Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has officially exited the leadership of Conference of Speakers of African Parliaments (COSAP), handing over to the Speaker of Ghana’s parliament, Alban Bagbin.
Similarly the Speaker, Thursday, handed over the Legislative Mentorship Initiative (LMI) to the National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS).
Both events held in Abuja.
“The Conference of African Speakers (CoSAP) was conceived amid a global epidemic that disrupted the global economy, redefined the nature of international relations, and took a terrible toll, as evidenced by the incredible number of lives lost, and families decimated.
“We still do not know to any degree of certainty from whence that devastation came. As such, we do not understand what needs to be done to prevent such a catastrophe in future. However, we know, and must never forget, that the world that existed before the pandemic is gone forever.
We also know, with an abundance of evidence, that in a time of global uncertainty, whether as a consequence of a rampaging pandemic or economic volatility, whether as a result of war or conflict or if the accelerating effects of climate change become too much to bear, here in Africa, we are on our own. Nobody is coming to save us. We will survive only by our own ingenuity, through the efforts of our own hands, and sustained cooperation with one another in the spirit of brotherhood”, Gbajabiamila said before he formally handed over.
On the LMI, he said it “was, for a long time, a dream deferred”, adding that “In June 2022, that long-deferred dream came to life when the program was launched. And in October, on a day I will never forget, we welcomed the first cohort of participants in the initiative. We have, since then, graduated the first LMI fellows, several of whom have gone on to try to contribute their quota to the Nigerian project in various arenas.
“When we launched LMI, we did not immediately recognise that a new consciousness was awakening amongst our nation’s youth. We did not see that a new generation of young people had emerged who recognised the role of government in their lives and were determined to have a say in the politics of their communities and their nation. The first sign for us ought to have been the magnitude of applications we received to fill a small number of positions in the first training cohort”.