The controversies surrounding the choice of Hon Femi Gbajabiamila as Speaker of the 9th House of Representatives, seems unending, even as the June 11 inauguration is just a few days away.
Igbere TV reports that Gbajabiamila, Majority Leader of the outgoing 8th House, is the anointed candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the Speakership position.
Having come from the Southwest geopolitical zone, Gbajabiamila is believed to be favoured by his political godfather, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who is also from the West and ranks as a National Leader of the APC.
Lately, individual bodies, pressure groups and political parties including the Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP), had instituted several charges against the lawmaker over alleged $25,000 fraud and other corruption cases.
Gbajabiamila has been accused of frauds in the United States, particularly in Georgia. The CUPP has also alleged Gbaja to be an ex-convict who ran away to Nigeria after serving his jail term in America.
Gbajabiamila, a lawyer by profession, is alleged to have defrauded his client during his stay abroad. Although his accusers had disclosed that the lawmaker had paid back the monies, they are however seeking a court order to compel Gbaja from contesting for the speakership position.
Just recently, a case challenging his ambition was struck out from the court, on the grounds that “it lacked merit.”
In a clip obtained exclusively by Igbere TV on Friday, some Nigerians in diaspora, stormed the Nigeria Consulate Office in Atlanta Georgia, United States of America.
The leader of the group, who narrated the demonstration, said: “This protest is a clear indication that the people are not happy with one of the individuals (Gbaja) being sponsored for the position of the Speaker of the Federal House of Representatives.”
The protesters armed with placards with various inscriptions, are demanding that “President Muhammadu Buhari should not play politics with the Speakership position.”
They are asking the president to “stay away from National Assembly affairs”, among others.
Some of their placards read, “Gbaja is corrupt”, “Buhari stay away from legislative activities”, “Femi is not honourable, he cannot be speaker”, “Gbaja is not a a good choice, we need a competent speaker”, “We don’t want thieves in our government”, “Stop the disgrace.”
The protesters alleged that Hon. Gbajabiamila has questionable past from his days as a resident of Georgia.
Specifically, the protesters said: “Let us recall that in 2003, a client sought for and engaged the legal services of Femi Gbajabiamila in a case where the client sought to sue (a third party) for damages. Gbaja’s client won the case and a total sum of $25,000 US dollars was paid as cost of injury into the trust account held in the name of Femi Gbajabiamila, on behalf of his client.
“Femi stole the $25,000 meant for his client and fled to Nigeria. He was subsequently arraigned for theft and professional misconduct before the Supreme Court of Georgia, where he pleaded guilty, and was accordingly, convicted.”
In a separate disciplinary suit filed before the Supreme Court of Georgia with charge no: 806Y0629, obtained exclusively by Igbere TV, “Femi’s disciplinary action was unanimously decided by all Justices of the Supreme Court, on February 26, 2007.”
According to the document, the case was, subsequently, reported in 281 Georgia, 659 Georgia, 2007; and 641SE2D532, as published in the United States of America Law Report.
But Gbajabiamila has denied the allegation that he was convicted by a court in the United States of America.
Similarly, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) told Igbere TV that it was not aware of any case against Gbajabiamila in the US or whether the lawmaker lied in his oath form, as being alleged.
Gbajabiamila has threatened to take legal action against the CUPP over the accusations.
As the debate over his alleged conviction in the United States continues, all eyes are on the ruling party and Gbaja’s godfather, Bola Tinubu to issue statements. But none of the two parties have either affirmed or defended the anointed speakership candidate.