Femi Gbajabiamila: Reflections on CoS’s life in law, legislation, politics-Bashir Suwaid
By Bashir Suwaid
At a meeting with the Progressives Governors Forum (PGF), on Friday, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu formally announced that the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Honorable Femi Gbajabiamila will serve as his chief of staff, a position that underscores his experience, competence, and commitment to public service.
Femi Gbajabiamila is a name that has become synonymous with excellence and leadership in Nigeria’s legal, legislative, and political sphere.
There is no gainsaying the fact, Femi Gbajabiamila was appointed as the Cos for his tireless work, and he will help the President to build a smart, steady leadership, and will work hard to achieve the mandate of the people given to him.
Femi Gbajabiamila is a name that needs no introduction in Nigerian politics. Born in Lagos in 1962. As the current Chief of Staff to the President of Nigeria, Gbajabiamila’s life and career have been marked by remarkable achievements and a deep commitment to public service.
He was chosen because of President Tinubu’s trust in him and his background in managing large, complicated organizations like the House of Representatives.
Absolutely, Femi Gbajabiamila, based on his experience and political skills is one of the very best people any President could ever hope to work with in government, in addition, to his National Assembly experience which will come in handy as they confront governance.
As Chief of Staff, he will play a key role in the formulation and implementation of government policies, working closely with the President to ensure that the government delivers on its promises to Nigerians.
Femi Gbajabiamila is an expert manager, which is why the president brought him on to handle and coordinate the administration’s policies of Renewed Hope.
The new Chief of Staff to the President is also a great implementer, who is best with operations and he’s also an amazing human being, which also matters as well, coupled with his extensive legislative experience.
*What does a chief of staff do, and why does the role matter?*
A president’s chief of staff acts as a manager of operations for the Aso Rock, ensuring that the institution works and priorities are maintained.
Less exciting, and more operational job, running the Presidency is chaotic enough as it is, and Femi was placed there to decrease the chaos, increase the predictability and make it less dramatic, so that the President, his Cabinet and the Presidential Aides will focus on getting things done effectively and efficiently, as the chief of staff also acts as a “gatekeeper,” managing whom the president communicates with — and whom he doesn’t.
Femi Gbajabiamila is incredibly well qualified for the job, and he is someone the president has always seen in action, and one of the best he has worked with in his political career.
The chief of staff is a critical confidant to the president and responsible for seeing that the administration’s agenda is carried out successfully.
Gbajabiamila’s legal training and legal thinking will be very applicable and present in the decision making in the Presidency.
He will bring different approaches to the Presidency. He will think for the president what’s in the best interest of Nigerians and about policy matters.
The accomplished lawmaker will complement the president in the mold of a more traditional lawyer, by thinking very rigorously about problems, the pros and cons, the facts, what the law is, how it applies in any given situation.
A common refrain is that to be a successful chief of staff requires being able to say “no” to the president. But, in the case of Femi Gbajabiamila, it was different because of his decades-long relationship with President Tinubu because the duo have a good working relationship.
*House Speakership preparation*
Femi Gbajabiamila has successfully overseen the 9th Lower Chamber of the National Assembly, but his relationship with the National Assembly began much earlier, serving as a three-term principal officer in the National Assembly.
As a member of the House of Representatives, Gbajabiamila distinguished himself as a lawmaker with a passion for good governance and a commitment to the welfare of his constituents.
He served as the House Minority Leader from 2011 to 2015, and as the Majority Leader from 2015 to 2019. During his time in the House, Gbajabiamila sponsored several bills and motions aimed at improving the lives of Nigerians.
Notable among these are the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit Bill, the Federal Road Authority Bill, the National Lottery Act (Amendment) Bill, and the Motion on the Need to Investigate the Allegations of Violations of the Constitution and the Public Procurement Act by the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).
Gbajabiamila’s leadership skills and legislative acumen did not go unnoticed. In June 2019, when he was elected as the Speaker of the House of Representatives, becoming one of the most powerful politicians in Nigeria.
As Speaker, Gbajabiamila has continued his commitment to good governance and the welfare of Nigerians. He has initiated several legislative interventions aimed at addressing the country’s socio-economic challenges, including the creation of a National Emergency Trust Fund to cater for the needs of victims of natural disasters, the passage of the Police Reform Act to reform the country’s police force, and the passage of the Deep Offshore and Inland Basin Production Sharing Contract Act (Amendment) Bill to increase government revenue from the oil sector.
In conclusion, Femi Gbajabiamila’s life and career are a testament to the power of hard work, determination, and a commitment to public service. His achievements and career journey in the legal, legislative, and political sphere were remarkable in shaping him becoming one of the famous and most powerful public servants in present day Nigeria.
Suwaid, SA Media and Publicity to Hon Hafiz Kawu MHOR Tarauni, writes from Kano.