Why Many Excellent Lawmakers Were Rejected in the 2023 Elections – Gbajabiamila

Why Many Excellent Lawmakers Were Rejected in the 2023 Elections – Gbajabiamila

During a recent visit from the executives of the House of Representatives Press Corps, Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila shared his thoughts on the last presidential and parliamentary elections. He expressed his belief that the outcomes were largely determined by sentiments rooted in ethnicity and religion, rather than the performance of the candidates.

Despite this, Gbajabiamila praised the Press Corps for their support and critical role in nation-building. He acknowledged that their contribution to the development of the country was immeasurable.

The speaker went on to express his regret that the last National Assembly election was not based on the performances of lawmakers. He described it as a hard-won battle for himself and his colleagues, with some being lucky and others unlucky. However, he emphasized that luck should not have been a factor in the election, and that it was about much more than just the performance of members on the floor or in their constituencies.

Overall, Gbajabiamila’s comments shed light on the complex nature of elections in Nigeria and the challenges faced by lawmakers in the country. Despite these challenges, he remains committed to working with the Press Corps and other stakeholders to build a better future for Nigeria.

“It was about religion. It was about ethnicity. It was about so many other things which I hope that as we develop as a nation, one’s election would be based solely, or at least mostly on his or her performance on the floor and in the constituency.

“That is what I hope would happen as we move along and that is why he mentioned the Electoral Act that was just passed. That is why I fought tooth and nail to make sure the Elector­al Act adopted strictly the direct mode for primaries because of elections. Even though at the general elections members lost, a lot of members actually lost their elections at the primaries, where their acceptance by the constituents was not put to test. What was put to test was what one or two leaders in their con­stituencies determined whether they were returning or not. So we lost a lot of legislators even at the primaries level, and that does not help our democracy.

“So hopefully moving for­ward, we would perfect that doc­ument, the Electoral Act, which many people have celebrated but still not perfect yet. Hopeful­ly, we would be able to perfect it. So I thank you profusely for all the support you have given us, myself, the leadership and the House. Over the years, the last four years, you are part of this institution and I have enjoyed working with. I would contin­ue to enjoy working with you. As many of you know, I would probably be a floor member now, which is how our democracy works. But being a floor mem­ber is not about what position you occupy but it is about what you contribute to law making and governance and I will con­tinue to do that irrespective of wherever I find myself.

“My colleagues have been very supportive. I have through no magic of mine but through the benevolence of God been able to hold the House together and hold my colleagues together, which in itself is a tall order if you follow the National Assem­bly over the years. Managing 359 other members is not an easy thing and I have always said that if you can be the speaker of the Nigerian parliament you can thrive in any organisation anywhere in the world. God has been so good that together with my colleagues, one has been able to do that. My hope is that who­ever comes in as the next speaker would be able to continue in that trajectory and build on the foun­dations that we have laid for the institution and even do better. So I thank you.”

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