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General News of Thursday, 16 March 2023


Why many Reps lost re-election bid - Gbajabiamila

House of Representatives House of Representatives

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has said several members of the 9th House lost elections in their constituencies because the voters focused more on religion and ethnicity instead of the performance of the lawmakers.

Mr Gbajabiamila stated this on Tuesday while speaking with members of the House of Representatives Press Corps at the National Assembly Complex.

He said the voters did not consider the performance of the lawmakers either on the floor of the House or in their constituencies.

The Speaker, who won his re-election in Surulere 1 federal constituency of Lagos State on 25 February, said he was just lucky to win the election because “this election was not as it should be.”

He added, “It was a hard-won battle not just for me but for many of our colleagues on the floor (of the House) there…all 360 of us. Many were unlucky. Some were lucky. I used the word ‘lucky’ deliberately because this election was not as it should be; not so much about the performance of members whether on the floor or in their constituencies.

“It was about a lot of other things. It was about religion. It was about ethnicity. It was about so many other things which I hope that as we develop as a nation, one’s election would be based solely, or at least mostly, on his or her performance on the floor and in the constituency,” he said.

Mr Gbajabiamila also blamed the poor outing of the lawmakers on the indirect primaries in the Electoral Act.

The speaker stated that direct primaries would have addressed a merit-based electoral process.

He said the National Assembly must work to perfect the Electoral Act in order to improve the electoral process.

“That is why I fought tooth and nail to make sure the Electoral Act adopted strictly the direct mode for primaries because of elections.”

“Even though at the general elections members lost, a lot of members actually lost their elections at the primaries where their acceptance by the constituents was not put to test. What was put to test was what one or two leaders in their constituencies determined, whether they were returning or not. So, we lost a lot of legislators even at the primaries level, and that does not help our democracy.”

“So, hopefully, moving forward, we would perfect that document, the Electoral Act, which many people have celebrated but still not perfect yet. Hopefully, we would be able to perfect it,” he said.

PREMIUM TIMES had reported that about 130 members of the House of Representatives did not get the ticket of their parties.