By Ezra Odogu
President Muhammadu Buhari has said that he has no intention to subvert the constitution and the laws of the land to remain in office beyond May 29, 2023. The President who spoke through his Chief of Staff, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari at a special prayer session to mark the 60th birthday of the Speaker of the House of Representatives at Ansar-Ud-Deen central Mosque, Wuse 2, Abuja express commitment to ensuring a free, fair and transparent general election in 2023, insisting that has always been committed to credible elections.
While describing the Speaker as a patriotic Nigerian who has used his position to serve the country well, Gambari said “the message from Mr. President is to congratulate you on your 60th birthday. He also wants to urge you to continue to serve the country well. He said the House of Representatives under Gbajabiamila has ensured a good working relationship with the Executive arm against the notion in some quarters that the National Assembly should “be antagonistic to the Executive”, Gambari said.
Presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the 2023 Presidential election, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, also described the Speaker as a patriotic Nigerian, who uses his position to enhance good governance. Tinubu said “may God continue to give you good health. May He also answer your prayers. Only God will put us on the right path and continue to guide us through life to overcome the problem of leadership. May God give you good health to work for Nigeria. It is a complex country that you have to navigate through. May Allah in His infinite mercy give us the stability, the peace to govern; the love that we share for one another, the patriotism that will make us proud of our country,” he said.
In his message on leadership, good governance and tolerance, the Chief Imam of the Ansar-Ud-Deen Mosque, Dr. Musa Olaofe, said Nigeria is difficult to govern due to its nature. He said however that with good leadership, there will be good governance, urging Nigerians to be tolerant with one another for meaningful progress.
While expressing gratitude to the President and others present for their kind words, Speaker Gbajabimila said that he owed his political journey to God through Tinubu, whom he said the Almighty Allah used to uplift him and many others politically and otherwise. Gbajabiamila equally thanked his mother, Hajiya Lateefat Olufunke Gbajabiamila, who raised him in a good manner as well as his wife, Salamatu, who organized the prayer session. He expressed appreciation to his colleagues in the House who have been supporting and cooperating with him to discharge his responsibilities as first among equals.
Meanwhile, the Senate has lauded the Speaker on the occasion of his 60th birthday anniversary.
In a statement by its spokesman and Chairman, Media and Public Affairs Committee, Senator Ajibola Basiru, the Senate said: “The upper legislative chamber, Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria wishes to congratulate an outstanding achiever, an astute legal light, a man of exemplary social standing and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Right Honorable Olufemi Hakeem Gbajabiamila on his 60th birthday.
“Achieving this major milestone – a perfect 10, six times, over which you have attained calls for recognition and celebration; especially having achieved so much for yourself, the society and the Nation. Your services as an extraordinary law maker has been impeccable rising from being a member of the House of Representatives to becoming the minority leader, majority leader and then holding the prestigious position of the Speaker of the elite Assembly. Your being one of the two longest serving members of the House of Representatives also calls for all accolades that can be showered on you today.”
In his personal felicitation, the chairman of Senate Committee on Finance, Senator Solomon Adeola (APC, Lagos West) has felicitated with Rt. Hon. Gbajabiamila, as he celebrate their 60th birthday, describing him as a noted role model for progressive politicians across Nigeria.
“As a legislator, the Speaker of the 360-member Green Chamber has been instrumental to the development and deepening of our nascent democracy over the decades,” the Lagos West Senator said. While wishing him many more years of service in good health to their people, Nigeria and humanity, Senator Adeola pray for divine wisdom and God’s guidance for the celebrant as he joyously mark his diamond jubilee.
Similarly, the All Progressives Congress (APC) House of Representatives candidate for Amuwo Odofin Federal Constituency in Lagos, Prince Lanre Sanusi, celebrated Gbajabiamila on his 60th birthday. Sanusi described the Speaker as a strategic, consummate progressive leader with alluring capacity for human development. “Given the symbolism of the attainment of the landmark age of 60 years, especially in a life such as yours that has been exceptionally eventful and fulfilling, there is great cause for thanksgiving to Almighty God for your antecedents. It is a joyous moment to look back at 60 years that have been packed with personal achievements and involvements as a Speaker in the House of Representatives of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, a pro-activist, and a major progressive player on the national political scene,” Sanusi said.