By Nicholas Kalu, Abuja
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, have described the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, as a bridge builder, whose works cut across tribes, religions, political parties and generations.
They spoke during the presentation of a photobook on the political life of the Speaker entitled: “Gbajabiamila: The Long Road” in Abuja at the weekend.
The book was written by the Speaker’s Special Assistant on Visual Communications/Personal Photographer, Ayo Adeagbo.
Osinbajo said: “He is an effective bridge builder across tribes, across religions, across political parties, and even generations. He has proved to be an innovative mediator and an honest broker in several local and national disputes and conflicts.”
He described the Speaker as one of the most resilient, resourceful and successful Nigerian politicians having won elections five times in the past 18 years.
The Vice President congratulated Adeagbo on a “seminal photographic biography” of his boss. “Ayo has proven to be a creative and faithful storyteller of the political journey of a charismatic and photogenic speaker. Ayo has proved to be a creative and faithful storyteller of the political journey of the charismatic and photogenic Speaker,” he said.
Represented by a former Lagos State deputy governor, Femi Pedro, Tinubu said it was not by accident that Gbajabiamila is one of the longest serving members, who is in his fifth term.
“He is a symbol of sterling leadership. An active promoter of the unity and the prosperity of all Nigerians and a bridge builder. He has provided and is still providing purposeful and inspirational leadership for the legislature.
“His leadership has fostered harmony and unity in parliament and among the various arms of government. The people of Nigeria and in particular, the people of the Surulere constituency in Lagos State are very proud of his achievements and his contributions to the development of our nation,” he said.
He praised Adeagbo for taking up the task of nation building in his unique way through the book that will serve as a piece of the nation’s history.
“The moments captured and memorialised have become a fundamental part of our history,” Tinubu said.
Senate President Ahmad Lawan also lauded the Speaker. He indicated that the lawmakers would pass the Electoral Act Amendment Bill, the Petroleum Industry Bill and amend the constitution within the next two months.
Lawan said Gbajabiamila had been supportive in passing legislation that would improve the lives of the people.
He said Nigerians would gain from the good working relationship existing among the two chambers.
He assured that Nigerians would witness “remarkable legislation” from the National Assembly within the next two months when the Assembly would embark on its summer vacation.
He indicated that the lawmakers would pass the Electoral Act Amendment Bill, the Petroleum Industry Bill and amend the constitution within the next two months.
He said: “I want to inform Nigerians from this platform that the next two months will witness very remarkable legislation passed by this National Assembly. The two chambers have worked so hard to ensure the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB).
“Equally important is to ensure the passage of the Electoral Act Amendment Bill and of course the amendment of Constitution. Between now and July, Mr Speaker, we would be on this long road and by the grace of God before we go on summer recess, we will pass these very important bills for the betterment and development of our country,” he said.
“We have a date with history that we have been given that opportunity, the trust and mandate to preside over the two chambers, we should not allow any opportunity by anyone to take us away from the mission of making this country better,” he said.
Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, Ndudi Elumelu, described Gbajabiamila as a statesman, bridge builder and comrade.
Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who also lauded the Speaker, said Adeagbo has proved that young people have initiatives and should be encouraged.