By Promise Eze
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, emerged victorious in the presidential and National Assembly elections held in February, polling 19,717 votes to defeat his closest opponent, Bosun Jeje, of the Peoples Democratic Party who scored 5,121 votes.
But this is not the first time he would come out victorious. In fact, it was a victory for the sixth time on repeat.
“I am immensely grateful to the people of Surulere for their overwhelming support. I do not take your support for granted. As your representative for the past 20 years, I have always protected your interest. I am proud of you as my constituents,” Gbajabiamila had said.
But a few weeks later rumour had it that he may soon become the Chief of Staff (CoS) of President Bola Tinubu who had just won a very tight presidential election.
But he quickly denied plans to abandon legislative duties to lobby for appointment as CoS to the President.
But rumours soon turned out to be true as today President, Bola Tinubu appointed Gbajabiamila as his new Chief of Staff.
Now the question is: can Gbajabiamilia still hold on his position as the Speaker of the House of Representatives and at the same time be the CoS to the president?
The system, however, does not allow Speaker Gbajabiamila to be CoS under any circumstances.
According to section 68 (1) of the 1999 Constitution as amended, ‘A member of the Senate or of the House of Representatives shall vacate his seat in the House of which he is a member if – He becomes President, Vice-President, Governor, Deputy Governor or a Minister of the Government of the Federation or a Commissioner of the Government of a State or a Special Adviser.”
By this provision, Gbajabiamila cannot occupy the position of Speaker or member of the green chamber in any capacity and take on an executive appointment.
His resignation from the legislature has to come first before he can officially cross to another arm of government.
The law is clear on checks and balances amongst the three arms of government, and having one person occupy offices across multiple arms would defeat this oversight function.
It remains a few days before the expiry of the ninth assembly, and Gbajabiamila may choose to resign or forgo his executive role.
So it is certain that Surulere may have tropp out again to find his replacement at the polls.