The All Progressives Congress (APC)’ recent electoral victories in the Presidential and National Assembly elections have signaled jostling for key government positions. Hon Femi Gbajabiamila is the House Leader in the 8th National Assembly. Below are five facts you need to know about him:
1. Educated in Nigeria, US and the UK Femi Gbajabiamila attended the popular Igbobi College in Yaba, Lagos and then proceeded to King William’s College, on the Isle of Man, United Kingdom. He also attended John Marshall Law School in Chicago, Illinois, United States and the University Of Lagos (UNILAG), in Lagos obtaining a Bachelor’s degree in Law. The 53 year old lawyer is famous in the Nigerian political environment since he joined politics and became elected to the House of Representatives in 2003, and re-elected in 2007 and then 2011. He represented the Surulere I constituency of Lagos State in the House of Representatives and was the Minority Leader of the House of Representatives in the 6th and 7th Assembly
2. Raised Eyebrows as a Lawyer in the USA Although he practiced law in Georgia, United States of America, before returning to Nigeria in 2002, Femi was sanctioned for professional misconduct and negligence. He does, however, lamented that the offence was committed by a ‘para-legal’ who failed to carry out instructions concerning the handling of a client’s $25,000. He, however, denied that he was charged.
3. No Shying From the Limelight As the Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila’s major legislative interests are the independence of the legislature and welfare. Hon. Gbajabiamila has shown that he has no fear of controversy, having stood against former president Olusegun Obasanjo in the latter’s third term bid. As an opposition politician, he moved a motion invoking the doctrine of necessity which allowed for recently-ousted President Goodluck Jonathan to become Acting President in 2009. He is also known for being the first legislator to reject a national honours award.
4. Long track record Hon. Gbajabiamila has sponsored 29 bills on the floor of the House of Representatives – the highest number by any legislator. Among these bills are ‘Nigerian Communications Commission Act (Amendment) Bill, 2013 to help track the usage of communication terminals by terrorists; Central Bank of Nigeria (Amendment) Bill, 2012 to help strengthen the nation’s monetary policy; Building and Public Infrastructures Protection Bill, 2011 with the objective to enable maintenance of public buildings and infrastructure and many more.
5. Interested in Reducing Cost of Governance Accountability advocates will find a listening ear with Hon. Gbajabiamila on the question of reducing the cost of governance by reducing the salary of legislators. The House member however questioned the often made comparisons between the United States legislators and their Nigerian counterpart, saying that the demands on the latters’ salaries do not measure with those of the former.