I Wasn’t Elected to Fight Executive, Gbajabiamila Replies Critics Who Call 9th Assembly Rubber Stamp

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Femi Gbajabiamila

Adedayo Akinwale ín Abuja

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, has said that the 9th National Assembly is not a rubber stamp, while pointing out that he was not elected to fight the Executive but to engage and collaborate with stakeholders to bring dividends of democracy.

Gbajabiamila spoke in Surulere, Lagos State, on Sunday at his annual end of the year grassroots empowerment programme, adding that the action by the federal government has forced Nigerians to now consume locally produced products, especially Nigerian rice.

The speaker in a statement issued Sunday night by his Special Assistant on media and publicity, Lanre Lasisi, also said that the current border closure by the federal government was yielding good results as Nigerian farmers were ‘smiling to the bank.’

According to him, “I must say the impact of closing Nigeria’s borders to foreign rice is yielding results. I am sure so many farmers are now smiling to the bank. The volume of Christmas rice sales made by Nigerian farmers speaks to the emerging culture of eating what we grow.”

The Speaker who thanked his constituents for their support and the mandate they have been giving to him since 2003, said he would continue to work with the Executive arm to bring more developmental projects to them.

He said the notion among some Nigerians that the current National Assembly was a rubber stamp of the Executive arm was wrong, noting that good collaboration between the two arms is always in the best interest of Nigerians.

Gbajabiamila said it was for that reason that the 9th National Assembly ensured that the 2020 budget was passed in record time to return the country to the January to December budget cycle.

The Speaker noted that in the interest of the 360 federal constituencies across Nigeria, the National Assembly had returned the budget cycle to January to December.

He pointed out that the new discipline would increase economic activities and afford the executive to implement the budget containing nationwide projects within the full financial year as against limited implementation scope in the past.

He stated: “People, critics and people of other parties have said the 9th Assembly is a rubber stamp to the Executive. They may have told you that too. The fact is that the National Assembly is not a rubber stamp. This is a National Assembly that represents the interests of the people. The people of Surulere did not elect me to fight the Executive but to engage and collaborate with stakeholders to bring dividends of democracy.

“This is a new dispensation. There will be checks and balances. There will be separation of powers. We will agree with the executive if we have to, and we will disagree if we have to. Our watchword is to protect the interests of the Nigerian people. That is the oath I and my colleagues swore to.”

The Speaker provided cash grants to some 500 beneficiaries in his Surulere 1 Federal Constituency to help boost their businesses, while 23 people also received cars, computer business owners received Power generating sets and photocopying machines while students received laptops.