As the race for the leadership of the 9th National Assembly hots up, a cheering and delightful news of a pact between two leading contenders to the office of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila and Mohammed Idris Wase came in.
According to the reports, the duo came to agreement to work together and instantly collapsed into one with the Gbajabiamila who represents Surulere Federal Constituency as the Speaker while Idris representing Wase Federal constituency as the Deputy Speaker.
This development is indeed a huge relief for the polity, as prior to the merger of the two leading contenders, the battle for the seat of the Speaker was becoming fierce with looming attendant collateral damage especially on the part of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC and by implication the country at large if our recent experience that led to the emergence of the outgoing leadership of the National Assembly is anything to go by. This is so, because both Gbajabiamila and Wase enjoy massive support from incoming lawmakers, as such any accord between the two groups lessens the possibility of a bitter and rancorous election that may result in producing an acrimonious, divided and unstable house.
The Gbajabiamila/Wase ticket has great prospects of ensuring stability in the House by galvanising majority of members towards working for the nation. While Gbajabiamila is a visionary lawyer whose passion for the greater good imbues him towards aggressive and somewhat impatient drive for excellence, Wase, an equally patriotic ranking lawmaker is however, calm, collected and measured in his steps, thereby revealing a tendency to ensure a tranquil atmosphere in the House, even in the face of a storm in the Green Chamber.
However, the fusion of the Gbajabiamila and Wase groups was not without a price as those opposed to it are hatching and spreading all manner of negative propaganda to thwart the pending success of the new group.
On the front banner of the propaganda is the laughable Muslim-Muslim ticket argument i.e. Speaker and Deputy Muslims. This argument is not new in Nigeria’s political sojourn, but worrisome is the motive and intent of such cheap argument as well as its divisive nature which remains a major impediment and albatross to the unity and progress of the country.
Lest we forget, Nigeria operates a secular political system and examples abound where members of same faith at one time or another led our national institutions. A case in point was when David Mark (a Christian) was Senate President and Ike Ekweremadu (a Christian) Deputy Senate President while Victor Ndoma-Egba (a Christian) Senate Leader and there was no outcry from Muslims. A similar scenario played out when Dimeji Bankole (a Muslim) led the House of Reps as Speaker, with Usman Bayero Nafada (also a Muslim) as deputy. There was no evidence that these leaders took advantage of their offices against the others.
As for those peddling the Muslim-Muslim ticket argument in order to stop Gbajabiamila/Wase, they need to be reminded that members of the National assembly or any other elective position in Nigeria are not elected on the basis of their faith or belief, therefore, those promoting religiosity in this matter should restrain themselves and join the league of those working for the greater good of Nigerians.
Nigeria and Nigerians have suffered enough of divisive politics as such it is time to allow the nation to benefit from the Gbajabiamila/ Wase agenda to change the current narrative about unemployment, rising insecurity, and engender good governance for the teeming citizens of Nigeria, through robust legislation.
Already, there’s groundswell of evidence that what is uppermost in the minds of Gbajabiamila and Wase is the setting up of a vibrant Legislative Agenda that will focus mainly on addressing some key issues that impede our national development such as rising spate of insecurity, steadily growing unemployment, which worsens the level of poverty amongst citizens, thereby exacerbating the security crisis and the ugly trend of fiddling with Local Government funds by state governors, thereby incapacitating the LG administration and denying grassroots development which was the sole aim of creating the third tier of government as the first point of contact with majority of citizens of this country.
Specifically, the proposed Legislative Agenda will outline the step-by-step efforts to be made by the relevant standing committees of the House to solve lingering problems militating against socio economic wellbeing of the country.
There is no doubt that Femi Gbajabiamila and Idris Wase have the required pedigree and cognate legislative expertise and experience to lead the 9th House of Representatives in a manner that will engender rapid socio-economic and political development of the country which is the desire of all well meaning Nigerians, friends as well as those who wish Nigeria well.
–Mu’azu is an Abuja based Journalist
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