Home Opinion Gbajabiamila And His Vindictive Dictatorship Rule Of Silencing | Musa Mustapha

Gbajabiamila And His Vindictive Dictatorship Rule Of Silencing | Musa Mustapha

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Hon. Shina Peller, the Federal House of Representatives member representing Iseyin/Itesiwaju/Iwajowa/Kajola Federal Constituency in Oyo State made the news in a controversial manner a couple of weeks ago when he walked out of a house session after an argument with the Speaker, House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, representative of Surulere I constituency of Lagos State. Since the video ‘broke’ the internet, tongues have not stopped wagging at the perceived conduct of Peller, Chairman Aquila Group of Companies and Club Quilox.

Unfortunately, a video like that not only gives its viewers a half-baked idea of events leading up to that moment, it also misinforms people in a way that shows the ignorance of many about what true governance should look like.

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Power, they say, corrupts absolutely. But leaders are not expected to be vindictive people, especially elected ones. Barely minutes after Joe Biden became America’s president-elect, he made a bold move by tweeting, “…I promise you this: I will be a President for all Americans — whether you voted for me or not.”

This tweet calmed a lot of framed nerves because the time after an election at whatever level can be a chaotic one. All parties involved are not sure what to expect from the new leader – it is a gamble.

Nigeria is a democracy, and unlike the animals at the farm in George Orwell’s popular 1945 book, ‘Animal Farm’, no one is more important than the other; at least that is the way it should be. Hon. Gbajabiamila’s recent display of high-handedness, simply because of his status as a leader of Nigerian representatives shows a character flaw not worthy of a leader. This has led many to speculate a deeper rift going on in the mind of Hon. Gbaja.

House of Reps activities are not necessarily privy to the public, but as it stands, the happenstances of the last couple of weeks have caused many to speculate that Hon. Peller was one of those who did not vote Gbajabiamila as Speaker of the ninth House of Representatives.

Irrespective of whatever happened, after elections, it is the general and acceptable form to simply proceed with nation-building and effective leadership, while letting the past go. This is also because both Hon. Gbajabiamila and Peller were both elected on the platform of the All Progressives Party (APC).

The constitution under which the Nigerian democracy operates gives power to the people and allows for three arms of government: the executive, judiciary and legislature. The legislators, while one of the most powerful, cannot be allowed to be absolute in their power. It is for this reason that they are carefully handpicked and elected by the people of their federal constituencies. Their duty is therefore to the people that have elected them. Why then should one representative deny another the opportunity to air his constituent’s voices and represent his people over a matter that could degenerate into national crisis?

On several occasions, SP (as Peller is fondly called) had made attempts to engage the speaker outside the house and even though Hon. Gbaja sometimes grants such audience, he thereafter continues to ignore the honourable SP. With the EndSARS protests, which genuinely emanated from the entertainment industry, getting to a head, SP decided to make a move as a primary member of the entertainment community and voice of the entertainment constituency in the house.

Following several fruitful meetings, which have been confirmed by entertainment industry stakeholders, meetings which took place at different times, locations, and through diverse channels, including the protest grounds at Lekki Toll Gate where SP engaged many of the protesters to find solace in the National Assembly, which is the people’s arm of Government as the only tool to engage the Government.

Confirmed reports of the meetings further revealed that it was decided at one of the meetings that SP would be moving a Motion of Urgent Public Importance the following day, alongside other young parliamentarians in the House of Reps towards giving them the required support to regain trust in the government to achieve their aims.

Unfortunately, every opportunity for SP to inform the speaker about the details of the meeting was deliberately ignored. His intentions were likely to give the Speaker notice that there was a rare opening and an opportunity to forestall any crisis. A major Nigerian daily newspaper had also published SP and others’ intention to move the motion, but it never happened. Many have confirmed that efforts on SP’s part to see Hon. Gbaja proved abortive until an opportunity presented itself.

Findings also revealed the conversation he had with the speaker where he expressly told him that the entertainment industry is his primary constituency, and that he (Peller) has quite the pull with stakeholders in the industry, thereby possessing the ability to swiftly resolve the protest situation peacefully. Unexpectedly, Hon Gbaja waved it off again claiming that all was well. In the chamber, on October 14 when plenary started, Hon Gbaja again deliberately skipped the Motion of Urgent Public Importance, going against house protocols.

The refusal of Hon. Gbaja to allow the motion be moved caused aspersions to be cast at the person of SP, but as a gentleman and a Nigerian with good intentions, he took it all in stride as he continued on his quest for peace. Efforts to discuss Hon. Peller’s peace approach during an executive session failed, even after SP had a phone conversation with the speaker when he was at the protest ground in Lagos on October 19, where they reached some agreement that the matter would be discussed on the floor of the House.

The repeated sidelining of Hon. Peller, a duly elected representative, which thereafter led to his outburst is a direct indicator of the injustices being doled out by the Speaker, Hon.

Gbajabiamila.

Hon. Gbajabiamila is a mere representative just like Hon. Peller and he only presides over the house sessions simply because he was elevated at the convening of the house. It is therefore unlawful and unconstitutional to deliberately work to silence such a representative whose ideas and strategies could have prevented the loss of lives, chaos and anarchy that ensued following the deterioration of the EndSARS protests.

Musa Mustapha writes from Ikeja

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