The 2023 presidential election is exactly 13 months away but the polity is astir as if the election will be held in a matter of weeks.
As many politicians have identified their interest but yet to declare their intentions, indications are that the serving speaker of the house of representative, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila may return to Lagos to contest as the governor in 2023.
Although the speaker had stated in a recent interview with Channels Television that gubernatorial aspiration is not in his “immediate plan”, as Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu is doing well, so far, sources close to the national assembly had stated that the zoning system and the permutation in the table by the cabal and other political interest in positioning the speaker to be the next governor in Lagos.
On paper, the zones laying strong claims to the presidency and angling to produce the next president are the South-East, South West and South-South.
Although some political bigwigs from the North-East and North-West are considered to be interested in the nation’s topmost job from the ruling APC, they are yet to make their intentions known even though underground consultations are ongoing.
These permutations are however not in favour of the speaker if he must stay back in the legislative arm of the government. The zoning formula that was shared online recently, it shows that when the presidency is zoned to the south, the senate and speaker will be shared between the North West, northeast and north-central. This means that the Rt. Hon Femi Gbajabiamila either returns to the house as a floor member or return to Lagos to be the governor.
It is an open secret that Gbajabiamila is one of the loyal boys of Asiwaju, who has been in the system for close to 20 years and has been a reliable confidant of Jagaban and also shares his collective politics of inclusion.
Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila was also once quoted as saying that many people owe their successes to the magnanimity and accommodating nature of the All Progressives Congress (APC) National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
President of the Senate, Ahmed Lawan, also once described Femi Gbajabiamila, as a patriotic Nigerian and a dogged fighter for the interest of the country.
While it is not certain whether Gov. Sanwo-Olu will return as Lagos governor come 2023, it is certain that Femi Gbajabiamila’s speakership slot will not be renewed for the 10th assembly. Femi Gbajabiamila has paid his dues as a Lagos boy and as a lawmaker whose constituency enjoys his representation via his many developmental projects and youth empowerment programs that has been sustained for over a decade.
While in the house, he is seen as one of the most resolute and articulate lawmakers who speak truth to power. As a minority leader, he has stood against countless proposed policies which he feels do not serve the interest of the majority of people he represents and has equally sponsored many people-oriented bills which evidently propelled development on all fronts.
There is no doubt that he is fit for the spot should he bow to the pressure. He is a true Lagos boy.
He was born on 25th June 1962 to the family of Mr and Mrs Lateef Gbajabiamila and Olufunke Gbajabiamila in Lagos. He attended Mainland Preparatory School for elementary education and Igbobi College in 1973 where he completed his secondary education. Subsequently, he enrolled at King William’s College on the Isle of Man, the United Kingdom for his A-Level. He was accepted into the University of Lagos, Nigeria. He graduated with a Bachelor of Law (LL.B.) with honours in 1983 and was called to the Nigerian bar in 1984.
He first worked for the law firm, Bentley Edu & Co., in Lagos, before establishing his own law firm, Femi Gbaja & Co. He then earned his Juris Doctor from Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School in Georgia, USA, passed the Georgian bar exam in 2001, and set up a law firm in Atlanta. While in the USA, he actively participated in the election of Bill Campbell who later went on to become Mayor of Atlanta.
News has it that it was Pa Ayo Adebanjo who encouraged him to come to Nigeria and join politics in 2002. In fact, Pa Adebanjo told city people he told Gbajabiamila to come home and contest for governor.
“I muted the idea to him and he embraced it. In fact, I told him to come and contest for governor. Because he’s intelligent. He’s very smart and well-groomed.
He came back to Nigeria and just as advised, he joined the AD, but suddenly the interest changed. I came back to Nigeria and saw that he has been convinced to reconsider his ambition and settle for the Legislative arm”, he said.
Gbajabiamila was elected to the House of Representatives in 2003 and re-elected in 2007. He represents the Surulere I constituency of Lagos State, and he has remained in the green chamber since then.
Honourable Femi Gbajabiamila has shown over the years that he is committed to the development of his constituency and the numerous constituents that voted him into office. The sheer number of constituency projects that he has embarked upon since his ascendance to the Speakership position has led to insinuations that he is gearing up to contest for the governorship position of Lagos State in the next general elections.
In a matter of months, the veil of doubt shall be flung open and we will all know who goes where.
Joseph Seun Emmanuel