withdrawn from the race for Speakership and thrown their weight behind Gbajabiamila.
This is as all them attended and openly declared support for the House Leader during the declaration. While Monguno read Gbajabiamila citation and presented him to other Members, Ado-Doguwa spoke for Northwest Caucus and Bukar-Ibrahim spoke for Northeast.
Bukar-Ibrahim particularly announced the endorsement of Gbajabiamila by the Northeast Caucus adding that the decision of the party, the All Progressives Congress to back the House Leader remains supreme and must be followed by all Members elected on APC platform.