ABUJA, Nigeria – The National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole, on Thursday, commended the commitment and patriotism of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila towards the quick passage of the 2020 budget.
The APC national chairman also lauded the efforts of the Gbajabiamila-led House, especially members of the APC Caucus, for ensuring the passage of the Deep Offshore Agreement Sharing Formula law.
Oshiomhole, who led other members of the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) on a visit to Gbajabiamila said: “I commend you for the way you handled the deep offshore bill. You have shown true patriotism in doing that. The last leadership of the National Assembly didn’t do this.
”It’s to your credit and all the members of the House that, this time around, you all decided in unison, to put the country first before any other thing. You made huge sacrifices.
“The other thing is to also appreciate the clear difference when you received the (2020) budget. We were privileged to be in the hallowed chamber, and we had no difficulty compared to the way the president was received just about this time a year ago.
“That shows qualitative style in leadership and determination by the APC Caucus to do its part to ensure that the Executive and the Legislature work for the good of the country so that the party can be proud when next we’re pushing people for election or reelection,” Oshiomhole said.
”We’re aware that you decided to abstain and encourage your members to give priority to the budget unlike the previous years, such that even where you have other individual or group commitment outside the country, they had to sacrifice that to give the budget the kind of treatment that it deserves so that it can be passed timeously, unlike the previous years.
The APC national chairman also expressed appreciation to the Speaker for the support he has been extending to the party, saying ”We’ve seen your comments and positions on critical issues. You align your position with that of the party, and we’re very grateful.”
Responding, the Speaker thanked the APC National Chairman for the thank you visit, which he said was the first of its kind since he has been in the National Assembly.
“Let me say a big thank you to you because as we’re witnessing first, first and first in the activities of the House, this is the first time that we’re seeing the NWC come just to say thank you.
“There’s no other agenda or item. We thought for you to come here, there was something on the agenda for us. Members, I can assure you, right now feel recognised, that you’ve recognised the work that they’ve done.
“Mr chairman, let me also congratulate the party on our recent double victory in Kogi and Bayelsa states. The fact that we came out victorious in both elections is a success, and much of it goes to the party.
“We believe that moving forward, we’re beginning to see what 2023 would look like.
”I’ve mentioned this to the President, the Chief of Staff and everybody that cares to listen that this is the first time that I’ve seen members work on the budget. We were having dinner at about 10.pm, and I told him that ‘if you go to the National Assembly right now, you’ll find my members there working on the budget. You’ll find them processing the budget without looking for any thank you or anything like that.’
“It has never happened. They took it seriously and worked hard. The commitment, the passion and the dedication were unparalleled. So, that you recognised us, we say thank you again. Moving forward, it shows what a majority party should look like.”
The Speaker noted that the APC members stood their ground to ensure the passage of the Deep Offshore Agreement Bill, saying “I can tell you for free that some of those companies got to some members on the floor, not APC members.
“But we were able to put our foot down and understand that this is the majority party, this is what our government wants. And we did what we needed to do. I’ll be unfair if I don’t say that the PDP members, a good majority of them also worked with us on this.”