The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila has condemned the introduction of ethnicity and religion into the nation’s general elections
He said the Feb. 25 general elections were mainly about ethnicity and religion rather than performance.
The speaker said this when the executives of the House of Representatives Press Corps led by its Chairman, Grace Ike, visited him in his office in Abuja on Wednesday.
Gbajabiamila lauded the press corps for being supportive and playing a critical role in nation building.
He said the contribution of the press corps to the development of the country could not be quantified.
The speaker regretted that the last National Assembly election was determined by factors besides the performance of lawmakers.
He said, “It was a hard won battle not just for me but for many of our colleagues on the floor 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,” he said.
Gbajabiamila said he hoped that as the country developed 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.
“That is what I hope will happen as we move along and that is why I mentioned the Electoral Act that was just passed.
“That is why I fought tooth and nail to make sure the Electoral Act adopted strictly, the direct mode for primaries because of elections.”
He said 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.
Earlier the chairperson of the press corps congratulated the speaker on his victory at the elections.
She lauded the speaker on the leadership of the house by ensuring everyone was carried along, as well as his contribution to lawmaking and governance.
She commended him particularly for his efforts to the successful passage of the electoral act, which would ensure the right leaders were chosen by the people.(NAN)