Olufemi Hakeem Gbajabiamila was born on 25 June 1962, to Lateef Gbajabiamila and Olufunke Gbajabiamila in Lagos, Nigeria. He attended Mainland Preparatory School for elementary education and Igbobi College in 1973, where he completed his secondary education. Subsequently, he enrolled at King William’s College on the Isle of Man, United Kingdom for his A-Level. He was accepted into the University of Lagos, Nigeria. He graduated with a Bachelor of Law (LL.B.) with honours in 1983 and was called to the Nigerian bar in 1984
He first worked for the law firm, Bentley Edu & Co. in Lagos, before establishing his own law firm, Femi Gbaja & Co He later obtained his Juris Doctor from the John Marshall Law School in Atlanta, Georgia, the United States, passed the Georgia bar exam in 2001, and opened a law practice there. He actively participated in Bill Campbell’s election as mayor of Atlanta while he was still in the USA.
Gbajabiamila was first chosen to serve the Surulere I constituency in Lagos State in the House of Representatives in 2003. He was re-elected and had six (6) terms in a row.
In the seventh National Assembly, Gbajabiamila served as the minority leader in the House of Representatives.
Gbajabiamila served as the chair of the House of Representatives’ special committee that was looking into allegations made by the Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON) regarding debts owed by “Zenon Petroleum & Gas Limited” and “Forte Oil Plc” totaling 140.9 billion naira (or $1 billion) in total.
Gbajabiamila received 283 votes, while Mohammed Umar Bago received 78 votes, to win the position of speaker of the 9th National Assembly’s House of Representatives.
Gbajabiamila passionately cared about issues that affected his constituents and all of Nigeria in the House. He became known as a brilliant legislator.
After serving in the House of Representatives for 20 years, he resigned on June 14, 2023, to take a position as Bola Tinubu’s chief of staff.
President Muhammadu Buhari awarded him the title of Commander of the Order of the Federal Republic (CFR) in October 2022.
Controversies and Corruption Allegations
According to GISTLOVER Mr. Gbajabiamila received a five-year suspension on July 2, 2015. On July 1, 2020, the suspension was formally authorized as a termination of his membership. At the time of his violations in the U.S., Mr. Gbajabiamila, who joined the Georgia State Bar on June 29, 2001, was serving as Speaker of the House of Representatives.
He is no longer permitted to practice law in the state of Georgia, a representative told GIVERLOVER
After Mr. Gbajabiamila admitted to stealing $25,000 from a client, the Georgia Supreme Court unanimously decided to suspend him for 36 months. After serving out his suspension, he was reinstated, but after committing another infraction, he was finally fired.
The court noted at the time that Mr. Gbajabiamila, who had only joined the bar in 2001, “admits that he accepted payment of $25,000 as settlement of a client’s personal injury claims, deposited those funds in his attorney trust account in January 2003, failed to promptly disburse those funds to his client, withdrew those funds for his own use, closed his practice, and moved out of the country.”.
In order to receive a lesser punishment, such as being disbarred, Mr. Gbajabiamila, who had been a federal lawmaker for almost four years prior to the verdict, paid the money back in 2006, a year before the verdict.
While Mr.Gbajabiamila has already paid a price for his well-documented transgressions in the U. S, his corruption in Nigeria has gone unpunished over a period of time that lasted from the early 2006 to 2020.
In 2021, Mr Gbajabiamila was among top lawmakers and government ministers who received heavy bribes from private businessmen to undercut local communities in passing the controversial 2021 law regulating the Nigerian hydrocarbon industry.
Recent accusations that he accepted bribes to sell important government positions have come from within his own party.
He was accused of unchecked corruption that could seriously damage Mr. Tinubu’s administration in a video made by the youth wing of the ruling All Progressives Congress. Some of his supporters have labeled those running the campaign as saboteurs, though he has yet to refute the accusations.