SPEAKERSHIP: Gbajabiamila emergence, a spit in the Face of Nigerians
-Coalition of Public Interest Lawyers and Advocates (COPA)
Pelumi Olajengbesi Esq
Convener, Coalition of Public Interest Lawyers and Advocates in a press release on Wednesday, June 5, 2019, said Nigerians were treated to a classic case of political masturbation, when the touted candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, Femi Gbajabiamila, choose to spit in their faces, rather than respond to the weighty issue of sundry allegations against him.
For several weeks now, Gbajabiamila has been assailed with mounting cases of a prior conviction, dishonesty, identity theft, different birth dates, and most recently, perjury.
But, perhaps, in tandem with it’s public image of fighting corruption with insecticides, when it concerns an opposition party member, and deodorant when the offender belongs to the APC(apologies to Senator Shehu Sani), virtually all the top echelon of the party have continued to look the other way.
Even Gbajabiamila adopted the same whimsical attitude, until a combination of civil society, opposition political parties and citizen outcry compelled him to promise a “World Press Conference” during which he would tackle the issues.
It was, therefore, with utmost shock that come D-day, instead of having Gbajabiamila mount the rostrum, a motley crowd of APC lawmakers gathered at the elitist Transcorp Hilton, to instead trifle with the issues.
For starters, what is at stake here is not a search for an APC speaker, but one for the Federal Republic of Nigeria. This presupposes, therefore, that the consequences of a wrong selection will hurt and haunt not only lawmakers but Nigeria, and Nigerians.
The hallowed institution of the House of Representatives is bigger than any one individual’s interest, and as such issues concerning it cannot be treated in an offish manner.
In deed, what is at stake here is the personal integrity questions hovering over an individual, and instead of brutally confronting same, he elects to send his campaign head to attempt to pull wools over the eyes of Nigerians.
Besides being ethically challenged himself, as the discredited former chairman of the House of Representatives committee on Appropriation at the center of the budget padding saga, as well as a frequent guest of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Hon. Abdulmumuni Jibrin does not have the nexus to speak on the issues.
Was he speaking as Gbajabiamila’s attorney, an accomplice, or merely as a colleague and friend?
Under whatever guise he may have deployed, Jibrin cannot in good conscience deny infractions he was not privy to at the time they were committed.
Notably, Hon.Gbajabiamila is alive and well, yet since the entire saga began, he has refused to talk to the issues. Pray, are we gunning for a Speaker who cannot speak on issues concerning his personal integrity? How then can he be expected to truly speak on our behalf as a people.
In fact, because his proxy lacks proper understanding of what is at stake, critical issues bothering on perjury, dishonesty, professional misconduct and conviction by the Supreme Court of Georgia were derisively dismissed by simply referring Nigerians to a book if they are in need of answers. The same self indicting book that illustrated how Hon. Gbajabiamila and his friends tried “unsuccessfully” to raise funds for his campaigns back in 2003, only to come by a client’s $25,000 a week after, converted same to his use, closed his office and fled to Nigeria.
Perhaps, to show how unprepared they were, after reading from a self-adulating text, Hon.Jibrin and his troupe of cheer leaders promptly brought the session to an end, chorusing, “no questions please, no questions please.”
By taking this stance, the Gbajabiamila group has not only left the nagging issues unanswered; they, in fact, only succeeded in further casting a huge question mark on the integrity of the fellow they want to foist as the No.4 citizen of Nigeria.
As a coalition of public spirited officers in the temple of justice, we insist that nobody should be allowed to put his personal integrity at stake, least of all the image of Nigeria and Nigerians for a man who has falsified his age, his name and adopted the social security number of a dead American, in addition to other weighty allegations.
We, therefore, call on President Mohammadu Buhari to live up to his reckoning as an anti corruption czar, by causing the nation’s security agencies to undertake an indepth investigations into the Hon.Femi Gbajabiamila saga, so as to prevent the country from wilfully embracing a reputational crisis even before the 9th Assembly takes off.
For us, we shall keep our eyes on the ball, until such a time when the will of the people, rather than the craving of a godfather, is done.
We invite the mass media to join in this crusade, if for nothing else, in the national interest.