Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, Majority Leader of the House of Representatives, has revealed how he almost dumped his House leadership bid after the contest was portrayed as a personal ambition instead of a struggle to ensure party supremacy.
Gbajabiamila, who spoke to journalists during an interactive session at the National Assembly in Abuja on Friday, said President Muhammadu Buhari and the leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC), however, declined his offer to withdraw from the race.
“A lot of people do not know this. But a long time ago, I saw the President, I saw my party, I explained to them that this thing has been framed to be about me. So I said I wanted to withdraw for the sake of the House and the country.
“I told them I would leave this thing in a heartbeat without even thinking about it and I will go and sit on the floor of the House without even accepting anything, not even chairmanship. I have never been a committee chairman or deputy, I have never even asked. So I told them, I have turned things down.
“But on principle, the President did not accept it, my party did not accept it and I thank God for the kind of confidence they have in me to be able to deliver the goods for the party. Who am I to say no? It was on principle that we stayed on course,” he said.
…Seeks official publication of lawmakers’ salaries, allowances
Meanwhile, Gbajabiamila (APC, Lagos), a former minority leader of the House for eight years, has called on the National Assembly to publish the breakdown of all salaries and allowances received by federal lawmakers to correct conflicting figures being bandied around by the public.
He said the official disclosure was necessary and was in line with the current campaign to ensure full disclosure of the activities or funding in all tiers and arms of government.
“Until you open up your books to the public, let them look at how much you earn, and break that payment down into sub-heads, and what that payment is for, it is after you open that up, that the debate on whether it is too much or too little can now begin.
“For instance, if you bring it down, say for transportation, this is how much a lawmaker gets, the public can determine whether that X amount is too much for transportation or not.
“But to roll everything up in a ball park…there are a lot of conflicting figures; you leave yourself vulnerable to speculation as a legislator if you are not transparent and you don’t open up your books. So I am for the National Assembly to open up its books to the public, publish it,” Gbajabiamila added.
Gbajabiamila was on Tuesday named as the Majority Leader of the 8th House after weeks of bickering among APC lawmakers over positions of principal officers in the Green Chamber.