Hon. Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, a member of the House of Representatives representing Akoko North-East /North-West Federal Constituency of Ondo State, is the chairman, Forum of First-Time Members of House of Representatives on the platform of the All Progressives Congress, APC. In this chat, he spoke on national issues and why Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila stands a good chance of emerging as the speaker of the 9th House of Representatives.
In less than three weeks from now, the 9th National Assembly will be inaugurated. What are your expectations?
I expect significant and positive impacts of legislation on the lives of all Nigerians. I expect that the 9th Assembly will be a National Assembly that will do the biding of the common Nigerians and not one that exists to do the biding of any individual or group of persons. A legislature that will at all times prioritize the yearnings and aspirations of the citizens and conduct itself with distinctions and uphold best practices.
On the leadership configuration of the 9th Assembly
Majority of the elected members of the House of Representatives are on the side of Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila. It is no news that I, and a vast majority of the elected members are on the side of Gbajabiamila. Gbajabiamila is a fellow with the right capacity and pedigree. He has what it takes. He is a veteran in the game, a distinct personality whose moral and leadership credentials are outstanding.
The adoption of Gbajabiamila and Hon. Ahmed Wase from Plateau State as running mate in the 9th Assembly will bring great rewards to Nigerians.
Wase as running mate is another seasoned legislator with profound credentials whose standing will go a long way in complementing the leadership prowess of Gbajabiamila. We are rooting for Gbajabiamila in the best interest of Nigerians, in the best interests of the citizenry and with him steering the ship of the 9th Assembly, Nigerians can be sure of effective, responsive and responsible legislative arm of government that is sure to complement the good efforts of the executive arm of government under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari.
On allegation that he and members of his group were bribed at a meeting they had recently with Gbajabiamila
It is unfortunate that such ridiculous allegation could spring up from anywhere. It is quite unfortunate and sad that any person in his right senses would choose to fabricate and propagate such disdain for whatever reason. With all sense of modesty, it is the basest I have heard in a long time that elected members of the House of Representatives were bribed with iPhone to support a candidate for the leadership of the House. The fact is one of us, elected member who is involved in telecommunication bought and gave to each member of the group since we agreed on the need for a phone with some level of sophistry to enable a more effective interaction. The calibre of personalities aboard are not those who fall for anything. And it would interest you to know that the membership of our group cut across. In the group, we have members elected on different political platforms working together to achieve this noble pursuit.
The support we are giving Gbajabiamila is not borne out of such material pursuit. We are doing this in the best interest of the country and the people. We are supporting Gbajabiamila because he is eminently qualified to give the 9th Assembly the right leadership that it needs to deliver results to Nigerians.
Is your group not giving your support to Gbajabiamila out of pressure or in the interest of getting juicy legislative offices in the house?
It is easy for people to think of people giving support in this mould for the purpose of picking up positions in the House because that has been a trend. While it is not out of place to do so in political transactions, it is far from the reasons we have taken our decision in favour of Gbajabiamila. My group is driven by noble convictions to the effect that Gbajabiamila is such a wonderful personality that will make things work. So, our support for him is borne out of nothing than patriotism.
With the new move by the group loyal to Speaker Yakubu Dogara who are against the emergence of Gbajabiamila, do you think you still have the winning number?
In times like this, opposing forces are expected. But I can assure you that Gbajabiamila will emerge victorious in the end. It is a question of quality and capacity. As I speak to you, we are well prepared to ensure that Gbajabiamila leads the 9th House of Representatives. While I would not give you figures as to the number of elected members with us, I can assure you that the leadership of Gbajabiamila is an idea whose time has come.
Taking you back home, what should your constituents expect of you?
My people should expect a glaring difference in my capacity as their representative in the National Assembly. They should expect significant interventions in terms of meaningful bills sponsorship and other impactive socio-economic deliveries.