Fuad Laguda makes his way to the House of Representatives as the replacement for the former Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila. Nigerians will be watching keenly to know if he can surpass the achievements of his predecessor.
In a political landscape marked by transitions and transformations, the election of Fuad Laguda to the House of Representatives comes as a significant development for Nigeria’s democracy. Laguda steps into the shoes of the former Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, who has now assumed the pivotal position of Chief of Staff to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
As Nigerians observe this transition, there is a palpable sense of anticipation regarding Laguda’s ability to surpass the achievements of his esteemed predecessor as a representative of the people of Surulere 1.
Gbajabiamila’s Antecedents – A Legacy to Uphold
Gbajabiamila was appointed Chief of Staff in 2023 while serving his sixth term in the House of Representatives. He was also the Speaker of the House of Representatives between 2019 and 2023 while he represented the Surulere 1 constituency.
His tenure as Speaker of the House of Representatives was marked by a series of notable accomplishments and challenges. Under his leadership, the House made strides in legislative reform, championed key initiatives, and grappled with pressing national issues.
His ability to navigate complex political landscapes and foster bipartisan cooperation earned him respect both within and outside the chambers. Following his election in 2019 as the Speaker of the House, he was able to maintain a delicate balance between the House and the Executive while maintaining a united House.
Under his leadership, the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) saw the light of the day despite several attempts to shut it down as in the past. Despite being a principal officer, the Lagos-born lawmaker pushed for several impactful bills such as the Economic Stimulus Bill, the controversial Infectious Disease bill that was passed through third reading. Another important bill that the former lawmaker sponsored that is now a law is the Electric Power Reform Act.
According to the OrderPaper 2022 annual report card, Femi Gbajabiamila sponsored 26 bills.
Gbajabiamila, one of the strong allies of Tinubu, a former Lagos State governor between May 1999 and May 2007, resigned from the House of Representatives in June 2023 and his successor as Speaker, Rep Tajudeen Abbas subsequently declared his seat vacant necessitating a bye-election in Surulere Constituency 1 to fill the seat.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared Fuad Laguda the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) winner of the Surulere Federal Constituency 1 Bye-Election.
The returning officer for the bye-election, Prof Simeon Adebayo declared that the APC candidate scored a total of 11, 203 votes, while the Labour Party (LP) candidate scored only 240 votes only.
Enter Faud Laguda
Faud Laguda is a former APC Chairman of the Surulere Local Government which Gbajabiamila represented. He brings to the table a wealth of experience and a reputation for integrity and diligence, qualities that are indispensable in the realm of Nigerian politics.
He was appointed Director, Media and Publicity Committee, Independent Campaign Group, Femi Gbajabiamila Team Continuity Campaign Organisation in 2018; Member, Planning and Strategy Committee, Lagos State Campaign Committee in 2018; Deputy Director, Welfare Committee WES Lagos Central Senatorial Campaign 2022/23 and the Director-General, Surulere (TGSEE) Campaign Council in the just concluded 2022/23 General Election.
As Laguda goes into the House, he faces a formidable task of not only maintaining the momentum generated by his predecessor but also steering the constituency towards new horizons of progress and prosperity.
While the benchmarks set by Femi Gbajabiamila serve as a testament to the possibilities of effective leadership, Laguda has the opportunity to carve his legacy and leave an indelible mark on Nigeria’s political trajectory. His success will be measured not only by legislative accomplishments but also by his ability to function effectively in the House as a bastion of legislative oversight and accountability.
In a country grappling with multifaceted issues ranging from economic reforms to security concerns, the role of the House in shaping policies and promoting the welfare of citizens cannot be overstated. Thus, Laguda must endeavour to foster a climate of inclusivity and collaboration within the House by building consensus on contentious issues, fostering robust debate, and advancing legislation that reflects the aspirations of his constituency and the nation at large.
To surpass the achievements of Femi Gbajabiamila, Fuad Laguda must articulate bills and motions that reflect the current needs and aspirations of the Nigerian people. Prioritizing key issues such as economic reforms, security enhancements, and social welfare will be crucial.
One of the hallmarks of a successful legislative leader is the ability to engage with the public and be held accountable. Fuad Laguda must prioritize transparency, openness, and effective communication to ensure that the people he represents are informed and involved in the legislative process.
Nigerians, and of course, OrderPaper will be watching keenly to see if Laguda can surpass the achievements of his predecessor, Gbajabiamila.