The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabimaila, who was reported to be the new chief of staff to President Bola Tinubu, on Thursday, did not deny the report but said the system should be allowed to work towards a formal announcement.
A national daily had reported that Mr Tinubu announced the speaker as his chief of staff during a meeting with the service chiefs.
Mr Gbajabiamila, while responding to questions from journalists on the appointment after a meeting between Mr Tinubu and the leadership of the National Assembly, called for patience from the media, noting that the system must be allowed to work.
“Be patient. Be patient. The system works in its own way. Allow the system to work. We will see,” he said.
The reluctancy to officially announce Mr Gbajabiamila may not be unconnected to the constitutional requirement that makes it mandatory for a member of the National Assembly to resign if appointed to an executive office.
Section 68(1) states that ‘A member of the Senate or of the House of Representatives shall vacate his seat in the House of which he is a member if – He becomes President, Vice-President, Governor, Deputy Governor or a Minister of the Government of the Federation or a Commissioner of the Government of a State or a Special Adviser.”
If Mr Gbajabiamila is announced, he may have to resign from the House to pave the way for another lawmaker to take up the position until 11 June when the life of the current 9th House will terminate.
There are indications that if he resigns, his deputy, Idris Wase, will replace him. However, this may not hold as they were not elected on single ticket into the lower chamber. In that case, a speaker pro tempore may have to be elected to conduct the affairs of the House until it winds down on 11 June.
The relationship between the two has deteriorated in the past couple of weeks due to the ongoing struggle for the speakership of the 10th House.
Mr Gbajabiamila, a political ally of Mr Tinubu, was re-elected during the 25 February National Assembly election to represent Surulere II federal constituency of Lagos State, for the fifth time.
There have, however, been speculations that he would be appointed as the chief of staff to Mr Tinubu, especially since he is always seen in the company of the president.
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