Femi Gbajabiamila, speaker of the house of representatives, stated that many of his colleagues could not win their re-election bids at party primaries because they were denied a fair chance.
Gbajabiamila spoke on Tuesday while addressing members of the lower legislative chamber upon resumption of plenary.
TheCable had reported how some house of representatives members could not secure their party’s ticket for re-election.
According to Gbajabiamila, the legislators did not lose because they didn’t live up to the expectations of their constituents, but because of the process.
The national assembly had passed a bill seeking to enable statutory delegates to vote at party conventions and congresses. However, President Muhammadu Buhari refused to assent to the proposed legislation, forcing political parties to use only elected delegates. In a political party, statutory delegates make up the majority of voting delegates.
“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. All of us, members of the house of representatives, have not been exempt from this process,” Gbajabiamila said.
“Unfortunately, as is always the case in electoral contests, some of us who sought the nomination of our parties to return to 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, 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.
“Honourable colleagues, 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 for 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.”
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