Femi Gbajabiamila, The Burden Of Being A US Fraud Convict & The Position Of Speaker, Nigeria’s House Of Representatives.

Femi Gbajabiamila.

This must be one of the most challenging times for the Leader of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, who is contesting for the position of the number four citizen, but carrying on with the burden of guilt over his now very popular fraud conviction in the United States of America.

                        
The court case, instituted by one Mr. Philip Undie, at the Federal High Court, Abuja, wherein he is seeking the removal of Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila from the House of Representative over his alleged conviction in the United States of America for fraud related offences.

Undie is praying the court to restrain the House of Representatives of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the Attorney General of the Federation and the All Progressives Congress, who are the First to Fourth defendants in the matter, from recognizing Gbajabiamila as a member of the House of Representatives and as an aspirant for the office of the Speaker of the House.

The plaintiff submitted that under Section 66(1) (C) and (D) of the 1999 Constitution and the verdict of the Supreme Court of Georgia, “the mood of our nation today will not warrant placing the position of the Speaker of the House of Representatives on the hands of any individual that has a tainted or questionable character.”

In an originating summons before the court, Philip Undie is contending that Gbajabiamila, who was convicted for $25, 000 fraud by the Supreme Court of the State of Georgia, USA, is not a fit and proper person to be elected as a member of the House of Representatives and/or as the speaker of the House of Representatives of the 9th National Assembly.

The summons dated 20th May, 2019 was filed on 21st May, 2019 by Undie’s counsel, Ayodele Justice Esq.

Undie stated in an affidavit attached to the motion that due to political wind in the country, he conducted background checks on Gbajabiamila, who is contesting for the speakership of the House, and found out that he was on February 26, 2007 convicted for fraud and dishonesty in the sum of $25, 000 belonging to a client in the USA as a settlement of the client’s personal injury claims deposited in the Attorney Trust Account in January, 2003 and that Gbajabiamila violated Rule 1-15(1) of Georgia Rules of Professional Conduct set forth in Bar Rule 4-102(d), which is punishable with disbarment and was suspended from Law practice in the USA for 36 months (three years) even though he refunded the client’s money in 2006 and “his lawyers filed a certification of compliance of the Supreme Court ruling as of March 2007.”

The affidavit further averred that, “It is in the interest of justice to grant the plaintiff’s prayers as no single person’s ambition is worth the diminishing of our collective patrimony in good governance and social justice”, adding that the certified true copy of the Judgment of the Supreme Court of Georgia, Atlanta, USA in suit No. S06Y0829 in the disciplinary matter of Femi Gbaja Per Curiam, in a concurrent judgment led by Chief Justice of the State of Georgia, Justice Hugh Thompson and six others, was issued on 12th June, 2015 by the Clerk of the court, Theresa Barnes.

“The name Femi Gbaja being the name he was referred to in the case file, accepted payment of $25, 000 as personal injury claims and deposited those funds in his attorney’s trust account in January 2003, but failed to disburse the funds to his client; instead, he withdrew the funds, closed his practice and left for Nigeria where he ran for elections to represent Surulere I Federal Constituenct in the Federal House of Representatives under the banner of Alliance for Democracy (AD) in 2003.

Upon arrival in Nigeria, curiously, Mr Gbaja added another name to avoid detection, he is known in Nigeria with a compound name ‘Femi Gbaja-Biamila'”, papers attached to the affidavit reads.

So, some of us are wondering what exactly goes through the mind of the Dis-Honourable when, knowing he wasn’t fit to be a member of the House of Representatives in the first place, is now seeking for the highest position in the Chamber?

And then, the fight against corruption, which is supposed to be the real agenda of the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration is being dragged to the mud if the President and his party members would allow a man with a fraud conviction hanging over his head become Speaker of one of its legislative chambers.