Olufemi Hakeem Gbajabiamila has been a key player in the country’s legislative arena for over two decades. Starting his career as a distinguished lawyer, Femi Gbajabiamila shifted his focus to serve the people, first as a member of the House of Representatives and later as its Speaker. Known for his competence, leadership acumen, and track record of public service, he has recently been appointed as Chief of Staff to President Bola Tinubu.
As Femi takes on his new role, it becomes imperative to explore the milestones that have marked his journey thus far. Let’s take a look at some things to note about Tinubu’s Chief of Staff.
Gbajabiamila’s journey into politics started at the law firm
Femi Gbajabiamila’s journey into the corridors of power started with a solid legal foundation. He initially worked for the law firm, Bentley Edu & Co., in Lagos, Nigeria, before establishing his own law firm, Femi Gbaja & Co. In the United States, he also earned a Juris Doctor degree from Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School.
And, after passing the Georgia bar exam in 2001, he set up a law firm in Atlanta. His exposure to both Nigerian and U.S. legal systems has imbued him with a unique perspective, especially on matters that require diplomatic and international considerations.
He’s had a prolific political career from 2003
Gbajabiamila’s political career has been nothing short of prolific. Elected for the first time in 2003 to represent the Surulere I constituency of Lagos State, he has since been re-elected for six consecutive terms. Over the years, he has been known for sponsoring the highest number of Bills in the National Assembly and actively participating in debates.
He served as the Minority Leader in the 7th National Assembly and finally clinched the role of Speaker of the House of Representatives in 2019, demonstrating a gradual and steady climb up the legislative hierarchy.
His record of opposition and reform during Ya’adua regime
During his time in the legislature, Gbajabiamila was known for his effective role as an opposition leader. His prominence was particularly felt during the illness and absence of President Umaru Musa Yar’adua when he moved a motion invoking the doctrine of necessity, which eventually led to the swearing-in of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan as Acting President.
He was also instrumental in the merger that gave birth to the All Progressives Congress (APC), the party under which President Bola Tinubu was elected. Femi Gbajabiamila was also responsible for rejecting a national award on the grounds that it was not being used in the way it was intended, proposing an amendment to the National Honours Act of 1964 to make the process more stringent.
Gbajabiamila’s commitment to public service and governance reforms
Femi Gbajabiamila has always been passionate about public service and has advocated for a variety of social causes. His leadership saw the quick passage of several key bills, including the Emergency Economic Stimulus Bill during the COVID-19 pandemic. He has also actively participated in international forums and currently serves as the Chairman of the Conference of African Speakers of Parliament.
His initiatives like marking the International Day for Persons Living With Disabilities and a special session for Nigeria’s millions of out-of-school children demonstrate his commitment to inclusivity.
Gbajabiamila’s transition to executive leadership as Chief of Staff
Femi Gbajabiamila was confirmed as Chief of Staff to President Bola Tinubu, On June 2, 2023, a role he assumed on June 14, 2023. His appointment signifies the culmination of his political experience and leadership skills gained from the legislative arm of government. As Chief of Staff, he is expected to use his experience to offer policy advice and coordinate the day-to-day activities of the Presidency.
As he transitions into his new role as Chief of Staff, his extensive experience in law and politics will likely continue to make him a pivotal figure in Nigerian politics.
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