The Speaker of the Nigerian House of Representatives Rt. Hon Femi Gbajabiamila has urged his aides to work diligently and contribute significantly to the task of transforming the country.
The Speaker said he believed that his aides came with a lot of experience and maturity, urging them to apply the same in their various responsibilities in the next four years.
Gbajabiamila, who spoke during a retreat for his aides organised by his office in collaboration with PERL-ECP Nigeria, a project under DFID, challenged all his aides to brace up for the task ahead as they work towards achieving his agenda themed ‘Nation Building: A Joint Task.’
“Success for me as Speaker of the 9th House of Representatives depends on you doing the work to which you have been assigned, and doing so diligently and with integrity, never leaving room for friends and foes alike to question either your commitment or your sincerity.
“It is to all of you gathered in this room that I depend on to drive the agenda, develop performance indices, monitor implementation, evaluate outcomes and report on the way forward. So far, I have been impressed by the contributions and output from some of you. The initiatives you have taken, the ideas you have championed and the efforts you have made are encouraging; they give me confidence that we have assembled a team that at its best, can and will be transformational.
“We are here for the country, to make the country work. Everybody here was carefully selected. So, don’t undermine your offices. You are here to work for the country, and that’s a huge responsibility.
Gbajabiamila added: “The task before us is enormous. Fate and circumstance have called us to serve at a time of rapid, inexorable change. Our population growth far outpaces the rate of economic growth. Insecurity has made large swathes of our country uninhabitable for citizens and unattractive to investment. Our education system is producing graduates who cannot compete in the 21st-century knowledge economy.
“We are fighting insurgents in the North East who want to remake our world in the image of a medieval theocracy. Economic and social inequity continue to exacerbate our age-old conflicts, making cooperation and progress difficult, and often impossible. All the old certainties have fallen aside, and we are confronted with the dire consequences of years of poor planning, poor implementation, corruption and indiscipline.”
“I want you to remember today as always what our mission is; to protect those who need us to shield them, to empower through opportunity, to decide what future we want and then to build it. This is our mandate, and we will deliver because we must, because there is no alternative,” he said.
In a brief remark, the Chief of Staff to the Speaker, Hon Sanusi Garba Rikiji, thanked the Speaker for giving him and other aides the opportunity to work with him.
“I call on my dear colleagues to consider our appointments as a challenge and call to national duty. We will pay you back with loyalty and dedication. We will ensure that you achieve your goals,” Rikiji said.
In her address, the team leader of PERL, Dr Adiya Ode, team leader of Partnership to Engage, Reform and Learn (PERL), commended the Speaker for putting the structure to succeed.
“This time is a time for greatness in the world. We look forward to seeing great things coming from you. Many young men and women are hungry and angry. We call on you our leaders to do something. I want to commend your agenda on reforms. We love your idea of budget reforms.
“The issue of inclusion, women in governance. Please make space for women and the people living with disabilities. Thank you for your commitment to collaborate with the Executive. We have seen that in your actions,” she noted.