The choice of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the position of Speaker and Deputy Speaker respectively for the 9th House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila and Idris Wase got a boost on Tuesday with Ebonyi State governor, David Umahi’s declaration of support for the two.
Umahi, who received a 103-strong members-elect delegation at the Government House, Abalaki expressed confidence in the ability of Gbajabiamila and Wase to deliver an effective and efficient legislature in the next National Assembly.
The entourage, that was on consultation drive to the Southeast and Southsouth regions was also received by the Zonal Vice Chairman, Speaker of the States House of Assembly, the Secretary to the State Government (SSG) and host of cabinet members and elders.
While appreciating the consultation drive of the team, the governor noted that the time has come for Nigerian leaders to deemphasize party affiliation while in office.
The governor, who addressed Gbajabiamila and Wase as incoming Speaker and Deputy Speaker disclosed that some people had earlier spoken to him on the need for support for Gbajabiamila, also disclosed that the Southeast region must not be excluded by the center.
Saying that the visit was an honour, Umahi noted that the visit was the first that such a large entourage of legislators-elect deemed it necessary to seek his support and that of his State for a project such as that.
He said: “This visit is the first of its kind and that’s the way it should be, we should deemphasize party affiliation because it is capable of denying us the development we needed as we continue to define everything along that line.
“That is why we should pursue whatever that can tie us together”.
The governor said it is not difficult for him to know the kind of person Gbajabiamila is because of the relationships between them while expressing confidence that the business of legislation would be effectively handled in the Assembly if given the opportunity.
The governor admitted that he has come to terms with the political reality on ground that since the Southeast region does not enjoy a majority status in the legislature, it has to align with others for the realization of goals of national development.
He said: “I can assure you that there’s little the region can do but align with the majority but your consultation is welcoming because it shows that other parties have something to offer.
“People may want to ask what is in it for Southeast in all of this because key leadership positions have eluded the region, but I believe if you can’t beat them, join them because we don’t have majority and there’s little we can do if we pull out.
“We need to realize that Southeast is an integral part of this country and must be carried along. It takes two tango and we have a brighter future together”.
He, however, enjoined the team to be above board and always put national interest first when victorious.
“When you get there, let’s deemphasis party affiliation, let’s work for the country because no section can do it alone, we need one another for the survival of this country,” he added.
Earlier, Gbajabiamila said the visit was necessitated by the need to seek the governor’s support and blessing for the leadership contest being a detribalised leader.
While he assured the governor that the team would not let the nation down if successful, Gbajabiamila pointed out that years of legislative experience and dedication to national interest would aid an impactful 9th House of Representatives under his leadership.
“We are not seeking office for the sake of it but to contribute to nation building by using the legislature to better this country,” he noted.