The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, was conspicuously absent at the International Conference Centre (ICC) Abuja, venue of the presentation of Certificates of Return to lawmakers-elect, by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Wednesday.
Gbajabiamila was re-elected to represent his Surulere 1 Federal Constituency of Lagos State for the 6th consecutive time during the just-concluded February 25 Presidential and National Assembly elections.
He polled 19,717 votes to defeat his closest opponent, Bosun Jeje of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), who scored 5,121 votes.
However, Leadership reports that the Speaker may eventually not represent his constituency in the 10th National Assembly as he is likely to be considered for the position of Chief of Staff (CoS) to the president-elect, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, in the incoming new government.
A source close to Gbajabiamila told the Newspaper that the Speaker, being one of Tinubu’s core loyalists and proteges and having worked with politicians from every federal constituency in Nigeria in the last 20 years, is more likely to be considered for the plum job.
When asked if Gbajabiamila will abandon his fresh mandate for the Chief of Staff appointment in Tinubu government, the source said, “That is what we are hearing. If you notice, he didn’t come for his certificate of return on Wednesday. The truth is that he doesn’t need that certificate, he has everything to function optimally as Chief of Staff to the President in the new government. He has worked with politicians in every federal constituency and across political divides in the last 20 years.”
When contacted, the Special Adviser to Speaker Gbajabiamila on media and publicity, Mr Lanre Lasisi, who confirmed that his principal was unable to attend the presentation of certificates of return ceremony, however, declined further comment on the matter.
“He was just not able to be in Abuja for the ceremony,” Lasisi said.
Gbajabiamila was first elected to the House of Representatives in 2003. Since then, he has won elections in the subsequent five election cycles. During his 20-year sojourn in the House of Representatives, Gbajabiamila served as Minority Whip, Minority Leader, and Majority Leader before he was elected Speaker of the House in 2019.
*(Courtesy, excluding headline, Leadership.ng)