Femi Gbajabiamila, speaker of the house of representatives,
says ethnicity and religion influenced the February 25 general election.
Gbajabiamila spoke on Tuesday when a delegation of the house
of representatives press corps led by Grace Ike visited him at his office in
He said lawmakers reelected are “lucky” because the election
was not about performance but “ethnicity and religion”.
“It was a hard-won battle not just for me but for many of
our colleagues on the floor there,” he said.
“All 360 of us — many
were unlucky. Some were lucky. I used the word ‘lucky’ deliberately because
this election was not as it should be, not so much about the performance of
members whether on the floor or in their constituencies.
“It was about a lot of other things. It was about religion.
It was about ethnicity. It was about so many other things which I hope that as
we develop as a nation, one’s election would be based solely, or at least
mostly, on his or her performance on the floor and in the constituency.”
‘WE’LL WORK TO
PERFECT ELECTORAL ACT’
Gbajabiamila said lawmakers will work to “perfect” the 2022
In 2022, several lawmakers failed in their bids to secure
their party’s ticket in the primary election.
The senate and house of representatives had adopted
compulsory direct primaries for political parties in the 2022 Electoral Bill
but President Muhammadu Buhari declined assent to the proposed law.
While rejecting the bill, Buhari said adopting compulsory
direct primaries “violates the spirit of democracy”.
The clause was later deleted by the national assembly before
the president signed the bill into law.
During the consideration of the bill at the “committee of
the whole”, Gbajabiamila was among the lawmakers who supported that direct
primaries for political parties be adopted.
Gbajabiamila said he “fought tooth and nail to make sure the
Electoral Act adopted strictly the direct mode for primaries because of
“Even though at the general elections members lost, a lot of
members actually lost their elections at the primaries, where their acceptance
by the constituents was not put to test,” he said.
“What was put to test
was what one or two leaders in their constituencies determined whether they
were returning or not. So we lost a lot of legislators even at the primaries
level, and that does not help our democracy.
“So hopefully moving forward, we would perfect that
document, the Electoral Act, which many people have celebrated but still not
“Hopefully, we would
be able to perfect it.”
Gbajabiamila thanked the house of representatives press
corps for “all the support” enjoyed by the lower legislative chamber and
leadership of the house.
In her remarks, Ike, chairperson of the corps, commended
Gbajabiamila for the passage of the electoral bill, adding that it has improved
the electoral process.