Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has revealed how ethnicity and religion influenced the last presidential and National Assembly elections.
According to The PUNCH, the speaker while addressing members of the House of Reps Press Corps on Tuesday evening said that the electorates were more particular about religion and ethnicity instead of the quality of the candidates.
Gbajabiamila said, “It was a hard-won battle not just for me but for many of our colleagues on the floor (of the House) there…all 360 of us. Many were unlucky. Some were lucky. I used the word ‘lucky’ deliberately because this election was not as it should be; not so much about the performance of members whether on the floor or in their constituencies.
“It was about a lot of other things. It was about religion. It was about ethnicity. It was about so many other things which I hope that as we develop as a nation, one’s election would be based solely, or at least mostly, on his or her performance on the floor and in the constituency. That is why I fought tooth and nail to make sure the Electoral Act adopted strictly the direct mode for primaries because of elections.”
He added, “Even though at the general elections members lost, a lot of members actually lost their elections at the primaries where their acceptance by the constituents was not put to test. What was put to test was what one or two leaders in their constituencies determined, whether they were returning or not. So, we lost a lot of legislators even at the primaries level, and that does not help our democracy.”