Majority leader of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has reacted to the backlash he has received from Nigerians following the N75m customized Mercedez Benz G-Wagon he gave to his wife at her 50th birthday bash recently.
In a statement released this morning, Gbajabiamila says he saved up the money he used to buy the SUV. Read the statement below
My attention has been drawn to the extensive reports especially on social media regarding the presentation of a gift to my wife and best friend in celebration of her 50th birthday anniversary.
Naturally I had anticipated this occasion for quite a while and prepared by saving up for it in the last couple of years. I took the decision far back to present her with a significant gift, she was totally unaware of, to convey in part, the debt of my gratitude to her for standing by me through ‘thick and thin’. 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.
The presentation of the gift contrary to public perception, was to be a family affair in our home but it suffered some delays finally arriving when a number of guests were in to celebrate with my wife. It still would have remained a private affair, but I guess we underestimated the power of social media and very excited friends.
Having said this, I understand and appreciate the reaction of the public. As a public official, one must be held to a higher standard. My action was not meant to offend sensibilities and I regret that it did.
Being a leader in many spheres, I can very well understand the optics of it. But I would rather want it to be seen as what it is. An expression of deep appreciation and love for my wife of almost thirty years, rather than one of flamboyance.
I remain truly committed to my values of improving lives for my constituents and Nigerians at large. As the records will show, I have consistently expended much more in achieving this goal especially within my constituency, than I spend on my wife.
I thank you for your understanding
Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila