Before We Crucify Femi Gbajabiamila…
It wouldn’t be hyperbolic to say that Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila suffers the brute end of hasty generalisation. No thanks to a piece of information that he doled out a whooping N50 million, to purchase a Mercedes Benz G-Wagon for his wife, Salamatu, as a gift on her 50th anniversary, the lawmaker has become the butt of nasty jabs and ripostes, across new and traditional media.
In the corrupted currents of criticisms and wild offensives trailing his affectionate treat to his wife, the legislator representing Surulere 1 Lagos Constituency, at the Federal House of Representatives, is flummoxed at the turn of events.
While it is worthy of note that Gbajabiamila suffers a curious case of misdirected angst, this is not to launder the image of the House Leader, but to assert the fidelity and stoic perseverance of genius within the footholds of power and politics.
There seems to be a general consensus in the court of public opinion that Gbajabiamila goofed in presenting his wife such an expensive gift on her golden jubilee, at a period when the economy has just been barely pulled out of recession and his religion, Islam, expects him to be ascetic.
Such train of thought however, fails to take cognizance of the lawmaker’s noble exploits and antecedents as patriot-democrat and a man of the people.
Critics of Gbajabiamila will do right to acknowledge that his salaried income of over 15 years puts him in good stead to make such acquisition in honour of his wife. What lawmakers earn is another matter but the fact remains that such gift is very affordable to a man in Gbajabiamila’s position.
The four-time House of Representatives member has reacted in his quest to set the records straight and disabuse the public mind against the notion created by the deliberately skewed news.
Gbajabiamila, whom many have acknowledged as one of the shinning lights of the 8th National Assembly and one of the most meticulous and committed legislators in Nigeria on the basis of his robust representation and ever-present empowerment programmes whose beneficiaries extend beyond his Surulere 1 Federal Constituency, took out time to render his stewardship on the one hand, and how he had been saving towards the event in appreciation of a wife who has been his loyal friend and stood by him through thick and thin.
According to the Majority Leader of the House of Representatives, the birthday celebration was not an impromptu event but one that had been anticipated and planned for over a couple of years, to convey his gratitude to a wife who has weathered all kinds of storm with him.
“I could never have been half the man I am today without her support and unbelievable understanding. Truly, the monetary value of any gift real or imagined, pales in significance when I consider how much of a ‘rock and pillar’ she has been to me…(it was) an expression of deep appreciation and love for my wife of almost 30 years, rather than one of flamboyance,” Gbajabiamila said.
He explained that he was not unmindful of the pervasive poverty bedevilling the country, and especially the need to be conservative and ascetic in the month of Ramadan. He took these into consideration and decided to make the matter a private family affair witnessed by relatives and friends in moderate numbers.
Ordinarily, that kind of event would have attracted the crème de la crème due to Gbajabiamila’s clout and political network