The House of Representatives has said the Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, did not oppose the recent resolutions of the Southern Governors’ Forum after its meeting in Asaba, the Delta State capital.
Chairman of the House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Benjamin Kalu, noted that the House, under Gbajabiamila’s leadership, had always been an advocate of reviewing the 1999 Constitution.
Kalu had reacted to the condemnations that had followed the report by a section of the media in which the Speaker reportedly attacked the governors.
A statement issued by the House’ spokesman on Friday was titled ‘The Speaker Did Not Say He Is Opposed To The Southern Governors’ Calls For Restructuring.’
The statement partly read, ‘The attention of the House has been drawn to several publications on online and traditional media, claiming that the Speaker, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila, is opposed to the southern governors’ call for restructuring. The House gathers that this allegation was attributed to statements made by the Speaker at a recent interview seeking his opinion on the issue. The House states clearly and unequivocally that the publications are false and misleading.
“For the avoidance of doubt, below is an accurate reproduction of the statements made by the Speaker at that interview:
“This is not a time for name-calling or blaming one person or the other. If truth be told, we all have equal shares in the blame and whatever challenges we have, we all must come together. In the same way we all have equal shares, we must all come together to make sure that we resolve whatever issues there are. Like I said earlier, the greatest nations have gone through challenges worse than this and I believe that it is that spirit of oneness and that spirit of togetherness and unity and love that will take us through this.
“You know sometimes there are many things that people have said here and there and you never know where these things are coming from. Sometimes God even puts you through challenges so that you can come out of it stronger, bigger, better, bolder. That’s what I believe is gonna happen to Nigeria.
“We’re all put together in this one geographical space for a reason. It wasn’t by happenstance or coincidence or by chance. It was ordained by Almighty God and He doesn’t make mistakes, He doesn’t go wrong. What He decrees is what will be and I believe He put us all together. No matter your religion, no matter your ethnicity, talking about over 250 ethnic groups in one country, it is that diversity that God had foreseen that I believe we should tap into as Nigerians. I have belief in the Nigerian resilience and in the Nigerian spirit; and in the spirit of Ramadan, we must continue to pray.””
Kalu pointed out that nothing in the comments made by Gbajabiamila opposes the governors’ call for restructuring.
“Indeed, from the beginning of the 9th Assembly, the House under the leadership of Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila, has reiterated its commitment to a thorough review of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as can be seen by the composition and activities of the Constitutional Review Committee of the House,” he stated.
The statement further read, “The media is hereby cautioned to be mindful of peddling false news in the bid to misinform the general public. This is misleading and detrimental to our democracy as a nation. Like the Speaker rightly said, this is not a time to apportion blames rather this is a time for us to come together and deliberate on issues that have birthed the problem we are facing as a nation and to find a suitable solution to it.