Speaker of the House of Representatives, Honourable Femi Gbajabiamila, on Tuesday expressed grief over the massive loss of elections by his contemporaries at the just concluded party primaries conducted across the country.

This was just as the president of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, also consoled senators who lost out during the primaries and congratulated those that won.

Gbajabiamila, who expressed displeasure over the irregularities that happened during the party primaries, lamented that “people are changing names, not just delegates,” adding that it was some members of the National Assembly who are being deprived the fruits of their labour.”

While welcoming members from over three weeks recess, the Speaker underscored the need for all the lawmakers as elected representatives to return to the electorate to give account of their service and seek a renewal of mandate to serve.

“The past two months have been dominated by political pursuits across the country as political parties carry out various activities to nominate their candidates for the forthcoming general elections.

“Unfortunately, as is always the case in electoral contests, some of us who sought the nomination of our parties to return to the legislature have not gotten it. Others who sought nomination to contest other positions have also fallen short in that quest.

“Honourable colleagues, it is rather unfortunate that the process went the way it went. I make bold to say here that the legislature has once again suffered losses. The loss really is not for members who lost; it is a loss to democracy, to the institution and to the country.

“If it means anything, I know and I am aware that many of our members did not lose their primaries because they were rejected by their constituents. Many of our members lost because of the process, the process which we foresaw in the House of Representatives-the delegate system which unfortunately is not what a delegate system is supposed to be.

“Many of our members lost because they were not even given a fair shot. We have good legislators, both here in the chambers and back home, who are probably not coming back because of this same process.

“When we fought for direct primaries in this House, we knew exactly what we were saying. It pains me very deeply that the process has gone the way it has gone. We will continue to push and continue to fight for our members, for democracy, for the institution and this country.

“I have experienced political loss. And I can speak to the feelings of loss and disappointment that arise as a result. From that experience, I wish to share with you the everlasting truth that none of us is defined by the outcome of any election at any one time. What defines us before God and our fellow men is what we do in the time we have in public office and on earth.

“We are judged on earth and after by the work of our hands, quality of our service, the content of our character and passion of our convictions. These are the things that matter most and will count in the fullness of time.

“Therefore, I enjoin you all to set aside your feelings about recent electoral experiences to focus on serving the mandate we still have.

“Whereas in the past, the start of the electoral calendar marked the end of governance as a priority, that will not be the case in this ninth assembly.

“Our term in office does not end till next year. Until the moment it does, we will do the people’s work and serve their interests. That is the oath we swore and the commitment we will live up to, come what may.”

While speaking on the insecurity challenges ravaging the country, Gbajabiamila condemned the recent attacks on worshippers in St. Francis Catholic Church, Owo, Ondo State and called on the security agencies to bring the perpetrators of the heinous crime to book.

“This includes consideration and passage of relevant legislation and other stakeholder engagement and outreach efforts. Several legislative agenda bills have been in committee for longer than they should,” he noted.

On his part, the president of the Senate assured those who lost in the primaries that decisions that would be taken before the general elections would be in their favour.

Lawan admitted that the electoral process threw up new issues that may need to be addressed by the parliament.

On security, he said, “The security of our country still needs our attention and, therefore, I urge all of us to continue from where we stopped before we went on recess in giving due and desirable attention for the improvement in security of lives and properties of our citizens.”


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