The Leader of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila has set aside party differences in his bid to take over the leadership of the green chamber.
Hon. Gbajabiamila on Tuesday visited Ebonyi State Government House Abakaliki, to seek for the support and blessing of Governor David Umahi.
The current house leader, member representing Surulere 1 Federal Constituency, Lagos State was the 8th House of Representatives Leader and currently vying for the speakership position of the 9th Assembly in the election coming up on June 10th.
The House Leader in company of over 103 representatives including the Deputy Speaker aspirant, Hon. Idris Wase and his campaign director, Hon. Abdul Jubril, was in the state to solicit the support of the Governor and the House of Representatives members from the state to actualize his aspiration.
Gbajabiamila while speaking during the campaign visit said he has the experience to lead the House of Representatives more than any of those vying to lead the Assembly and called for the total support of the Governor.
Hon. Gbajabiamila, assured that if he becomes the Speaker in the 9th Assembly, he would work for the peace and unity of the country, pointing out that Umahi has become important because of his interparty relationship which is for the overall interest of the country.
“I’m here to seek for your support and blessing. Myself and my deputy Waziri, we have bagged experience that surpasses or that is on parallel plain with any other contestant.
“Between us combined, we come with lots of several years of experience in terms of the of the offices we have occupied.
“We are speaking not just for the sake of Speaker and Deputy Speaker, but of contributing or using the legislative arm of government to get this country to its proper place”, he said.
Responding, Governor Umahi, said even though the zone don’t have majority of the National Assembly members to produce leadership of the two Assemblies, South East must be remembered in top positions in the two Assemblies as integral and very important part of the nation.
He called on those that will be elected for the leadership of the 9th National Assembly to play down on party affiliation for a more united Nigeria.
Umahi urged Gbajabiamila to carry South East along if elected Speaker of the House of Representatives, assuring him of support of the zone. He called for true federalism in the country.
His words, “I believe that the more we de-emphasize party affiliation when we get to this positions, the more united the country is, otherwise, along the line, you begin to even see party on the division of religion, division of tribe, etc. and it is not helping us.
“Mr. Gbajabiamila, I am the Chairman of South East Governors Forum and people have been asking us in this National Assembly thing, what is there for South East? That the zone needs something! If you can’t beat them, you join them because we don’t have the majority of the House of Representatives and even if we decide to pull out, there is little we can do. But we keep at every opportunity to note that South East is integral and very important part of the nation Nigeria.
“And it is important that we are remembered, it is important that we are fairly treated, it is important that we are carried along. So, it takes two to tango, that all the sections of Nigeria are fairly treated to have a brighter and better future for Nigeria.
“We cannot be treated as before, Ebonyi State will need to feel the impact of your coming as the Speaker of the House of the Representatives and I can assure that with fair treatment not only to South East but to the entire country, we have to begin and a nation building is the job of everybody. Everybody is the product of the society so all should join hands to rebuild the society.
“I want you to note that true federalism is very important in this country and we must do everything to support it. It is important to note that as we are struggling to have a true federalism. There are certain agencies of government at the federal level that are drawing us backwards. The local government is entirely the affairs of both the House of Assembly and the Executive.
“I also support that Governors should remove their hearts from local government funds but in Ebonyi State, over 40% of the local governments cannot pay salaries. The other 60% are self sustaining. And if these local governments cannot pay salaries, it means we cannot pay salaries. So, we have always come together to be our brothers keeper”.