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Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, is making a difference, writes Abigail Akamku

The morning shows the day as the child shows the man, goes the popular saying. The year 2021 is for recovery and hastening of arrested plans and goals caused by the deadly global pandemic that defined 2020.

This is not the best of times to yield to the cravings of leisure, vacation and holidays. It is time for hard work. That is the approach of serious-minded leaders in responding to the daunting challenges of new normal.

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila set forth at the dawn of the year. He was everywhere in his constituency inspecting the projects he had facilitated to his domain and see for himself the level of work.

It was a period for assessment of social contract between the elected representative and the elector. The speaker laid everything bare before his people. All interests were served in siting of projects across the constituency. From Ojuelegba enroute Yaba and the core of Surulere, Babs Animashaun roads, it was a sweet story all the way. A bridge and standard seven roads are undergoing rehabilitation across Surulere.

Others were the site of the upgrading and expansion work of the existing Femi Gbajabiamila Clinic to a General Hospital at Iyun Road, renovation of all school buildings at Stadium High School, modern ICT centre at Ajigbeda Senior Girls’ High School, Rehabilitation of Dosumu and Adedoyin roads along Obele – Itire – Lawanson axis as well as construction work on a mini-stadium at Obele Oniwala, Surulere.

Gbajabiamila, a shrewd manager of scarce resources, applied and deployed interventions in areas that will greatly impact human capital of the constituents. The rehabilitated roads are of great economic importance in the axis. The bubbling commercial nerve centre of Yaba is a case in point. The roads will aid trade and facilitate commerce. Those in the informal sector and artisans in Surulere constituency can also testify to support for their trade from Gbajabiamila.

The speaker also took more than passing interest in education, a major plank used in assessment of human capital development index. In Surulere and its environs, Gbajabiamila is known for intervening in the area of education before he became speaker. Thousands of youths in Surulere had benefited from free GCE and JAMB forms over years.

University of Lagos, the flagship federal tertiary institution, his alma mata also benefited a project. Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe and top management of the university were on hand to receive a worthy alumna during the visit. Gbajabiamila studied law at the prestigious university.

The upgrading of a clinic to a full-fledged hospital also speaks volumes of the speaker’s passion for the sector. At the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic last year, Gbajabiamila canvassed for overhauling the nation’s health infrastructure and improvement of welfare of health workers for maximum delivery.

Matching his words with action, Gbajabiamila visited health facilities in Surulere and encouraged health workers who were frontline soldiers in the battle against COVID-19. He rewarded them in cash and kind. That was vintage Gbaja!

Surulere is reputed as the home of sports. The area hosts the nation’s biggest National Stadium and Teslim Balogun Stadium. Sports have become a veritable tool of harnessing the potential of youths. This ostensibly was the rationale behind the mini stadium facilitated by the speaker.

The Speaker’s itinerary also includes a visit to Gbaja Maternal and Child Care Center of Randle Hospital to where he welcomed babies born on New Year day and their mothers.

One of the babies, Derrick who was the first baby of the year at the hospital, was born at 12.42. am on Friday, weighing 3.6 kg at birth. Congratulating Derrick’s mother, Mrs Immaculata Ozumba on the safe delivery, the speaker donated some cash, bags of rice, cartons of noodles and diapers to the baby and his family.

The speaker also settled the bills of all the babies born in the facility on Friday as well as other patients who could not immediately pay their bills at both Gbaja Maternal and Child Care and Randle General Hospital, Surulere.

The speaker, who was received by the Medical Director of the hospital, Dr Aduke Odutayo, commended the management for improving healthcare delivery in the area and promised to always support the hospital for better services.

The Gbajabiamila style has endeared many to him. He has become a beacon of hope for many who have lost faith in qualitative representation and good governance. The speaker’s activities since the proclamation of the ninth Assembly clearly indicate that he is a man on a mission to write his name in gold.

Gbajabiamila is always out looking after the interests of the vulnerable and those at the base of the society’s pyramid. The oppressed got his ears.

As a 21st century leader, the Speaker does not limit himself to the green chamber and pontificate on challenges facing the nation but he steps out of his primary functions of law making and oversight in times of national emergencies.

Down to earth, Gbajabiamila more than once has spoken loudly against policies and moves that he believed will screw up the vulnerable. He raised the bar of legislative duty in democratic settings.

In his new year message, Gbajabiamila lifted the souls of Nigerians by charging them not to dwell on losses of 2020 but to look forward to bounty harvests. His words, “It is my hope and prayer that the year 2021 will be better than all the preceding years of our nation’s history.

“In this New Year, let’s remain resolute and determined in our nationhood. Yes, we may be going through challenges as a nation, but with our collective determination, we shall overcome”.

Akamku wrote from Lagos