Gbaja: I would have been speaker if APC didn’t lose some seats in Lagos
Femi Gbajabiamila, majority leader of the house of representatives, says he would have emerged speaker of the green chamber if the All Progressives Congress (APC) had not lost some constituencies in Lagos.
The ruling party in Lagos suffered shocks in some of its strongholds dominated by people of eastern extraction during the last general election.
Gbajabiamila, who contested the speakership position and lost to Yakubu Dogara, the incumbent speaker, by eight votes, believe the development in Lagos cost him the top position.
He described the Igbo as economically strong and politically sagacious, saying they were a force to reckon with in the affairs of the state.
Gbajabiamila was speaking during a luncheon he organised for members of the Igbo community in his Surulere 1 constituency.
“The Igbo are very important to Lagos because they are part of the state’s development as they control a substantial chunk of its economy,” he said.
“But they have also shown us during the last election, that not only are they economically strong, they are also politically important as a couple of them contested and won some seats.
“In fact, if the All Progressives Congress (APC) had not lost some house of representatives seats, a couple to some Igbo, I would have emerged speaker, because their votes would have counted.”
Gbajabiamila said the question of where people came from was fast becoming irrelevant as non-Yoruba speaking people were wielding political and economic powers.
The lawmaker urged all Nigerians, regardless of ethnic or religious backgrounds, to live in unity with one another.
He said the dreams and aspirations of the country’s founding fathers would be realised if all citizens put their differences aside and work in unity for the progress of the nation.
“Nigeria will be a better place if all Hausas, Igbo, Yorubas and the other ethnic groups see ourselves as brothers and work together for the peace and development of the country,” he said.
“Our being together in one country is not by accident; it is for a purpose. We must therefore support one another and strive towards achieving that purpose of a stronger, more prosperous nation.”
He said the greatness Lagos, particularly his constituency, had attained was mainly because of its multi-cultural status and the contributions of people from diverse backgrounds.
Gbajabiamila said he orgainsed the luncheon for the consistent support of the Igbo for him and to appeal for continued support for better representation.
He said he and the party would continue to carry them and all other tribes along in scheme of things not only in the constituency but also in the state.
Joe Igbokwe, publicity secretary of the APC in Lagos, commended Gbajabiamila for organising the luncheon.
He said his gesture had shown that the APC was a party that recognised the need to carry everyone along for a better society.
Igbokwe urged Igbo residents in the state to continue to live peacefully with their host and to do more for the state’s development.
Obulesi Phillips, chairman, south-eastern forum, advocated more inclusion of the Igbo in the political affairs of the state.
He said the Igbo had been age-long development partners of the state and so should be allowed more participation in its politics.