Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Femi Gbajabiamila has opened up on why he was not given a certificate of return by the Independent National Electoral Commission.
This is as he dismissed insinuations he is being considered as chief of staff to the president-elect Bola Tinubu.
Speaking to State House correspondents yesterday after a meeting of the National Working Committee of the All Progressives Congress (APC) with the party’s lawmakers-elect, he said the reason why he didn’t collect his certificate of return was because he was campaigning for APC in Lagos for the gubernatorial election .
He said, “I don’t know anything about that chief of staff thing. All I heard was that I didn’t come here last week to pick up my certificate of return and for that reason, somebody conjectured that I must be in line for the office because I didn’t care about my mandate.
“I was in Lagos and I could not leave Lagos because I was campaigning for my party. That’s number one. Again, it will interest you to known that I was not here four years ago to pick up my certificate of return from INEC because I couldn’t make it. I don’t think it is anything significant. I’ll pick up my certificate today or tomorrow,” he said.
On the meeting with the party leadership, he said “the meeting was to bring members-elect, both senate and the House together to assure members that inspite of all the odds against the party, we were able to overcome and we were able to congratulate everybody.
“On the issue on zoning, we did not talk about it because, we’ re not there yet. We have an election coming up this weekend. And we needed to make sure that everybody goes back home, roll up your sleeves, get your hands dirty. We’re not there yet so we need to compel the victory before we start talking about the leadership of the national assembly. The reason we didn’t discuss zoning is because we all agreed to tarry for a while until we finish the elections.
On his part, Senator Ali Ndume said the meeting ended well. That is what we are expecting from the party. We did an assessment of our performance and also go back home to ensure that we take the victory to the end. Nigerians have spoken and decide to elect APC and we have some ups and downs as usual in every electoral process.
“The party appealed to NASS members-elect to play down the leadership issues and focus more on ensuring that we take the election battle to the end and that is to ensure that we win our states. So the party has charged us and agreed that interactions like these should be frequent to allow us go in the same direction to avoid bad experiences of 2015 and 2019.
“The issues of zoning did not come up. The Nigerian Government now is going to be the National Assembly government because the President, Vice President, Party Chairman and Secretary are all senators. So we are going to have a rancor-free relationship.
“What we agreed is the members of the National Assembly should produce their leadership, based on who they think is the best and also considering the issues at stake and putting in place justice, fairness and equity. The president-elect will at the appropriate time take his decision”, he said.