House Speakership:Femi Gbajabiamila Haunted By His Past

As the June 11 inauguration of House of Representatives draws near, there are strong indications that one of the strong contenders for the speakership, Hon Femi Gbajabiamila may face a Herculean task ahead as some of his colleagues have dragged him before an Abuja High Court to bar him from contesting.

The court was specifically asked not to allow the lawmaker to stand for the Speakership election, on the allegation that he was convicted for fraud to the tune of $25,000 which he allegedly failed to disburse to his then client in 2003 in Atlanta Georgia, United States, where he was practicing as a lawyer.

The plaintiff in the matter, Philip Undie, joined the House of Representatives, Attorney General of the Federation and the All Progressive Congress (APC) as defendants in the suit against Gbajabiamila.

In an originating summons marked FHC/ABJ/C/538/2019 brought pursuant to Order 3, Rule 6 and 7 of the Federal High Court and Section 66 of the 1999 Constitution as amended, the plaintiff wants the court to determine whether by a combined consideration of section 66 of the 1999 Constitution and the judgement of the Supreme Court of the State of Georgia, Atlanta, USA in Suit no. SO6YO829, Gbajabiamila is a fit and proper person to be elected to the House of Representatives and to the office of the Speaker of the House.The plaintiff is also praying the court for an order of injunction restraining the House of Representatives and APC from accepting the nomination of Gbajabiamila as an aspirant for the office of the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

He is also praying the court for an order of injunction stopping Gbajabiamila from parading himself as a member of the House of Representatives and also an aspirant for the office of the Speaker of the House.

The suit filed by Ayodele Justice on behalf of the plaintiff is however yet to be assigned to any judge.

A source quoted in the report disclosed that the plot might not be unconnected with a political storm gathering against the national leader of the APC and Gbajabiamila’s political godfather, Senator Ahmed Bola Tinubu.

Gbajabiamila, the current House Leader, is the front-runner for the Speakership seat, but the combination of zoning and godfather apron attachment is reportedly threatening his chances in the north.

Tochukwu Ohazurike, a lawyer , speaking on a current affairs program monitored in Lagos, described Gbajabiamila as incorrigible corrupt having refused to also pay Mr. Femi Falana, SAN, his professional fees after defending him in 2015.

Ohazurike maintains that Gbajabiamila is so corrupt based on his past and will be an anathema to his party-The All Progressives Congress whose mantra is fighting corruption. The latest onslaught against the political aspiration of Gbajabiamila is coming through the CUPP and African People’s Party have dragged him before FCT court on criminal breach and dishonesty. The APP said Gbajabiamila lied under oath in his INEC form between 2003 and 2019 that he has never been convicted despite the fact that the Supreme Court of Atlanta , Georgia  convicted him in 2006. The court directed that Gbajabiamila should appear in court on Monday June 10, a day before the inauguration of the 9th National Assembly where he is a candidate for the office of the speaker.

With this scenario, there appears to be a moral burden on Gbajabiamila, who is presently enjoying the support of his colleagues across the country to extricate himself of all the allegations preferred against him or step down his political aspiration.

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