OrderPaperToday – After a failed attempt in 2015, Femi Gbajabiamila who is representing Surelere 1 Federal constituency of Lagos State, has been elected speaker of the House of Representative.
Gbajabiamila was first elected into the House of Representatives in 2003 under the platform of the Alliance for Democracy (AD). The trained lawyer has remained in the House since that time up till now.
Early life and education…
Gbajabiamila was born on the 22nd of June, 1962. He attended Igbobi College, Lagos from 1973-1978 for his secondary school education. Upon his graduation, he proceeded to King Williams College, Isles of Man for ‘his A Level’
For his university degree, he attended University of Lagos and graduated in 1983 and was called to the Nigerian Bar in 1984.
Gbajabiamila practiced law at the prestigious law firm of Bentley, Edu and Co, before setting up his law firm, known as Femi Gbaja and Co.
He moved to United States of America where he attended John Marshal Law School in Atlanta, Georgia and was called to the State of Georgia bar in 2001. He continued to practice law till his return to Nigeria in 2003.
Prior to and after his election into the House of Representatives in 2003, Gbajabiamila was a member of the opposition bloc led by Bola Tinubu, then Governor of Lagos. He was expectedly, a prominent critic of then President Olusegun Obasanjo, especially on the withholding of Lagos state local government fund by the Obasanjo administration.
The lawmaker was re-elected into the House in 2007 under the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN). Gbajabiamila was re-elected in 2011 under the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and served as Minority leader of the House. He played a leading role in the rebellion that paved way for Speaker Aminu Tambuwal to emerge against the choice of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) at the time. He also supervised the decamping of several PDP members in the build up to the emergence of All Progressive Congress (APC).
In 2015, Gbajabiamila was favored by the party as the Speaker of the House. However, just like when he helped PDP rebels to go against their party, he was also rebelled against by members of his own party. He was defeated by Yakubu Dogara, but was subsequently selected by his party as Majority Leader of the 8th assembly.
In 2019, Gbajabiamila won his re-election for the 5th time and was endorsed again by his party and President Muhammadu Buhari as Speaker of the 9th assembly. He appointed Abdulmummin Jibrin, the same man that spearheaded his defeat in 2015, as his campaign Director General.
Georgia-gate – Over the years, an allegation that Gbajabiamila was convicted for fraud has refused to go away. Sahara Reporters in an exclusive report had claimed that Gbajabiamila was convicted of fraud. The report said: ”Femi Gbaja, as he was known in the case file accepted payment $25,000 as a personal injury claims and deposited those funds in his attorney trust account in January 2003. He failed to disburse the funds to his client; instead he withdrew the funds, closed his practice and left for Nigeria where he ran for elections to represent Surulere I Federal Constituency in the Federal House of Representative under the banner of Alliance for Democracy (AD) in 2003. Upon arrival in Nigeria, curiously, Mr. Femi Gbaja added another name to avoid detection, he is known in Nigeria with a compound name “Femi Gbaja-Biamila”
However, Gbajabiamila’s team denied the story, stating that he has never been convicted before by any court.
G-wagon as birthday gift and $25,000 gucci suit – Birthday celebration and display of affection ended up in public relations nightmare as the then Leader of the House came under public scorn for buying a G-wagon Mercedes Benz for his wife, Salamatu, to mark her birthday. In a video released by Dele Momodu, Gbajabiamila dressed in Gucci suite, was heavily criticized. His explanation of having saved for several years to acquire the luxurious vehicle, further subjected him to more ridicule.
Bills and legislative achievements…
In the immediate past assembly, Gbajabiamila sponsored 12 bills, notably: the physically challenged amendment bill, electric power sector reforms act bill, workman (unpaid wages prohibition) bill, among several others which earned him acclaim.