“The Contest for the Speakership of this 9th Assembly is now over and it’s time to move on. Our country is presently confronted with a myriad of problems and it is our responsibility as members of this institution to set aside political, ideological and other differences that may distract us from the assignment the Nigerian people have sent us here to perform. Whatever political party each one of us may belong, we must be conscious of the fact that Nigerians are truly desirous of good governance and are looking to us to be the agents that will through meaningful legislation combat security, poverty, corruption and other problems and contradictions that have held our country back and stunted our development.”
Olufemi Hakeem Gbajabiamila returned to Nigeria in 2003 from U.S where positioned himself in the political affairs of Surulere constituency 1and constituents recognised they would be better served if he had a chance to represent them at the House of Representatives. His decision to delve into partisan politics and offer himself for service on the platform of the then Alliance for Democracy (AD) was to serve his people. Party leaders recognised his commitment to party ideals and worked with him to emerge 2003 victorious at the general elections.
He has demonstrated his true passion for issues concerning his constituents and Nigeria as a whole; he worked passionately to address matters of great concern to him and quickly earned a reputation as a true and brilliant legislator. Femi Gbajabiamila had sponsored the highest number of bills in the National Assembly amongst all the legislators. He was the first and only legislator to bring a motion on the floor of the House for the invocation of the doctrine of necessity, which led to the swearing in of Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan as Acting President then.
Speaker Gbajabiamila as the Leader of Opposition in the House of Representatives led his colleagues into the merger that gave birth to the All Progressives Congress (APC). Under Femi’s leadership of the APC caucus in the House, the party increased its numbers, earning them the majority. On June 8, 2015, House of Representatives speakership election, one of the events Gbajabiamila would be remembered for is his experience in the race for the office of the speaker of the House of Representatives. He had emerged as favoured candidate of the APC for the position of speaker, and with a majority in the House of Representatives; he was expected to carry the day. On that day former speaker of the House Mr. Yakubu Dogara and other “rebel” members of the APC slogged in with PDP members as opposition in the green chamber in hotly contested election. But this was not to be so. Gbajabiamila narrowly lost the election to the Dogara in an election which he described as an act of God. Due to his wide acceptance within the party and his members, he was overwhelmingly elected Leader of the 8th House of Representatives on July 28, 2015.
Although he narrowly lost the election to former Speaker Yakubu Dogara as he said it an act of God, after four years three days, he has emerged speaker of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila is a fourth termer and majority leader in the 8th House of Representatives after polling 281 votes out of 358 votes against Bago who got 76. Hon Olufemi Hakeem Gbajabiamila emerged as speaker of the ninth national assembly Tuesday afternoon June 11, 2019.
In his acceptance speech he said 9th Assembly under his leadership is going to be a House of reforms or if you like a reform assembly. The reforms will be dished out piecemeal and at intervals so as not to shock the system. Moving forward therefore my dear colleagues, it will not be business as usual and we will be shaking the table just a little. We will be introducing various reforms that will reposition this institution but please rest assured that they will be for the greater good.
Olufemi Hakeem Gbajabiamila was born on the June 25, 1962. He started his elementary education in Lagos at the Mainland Preparatory School at the age of four and proceeded to Igbobi College, Yaba, Lagos, in 1973 for his secondary education and graduated around 1978. After completion of his secondary education in Nigeria, he enrolled at the King Williams College, Isle of Man, United Kingdom for his ‘A Levels’ where he graduated at the top of his class around 1980.
Upon his return to Nigeria, the young Olufemi was accepted into the University of Lagos, Nigeria for a three-year LLB (Bachelor of Law) degree programme. He graduated with honors in 1983 and proceeded to the Nigerian Law school and was called to the Nigerian bar in 1984. To further his education, Gbajabiamila decided to go back to school, this time in the United States. He attended John Marshall Law School in Atlanta Georgia where he graduated top of his class earning himself a Juris Doctorate.
Dukawa writes from Kano.