The Speaker of the House of Representatives Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila has called on Nigerian traditional rulers to join the House in its quest to build a better Nigeria.
The Speaker said being the custodian of the nation’s tradition, traditional rulers should ensure that the unity and development of the country become the centre of their subjects’ commitment.
Speaker Gbajabiamila spoke on Monday while receiving 13 traditional rulers from Akoko North West/East Federal Constituency of Ondo State in his office.
The monarchs, led by the Okukare of Ikare land, His Royal Highness (HRH) Oba Akadiri Momoh, told the Speaker and other members of the House that their visit was to appreciate him for the opportunity given their subjects to serve the country in some standing committees of the House.
They also pleaded with the Speaker to intervene in the completion of an abandoned power transmission project in Oke Agbe, rehabilitation of the federal roads in their area, that have gone bad, as well as the establishment of a federal tertiary institution within the constituency.
The Speaker in his response, after appreciating the royal fathers for the first-of-its-kind visit to the 9th House, assured them that their demands would be looked into with the necessary intervention made.
While he thanked the traditional rulers for appreciating the selection of their sons to serve as leaders of some House Committees, Gbajabiamila emphasized that the selection of committees’ chairmen was carried out with a lot of thoroughness based on certain criteria.
Noting that the visit of the Obas would not be taken lightly, the Speaker said, “Rarely do we get to sit with our fathers who have broader perspectives on Nigerian situation.
“Broader perspectives in the sense that we are legislators, trained and looking things from a legalistic point of view and our own experiences and understanding of the law and the constitution, which is the way we should look at things. But when I said broader perspective, it goes with a Yoruba saying that no matter how old or experienced you are, you cannot have the rags of the older ones.
“We are happy that you are with us, because as our fathers coming with a rich history of the Southwest and of Nigeria as a whole, that is why we feel privileged so that you can enrich our knowledge of Nigeria. We cannot trade your experience, money cannot even buy it.
“That is why we believe in nation-building as a joint task for everybody, including your good selves; that is why I consider you the fourth arm of the realm, I know our journalists are considered as the fourth arm of the realm but I see them as the fourth arm of the republic.
“I hope we begin to realize that when we have a crop of members that are committed to their constituencies, states and nation-building like the ones we have now, it behoves on us to use them for as long as we can use them in the legislature,” the Speaker said.
On how some members of Ondo State were made chairmen of committees, the Speaker said: “Selection of chairmanship of committees came with a lot of deliberation, a lot of thoughts went into it. We didn’t roll the dice, it was a serious thought process.”
Responding to the request on a power project and the establishment of a federal tertiary institution, Gbajabiamila said: “I have noted the Oke Agbe TCN project. We’ll look at it, find out how, what stage it is, what is delaying it, and we will look at the hurdles and make sure that we bring that kind of development to you.
“Due attention will also be given to the education institution you talked about.”