TEXT OF PRESS CONFERENCE BY CHAIRMAN HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES COMMITTEE ON MEDIA & PUBLICITY, HON. ABDULRAZAK NAMDAS ON 26 JULY 2016:
You will recall that on Wednesday, July 20, 2016, Hon. Abdulmumin Jibrin was removed from his position as Chairman of the House Committee on Appropriations and replaced by Hon. Mustapha Bala Dawaki. This was done in exercise of the powers conferred on Mr. Speaker by the House Rules to appoint and remove Committee Chairmen and Deputies in consultation with the House Leadership.
On that occasion, the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara, had stated that Jibrin’s removal was a decision of the House Leadership and that incidentally, after that decision, Hon. Abdulmumin himself approached him on the floor of the House, just before he made the announcement, notifying him that the pressure on him was beyond what he could bear and that he no longer desired to continue as Chairman.
Strangely, after this, Hon. Abdulmumin went into a press war in which he is maligning, misrepresenting and denigrating the Speaker, the Leadership, the entire members of the House and indeed the House of Representatives as an institution.
It has become imperative that we clarify some of the issues he has raised to set the record straight.
2. SOME REASONS WHY HON. ABDULMUMIN JIBRIN WAS REMOVED:
His removal was based on sundry acts of misconduct, incompetence, immaturity, total disregard for his colleagues and abuse of the budgetary process, among others.
a. Immaturity and lack of capacity to handle the Office of Chairman, Appropriations:
One of the fundamental reasons why the House Leadership removed him is that, he was found not to be fit and proper person to hold such a sensitive office which exposes him to high officials of government at all levels.
Furthermore, in the course of the performance of his duties as Chairman of Appropriations Committee, it became evident that he does not possess the temperament and maturity required for such a high office.
b. Tendency and proclivity to blackmail colleagues and high government officials and misuse and mishandle sensitive government information:
He was in the habit of collating, warehousing and manipulating sensitive information to blackmail people sometimes apparently for pecuniary purposes. And by virtue of his position as Appropriations Chairman, he usually met with very high and senior public officers at all levels.
The Speaker and the Leadership were inundated with complaints by heads of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) over harassment from the House Appropriations Chairman to engage in conduct and acts unbecoming of their offices.
The Leadership launched an internal investigation into these allegations and was largely satisfied that action had to be taken to remove him, in the interest of the integrity of the House.
One clear example is the insertion of Funds for the so called Muhammadu Buhari Film Village in his Constituency in Kano without the consent or solicitation of Mr. President. This has brought both Mr. President and the government to disrepute.
Again, it was found out that he was fond of inserting projects into prominent persons’ constituencies without their knowledge to curry favour and possibly use it as a means of blackmail against them when necessary.
One of such is the numerous projects he claimed in a Channels TV interview in April 2016, to have cited in Mr. President’s home town of Daura, Katsina State without Mr. President’s solicitation or knowledge, in a desperate attempt to blackmail Mr. President as an answer and justification for allocation of N4.1 billion to his constituency when confronted by the interviewer.
He did not stop there. Hon Abdulmumin went about soliciting Honourable members to nominate projects for him to help them include in the Budget. When called upon to defend his actions as Appropriation’s Chairman, all he did was to be calling names of those members and the amount he helped include for them in the Budget in an unsuccessful bid to silence them. Most of the affected members took serious exceptions to his despicable antics and sundry acts of blackmail and protested to the Leadership to prevail on Hon Abdulmumin to expunge from the Budget what he claimed he allocated to them since they did not solicit for those projects.
To attempt to drag the name of Mr President, Honourable members and others to his new low through sundry acts of blackmail was one of the matters the House Leadership found off limits and totally unacceptable.
c. Unacceptable Mismanagement of the 2016 Budgetary Process:
i. It was also discovered that the former Chairman, Appropriations, discreetly and clandestinely allocated monies for projects that are not clearly defined in the budget for the purposes of exploiting the ambiguities for personal gains.
ii. Furthermore, he was found to be responsible for some bogus allocations in the budget for projects that have no locations and were apparently never meant to be executed.
iii. Hon. Jibrin’s mishandling of the 2016 budget process nearly fractured the otherwise cordial relationship between the Executive and the Legislature and brought the National Assembly and the government to public ridicule.
iv. For reasons that were not noble and not in the Public Interest, Hon Abdulmumin had initially inflated the Budget by adding about N250b more to the total figure as submitted by Mr President. This, the National Assembly Leadership out rightly rejected as a form of financial recklessness and inability to appreciate the dwindling resources available to government necessitating that we act prudently. He was directed therefore to make even further cuts below Mr Presidents total figure.
v. Hon Abdulmumin, in his desperation to ingratiate himself into the good books of the Presidency, unilaterally entered into commitments on the structure of the Budget, without the knowledge of the National Assembly Leadership, in the full knowledge, not only that he had no authority to do so, but dishonestly had no intentions of keeping to those commitments, having done the exact opposite in processing the budget details. This brought the House into disrepute as it portrayed the National Assembly and its leadership as persons who couldn’t keep their word.
vi. He displayed crass ineptitude and general lack of capacity to handle the work, thereby serving as a clog in the appropriations process. He contributed significantly to the delays in the passage of the Appropriation Bill. No one, not even his Deputy and Members of the Appropriations Committee, could reach him at certain periods during the budget process.
Indeed on the last day of the exercise, he went underground to avoid being compelled to show areas he had hidden most of the cuts he claimed he made, an act which amounted to gross insubordination and an attempt to hold captive, all involved in the budget chain to the point of entirely frustrating the passage of the Budget.
The tripartite Committee of the Senate, House and Executive thus completed the 2016 Budget without Hon Abdulmumin as he was hiding, believing that the job could not be done without him.
vii. Confirming some of the reasons for his removal and true to type, Hon Abdulmumin has since after his sack, resorted to blackmail, his stock in trade. He has released documents from dubious sources in a desperate bid to lure gullible members of the public to his side. Mr Speaker’s inputs to the 2016 Budget was signed and delivered to him. If he has honour, let him release the signed inputs of Mr Speaker and not pieces of paper that bears no acknowledged authorship. Our counsel to Hon Abdulmumin is for him to be real as a man by bringing up credible, authentic and verifiable documents or stubborn facts which disclose the commission of crime on the part of any Member or Leader of the House. If he can’t, then let him go and sulk in secret over his sack.
3. LOSS OF CREDIBILITY:
a. It also came to the knowledge of Leadership that the allocations for these developmental projects meant for the Appropriations and Finance Committees’ members were neither disclosed nor properly and equitably distributed by Hon. Jibrin to them which contributed to massive agitations for his removal.
b. The Leadership was also in receipt of complaints about his activities as Chair of Finance Committee in the 7th Assembly, which had potentials to embarrass the House because of his current position as Chair of the Appropriations Committee.
Investigations found that from 2011 – 2015 Hon Abdulmumin domiciled with Hadejia – Jama’are River Basin Authority and few other MDAs some of the allocations meant for his former Finance Committee members some of whom are still members of the 8th Assembly. He was alleged to have aided the use of front companies that collected funds without executing most of the projects. The Projects have been compiled and will at the appropriate time be referred to the Anti Graft Agencies to establish why the projects were fully paid for and not executed, who collected the funds and why has Hon Abdulmumin not raised any alarm about the non execution of the projects even now?
c. Twice, in Executive Sessions, members unanimously and vehemently demanded that the Speaker remove Hon. Abdulmumin Jibrin from the Appropriations Committee for gross abuse of his position as Chairman.However, the Speaker, tried to manage the situation but members did not relent on their agitations for his removal not only for gross abuse of his position but also for the poor and incompetent handling of 2016 appropriation process.
d. The Leadership also observed with embarrassment that since his mismanagement of 2016 Budget process, every time Hon Abdulmumin gets up to speak on the floor of the House, there was spontaneous chorus of ole! ole,! ole! or thief! thief! thief! Barawo! Barawo! Barawo! from Hon. members which climaxed in a motion to have him removed as Chairman, Appropriations.
e. It is regrettably true that Hon Abdulmumin was entrusted with critical aspects of the budget, but he is not the sole author of the budget as he appears to be portraying himself. Every reasonable person knows that it is a bare faced lie. His stories without corroboration from anyone who was deeply involved in the Budget process is, mere tales by moon light, a fitting story for bed time. If he has any witness, let them speak up in his support. Apparently, he doesn’t know that no one can be convicted even in the court of public opinion based on the evidence of one man.
4. ZONAL/CONSTITUENCY INTERVENTION PROJECTS IS NOT PADDING:
Zonal/Constituency Intervention Projects have their origins in constitutional provisions as encapsulated in the Fundamental Objectives and Directive Principles of State Policy requiring the government to ensure equitable distribution of resources and infrastructure.
The idea of Zonal/Constituency Intervention projects arose as a result of the need to carry every part of the country along in allocation of projects in the budget, and to address the imbalance in line with federal character principles as enshrined in the Constitution.
In recent years, there has always been standing lump sum allocation for the implementation of Zonal/Constituency Intervention Projects in every budget proposal from Mr. President including the 2016 budget, as mutually agreed between the Executive and the Legislature.
The entire annual budget estimates once presented by Mr. President, is referred to the Appropriations Committee for further legislative input and scrutiny at the conclusion of the Second Reading.
While it is prerogative of National Assembly members to decide the projects and their locations, it is the prerogative of the relevant MDAs to choose the contractors, award the projects and to execute. For emphasis, the general impression that monies are given to members of the National Assembly to execute projects is incorrect and unfounded.
The allocation of the funds earmarked for Zonal/Constituency intervention projects has customarily and traditionally been distributed between the Senate and the House in the ratio of 40-60 as done in the 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th Assemblies.
The leadership of both Chambers, including the Appropriations and Finance Committees are normally and traditionally allocated certain percentages of these funds, for inclusion in the Appropriation Bill for projects. The remaining are distributed to members of the National Assembly for inclusion of their preferred projects in the Budget. This has also been the established tradition over the years.
For the avoidance of doubt, the 8th House of Representatives under the leadership of Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara, has not deviated from established practices, precedents and traditions in this matter.
It is necessary to emphasise that these budgetary allocations are meant for developmental projects under the purview of these leaders in their Constituencies and at other levels and not for their personal benefit. And certainly they are not allocations of money or contracts! These projects include roads, bridges, water supply, electricity, schools, skill acquisitions etc. They are projects that can be located either in the Exclusive Legislative List or Concurrent List.
It should be noted also that arising from oversight and House Resolutions on specific critical needs, the Leadership is obliged to accommodate some projects that may have been omitted or are not captured in Mr. President’s proposal.
5. POWERS OF NATIONAL ASSEMBLY ON APPROPRIATION:
The powers of the National Assembly on appropriation are clearly spelt out in Sections 4, 59 and 80 (4) of the 1999 Constitution.
Section 4, empowers the National Assembly to make laws for good governance of the federation while Section 59 confers on the Legislature final say on the budget.
Section 80 (4) on the other hand, which confers on the legislature absolute power of control over public funds, states that: “No money shall be withdrawn from the Consolidated Revenue Fund or any other public fund of the Federation, EXCEPT IN THE MANNER PRESCRIBED BY THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY”. The word MANNER confers absolute legislative discretion.
When therefore, the National Assembly appropriates funds in the budget, it CAN NEVER under any circumstances or guise be deemed or regarded as tinkering or padding.
The legislature is therefore constitutionally incapable of padding the budget.
What the Executive submits are mere estimates and proposal as stipulated in Section 81 (1). It is obvious that the Constitution uses the word ESTIMATES advisedly.
Consequently, it is therefore an exhibition of crass ignorance, abuse of language, outright mischief and or blackmail for a legislator especially one who chaired the Appropriations Committee to use the word PADDING to describe the action of parliament on the budget.
The removal, introduction of projects or the amendment of Mr. President’s estimates in the Appropriation Bill CANNOT AND SHOULD NEVER BE CONSTRUED AS AN ACT OF CORRUPTION OR IMPROPRIETY because it is at the core of appropriation powers of the National Assembly as aptly enshrined in the 1999 Constitution. It is therefore clear, that no crime or wrong doing can be legitimately imputed on the actions or conduct of Mr. Speaker, the Leadership or Members of the House of Representatives before, during and after the passage of the 2016 Appropriation Bill.
After the House Leadership reviewed all the issues raised above, it was left with no option but to respect the wishes of the overwhelming majority of Hon. Members to remove Hon Abdulmumin as Chairman, Appropriations Committee of the House. It was clear to the entire Leadership that in this government of change, Hon Abdulmumin lacks the character and credentials to chair the House Committee on Appropriations.
I am aware that in accordance with the Rules of the House, this matter will at the appropriate time go to the Committee on Ethics and Privileges where Hon. Abdulmumin Jibrin will be afforded the opportunity of fair hearing.
SPEAKER YAKUBU DOGARA AND OTHER MEMBERS OF HIS SHAMELESS QUARTET ARE STILL LIVING IN THE PAST
I have read the statement issued by Hon Namdas who is being used illegally by the QUARTET of Speaker Dogara and 3 others to give an impression that the entire House will support and suppress corruption. I have raised serious allegations of corruption against them and rather than raise corruption allegations against me and defend themselves against the ones I raised, they are busy accusing me of immaturity and some lame and ambitious stories and compendium of lies they choose to tell in a complete waste of time for the National Assembly press Corp.
In any case, unlike the 4 of them, I will respond to all the issues they raised in due course, God grace. I have called the 4 of them very corrupt public officers. I stand by my statement that they have grossly abuse their offices and public trust. Can they look at me and say same? I am glad I now have the opening that I so badly crave to expose corruption in the House. If you have anything on me, feel free and bring it on! Nigerians should read the statement of Hon Namdas and judge for themselves. You will clearly see people who are desperately looking for something to nail me. Let me reemphasis that I did nothing wrong and committed no offense. We cant just agree because they are corrupt and I am not. If they have problem with my bluntness and courage, I am sorry, I am not going to change!
To Speaker Yakubu Dogara, Deputy Speaker Yusuf Lasun, Whip Alhassan Doguwa and Minority Leader Leo Ogor. The big questions and grievous allegations our colleagues Hon Members of House of Representatives, Security and Anti corruption agencies fellow Nigerias and as the No. 4 citizen of the Federal republic of Nigeria, Africans and the world at large are watching and asking you to answer these twenty questions;
1. Why did you take the decision to fraudulently shortchange the House by taken away 40 billion naira out of the 100 billion naira allocated for constituency projects and distributing same to yourself and others without the approval of the House?
2. Why did you approach the former house appropriation chairman with written personal requests and list of about 30 billion naira to be inserted into the 2016 budget and his inability to get that done caused a major rift between you all and him?
3. Why did you insert wasteful projects for your various constituencies worth about 20billion naira despite the former appropriation chairman professional advice against such?
4. Why did you ignore his complaint to you that just about 10 standing committees of the House inserted over 2000 projects worth 284 billion naira?
5. Why did you take away the appropriation committee secretariat on two occasions where several insertions were made into the budget which created avoidable tension during the budget process?
6. Why did you direct the former appropriation chair which he rejected to create a strange line item in the service wide vote to allow for a 20 billion naira insertion into the budget under the name of NASS using a former PDP Senator and top politician?
7. Why are you trying to scam members with a fraudulent arrangement to deduct monthly from money meant for members office running cost to fund a so called mortgage arrangement?
8. Why did you abuse your office in a conflict of interest directed an agency to grant loans and a construction company to work on your Asokoro plot and arrange frequent private meetings with heads of MDA’s?
9. why did you allocate to yourselves the entire 20% inputs reserved for the House after the harmonization exercise?
10. How much did you collect for rent of house and guests houses and how much did Hon Herma Hembe steal from the money that caused the outburst of Lasun?
11. why are you trying to drag the entire House and illegally using the official spokesman of the House into allegations that were made on you and the 3 others ONLY?
12. Why did you consistently block the former chairman appropriation from briefing Hon members and denied him his right to be heard by his colleagues on this matter?
13. Why did you scuttle his effort and Sen Goje’s to assist Mr. President after working so hard consulting ministers on the budget out of envy and vindictiveness that Mr. President granted them audience without you?
14. Why did you insist and ensured that the immunity clause for the House principal officers is inserted into our agenda despite huge resistance from members and the general public?
15. Why did you connive with 5 other members of the House to use some elements of the Nigerian police and thugs in an attempt to blackmail, kidnap, intimidate and silence him and his family?
16. Why are you desperately going round media houses offering money to silent the statements of the former appropriation chairman?
17. Why has it taken you this long to put together such a lame story of why you “sacked” the former appropriation chairman after admitting on national TV that he resigned?
18. Is it true that you left a huge mess and allegations of money laundering against you as chairman House services both in the 6th and 7th House?
19. Why have you refused to open up the financial dealings and details of internal budget of the House to your colleagues, Hon members?
20. WHY DO YOU HAVE PROBLEMS WITH RECONVENING THE HOUSE IMMEDIATELY TO ALLOW FOR AN INDEPENDENT INVESTIGATION ON THE ALLEGATIONS?
‘REQUEST FOR A RETRACTION AND AN APOLOGY OF A LIBELOUS PRESS STATEMENT ISSUED BY YOU ON MONDAY 25TH JULY, 2016
“We act as solicitors to Rt Hon. Yakubu Dogara, Speaker of House of Representatives of Three Arm Zone National Assembly Complex, Abuja herein after referred to as “our client” and on whose instructions we write this letter to you.
“The attention of our client has been drawn to a libelous press statement you issued on Monday 25th July 2016 which was made available to members of the press (print and electronic media) titled “THE CORRUPT SPEAKER YAKUBU DOGARA AND HIS 3-MAN CABAL”.
“In the said publication, you published words to the following effect concerning our client and three other principal members of the House of Representatives-
“Honourable colleagues and fellow Nigerians, I wish to make further revelations.
Speaker Yakubu Dogara and his senior cabal namely Deputy Speaker Lasun, Whip Doguwa and Minority leader Ogor has (sic) promoted corruption so badly in the House that if President Muhammadu Buhari with his disdain for corruption and corrupt people have the slightest idea, he will ban the QUARTET permanently from the Villa before they eventually allow for proper and unbiased investigation by the House.
Mr Speaker and Deputy Speaker Yusuf Lasun diverted millions of Naira all in the name of paying for guest houses and official residence. The issue became so messy that the Deputy Speaker openly accused Hon Herman Hembe of short changing them of millions of naira in the deal to the shock of many Hon Members.
Speaker Yakubu Dogara frequently abuse his office amounting to conflict of interest by soliciting for inappropriate favours from agencies and Multinational companies.
He forced an agency to grant loans and a construction company blackmailed to do some work at his Asokoro ‘plot’
Speaker Yakubu Dogara has carefully designed a scheme to scam Hon Members through deduction from their salaries certain amount of money for a so called mortgage arrangement to build houses for members. He has been applying every under hand tactics to ensure Members agree to the deal.
“Speaker Yakubu Dogara has consistently refused members access to the financial dealings and internal budget of the House. He runs the financial management of the House like a cult aided and abated by the Chairman House services Hon Babanlle Ila. It is no longer news that all over the House, Hon Members are aware of the monumental fraud perpetrated by Speaker Yakubu Dogara in this regard.
We are even told that this is a child’s play compared to the mess and allegations of money laundering he left behind as Chairman house services in both the 6th and 7th Assembly. The EFCC should have something to start working with in respect to his tenure as Chairman House services if they properly dust their files.”
“These members of the body of principal officers were not comfortable with my independent disposition and my refusal to cover up their unilateral decision to allocate to themselves N40bn out of the N100bn allocated to the entire National Assembly.
The four of them met and took that decision, in addition to billions of wasteful projects running to over 20bn, they allocated to their constituencies. They must come out clean. My inability to admit into the budget almost 30bn personal requests from Mr. Speaker and the three other principal officers, also became an issue.”
It continued, “The personal references are obviously directed at our client, and amount to a very serious libel.
“By the said publication and without putting to the public any shred of evidence, our client is portrayed as a criminal, corrupt, dishonest, fraudulent, dishonourable and unfit to hold the position of Speaker of House of Representatives.
“Our client’s reputation has further been brought down in the estimation of right thinking members of the society and he has been thrown into public opprobrium, odium, scorn and ridicule.
“Consequently, we consider your publication on the matter as not only libelous but made in bad faith; an act of vendetta owing to your recent removal as the Chairman of House Committee on Appropriation.
“The said publication is also aimed at causing disaffection between Nigerians and members of the House of Representatives.
“Sequel to the above, we have to request you to submit immediately to us a clear and unqualified apology and retraction of the publication in an equally conspicuous position in all the print and electronic media where the publication appeared.
“TAKE NOTICE that in the event of your failure/refusal to comply with the above mentioned demands within seven (7) days of your receipt of this letter, we have further instructions to institute a suit against you in a court of law.
If we have to pursue this course, we shall be claiming aggravated and exemplary damages.
For: Professor Joash Ojo Amupitan (SAN) & Co
Professor Joash Amupitan, SAN
THREAT OF LEGAL ACTION BY YAKUBU DOGARA AND MY RESPONSE TO THE PRESS CONFERENCE BY HON ABDULRAZAK NAMDAS ACTING ILLEGALLY AND WITHOUT THE CONSENT OF THE HOUSE ON BEHALF OF THE QUARTET OF SPEAKER YAKUBU DOGARA, DEPUTY SPEAKER YUSUF LASUN, HOUSE WHIP ALHASSAN DOGUWA AND MINORITY LEADER LEO OGOR
After going through the press text by Hon Namdas, I had made up my mind not to bother wasting my time responding to a much publicized press conference that turned out an anti climax but for my Hon Colleagues and general public who may fall for such cheap blackmail, I had to respond. All the accusations were a compendium of lies put together by the QUARTET who are desperately looking for something to nail me but can’t find anything. Again for the purpose of emphasis I did nothing wrong neither have I abused my office, public trust or corruptly enriched my self. The press statement surely failed to make allegations on me with precision like the specific allegations that I have raised against the QUARTET which they are yet to respond to a single one!
I will respond to the lies they told one after the other and explain other issues I believe my Hon colleagues and the public should know. As I mentioned in the past, I had written a lot on some of these issues especially the 2016 budget which I intend to publish in my personal memoir LIFE AT 40: MY STORY as part of my 40th birthday in September. The memoir when published will give an insight on my life so that the public will understand some of these issues in proper perspective.
Let me also state that the way and manner Hon members of the house, civil society groups, security and anti corruption agencies and the general public handle these issues and allegations will certainly determine if people in different sectors who have the courage to fight corruption, abuse of trust and offices will have the necessary support and encouragement to step up. Just imagine if these QUARTET and their accomplice like Hon Herma Hembe are found guilty and sent to jail. It will be a defining moment and a huge accomplishment for our fight against corruption.
Today, my lawyers have officially approached the EFCC and ICPC towards working out a date for me to submit my petition and brief the agencies. Rather than respond to my allegations, he is threatening me with court action. I stand by my allegations against Speaker Yakubu Dogara and 3 others and I shall neither apologize nor withdraw my statement. I know he will rush to court in order to invoke the house rules that matter in court cannot be heard on the floor of the house. He failed to realize that the rules are not intended to protect corrupt people. It is such a shame.
DISPLAYED IMMATURITY AND LACK TEMPERAMENT, DEALING WITH TOP GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS AMONG OTHER SIMILAR LIES
At the level these matter had gotten to I expected that what ever they will accuse me of should be backed with instances. They failed to cite such instances where I had displayed such qualities. This is how we have systematically destroyed our institutions because “maturity” and the right “temperament” is when you can cover corruption, injustice and abuse of office and public trust and you cannot stand up anywhere you are for the truth without minding whose ox is gored. If that is the definition of maturity to the QUARTET, then I shall gladly remain immature for the rest of my life. I am not new to dealing with highly placed government officials. They probably failed to research properly about me. With the risk of sounding immodest, I started very in life. I started business at the age of 19. I started meeting a Nigerian president in my mid twenties. I have had an extensive experience over the last two decades in the process building a massive network in both the political, business, academia, traditional, religious, union and civil society among others in Nigeria and beyond. I was prepared for leadership.
COLLATING SENSITIVE GOVERNMENT INFORMATION TO BLACKMAIL AND COMPLAIN OF HARASSMENT
Who did I blackmail? No instances were provided just complete lies. It is a no news that I will have access and insight on a lot of government information both classified and non having served as chairman of the sensitive finance committee of the House and until recently appropriation committee. But because of my family upbringing, experience in life, training and mentorship I have enjoyed all my life, I grew up to be very organized by nature. I document everything that should be documented. I keep a diary of events. Hardly is there any record regarding my job that I cannot produce and hardly is there anything you will ask that I cannot explain or defend. I thought that should not scare or intimidate any upright leader who has nothing to hide but should attract any leader to utilize such qualities effectively. No, that will not attract Speaker Dogara and his 3 cohorts who are so small minded and prefer to have a small group of mediocres around them. I think they were shocked to realize that I have everything documented. I did NOT document it to blackmail anyone but just to keep the records as part of my responsibility. However, if the need arises to use such documents to expose corruption and abuse of office, I shall not hesitate to give it out even at the risk of such blackmail and propaganda from the QUARTET
Here again they failed to cite just a single instance. Which agency did I harass? For what? It is my tradition in the House except under such necessary circumstances, I do not see heads of MDA’S like the way Speaker Dogara has converted his office and home, and guest houses to center of pilgrimage for head of MDAs. I don’t go to government offices except on oversight. I will wait for Speaker Dogara to tell the country who I harassed.
LEADERSHIP LAUNCHED AN INTERNAL INVESTIGATION AND FOUND ME GUILTY
This accusation alone is enough for my colleagues and Nigerians to clearly see the desperation, manipulation, lies, blackmail and the poor quality of leadership of the QUARTET. When was the internal investigation instituted? Who are those that conducted the investigation? How come I only knew I was investigated through your press statement yesterday? Why wasn’t I given fair hearing? Under which house rules was I investigated without my knowledge? Where is the report of the investigation? Isn’t this the same speaker Dogara that openly defended our 3 colleagues accused of sexual harassment in the US on the grounds that they were not granted the right to be heard? Now Nigerians can imagine and start seeing the heavy witch hunt that they mounted on me. This is a huge shame and an embarrassment to the Speaker and the 3 other principal officers. I challenge Speaker Yakubu Dogara to answer the questions. This is completely baseless.
DAURA PROJECTS IN 2016
Yes, I take responsibility for this as I will on any matter that I know I am responsible for. I don’t know how to lie. I don’t need permission or consent of Mr President to put in the budget water scheme, agricultural and rural development projects in Daura. I have said severally and will repeat, are people of Daura not Nigerians? During the budget process, people come to the House from all over the country to lobby for projects in their constituencies but nobody from Daura including Mr President came to lobby. At a meeting with Mr Speaker and some principal officers, I admit I told him that I have looked at the budget, there was almost no project in Daura. I reminded him that Mr President will NEVER lobby us for such but he is human and will appreciate if Nigerians in Daura enjoy a bit of the budget so long as what ever projects taken there is not too much compared to other states. I also reminded them that he is twice the Head of this country we should not abuse the fact that by his nature he will never ask. If he is a selfish leader, he can turn Daura to a small London instantly. But he believes in fairness for all. That is why great Africans like Mo Ibrahim instituted the monetary award for African heads of states like Buhari who will not steal under any circumstance. What I did was in tandem to this. Now you can imagine the quality of leaders like Speaker Yakubu Dogara who wants to turn this against me and set me on collusion with the presidency. It is such a shame that our so called leaders can not appreciate and support such a simple cause. A man like Mr president who has held every position in the country and twice president without any success to blackmail him, is it the very few projects I put in Daura that will be used to blackmail such a man? When Speaker Dogara and the 3 other principals inserted projects worth over 20billion in their constituencies? God Almighty is with the innocent.
PROJECTS WITHOUT LOCATIONS OR CLEAR DEFINITION
This is a non issue. They are just looking for more flesh to tidy up their blackmail and lies. In EVERY BUDGET YEAR such situations are found. The secretariat work extremely hard during the budget period to insert all items into the budget template. Since this job is done by human beings like us, there are bound to be some errors like the aforesaid and even more. It is such a simple issue and there is a standard way of dealing with it instantly through what we call CORRIGENDUM. It is a correction to any appropriation act. Indeed the first CORRIGENDUM I signed with respect to the 2016 budget was for the projects of Speaker Yakubu Dogara. One of such projects I later discovered was a water project he diverted to his personal farm somewhere in Nasarawa. Both of us have the records.
I FRACTURED RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE TWO ARMS OF GOVERNMENT
This I found very laughable. What did I do and how did I do that? Again, a case of desperate Speaker Dogara looking for something against me. Let me use this window to explain something. After the standing committees of the House forwarded their reports we discovered that over 2000 projects were inserted into the budget by just 10 out of the 96 standing committees of the House. My self and Sen Goje had to find a balance between the executive submissions and standing committees reports. It was during that period that we met the president. Mr President belongs to all of us. Nobody be it presiding or principal officer has the right to stop any member from seeing the president. Immediately we came out of the villa, i went straight to brief Speaker Dogara. To say I was shocked with his reaction was an under statement. He went ballistic! And kept shouting, why should you go to the villa, why? I looked at Dogara and remembered the quote “Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely”. Well, I ignored his selfish reaction and briefed him what we intend to do moving forward. In the following days, we consulted wildly with ministers and got their key inputs. We prepared two scenarios, one to provide a balance between the House submission and that of the executive while the other is to carry largely the standing committees recommendations. I discussed everything with Mr Speaker and he asked me to stay action to allow him consult with other principal officers. In between he travelled to London. It was from London that he called and instructed me to adopt the committee version. At that point all the great consultative work we did with the ministers became a waste. And I knew he did that deliberately to embarrass me and ensure we fail in the eye of our executive counterparts. That is how vindictive Speaker Dogara can be. At a meeting of Principal officers of the House, When Mr president returned the budget because he considered insertions by NASS too much, I explained that we had worked out a balanced scenario for the budget with the executive but the Speaker directed that we forward the other version. The Speaker unfortunately tried to deny and the atmosphere became tensed.
The duo of Lasun and Ogar took time to direct that when we go into the executive session that morning, I should talk less to members when I am asked to give my briefing and specifically say nothing about the N40billion they took. I rejected that. I told them my reputation is at stake. At that point everybody in the country was attacking me. Where on earth will I say I took 40billion to? Even the best accountant in the world cannot hide such huge sums. Lasun and Ogor almost brought down the roof of the office. I maintained my calm and apologized to Mr Speaker and the rest of them. It was at that meeting that I was asked to stop further comments to the press. God Almighty is a living witness. We proceeded to the executive session, I briefed my colleagues and told them the truth. Since then Speaker Dogara and the 3 others effectively blocked me from further meetings and briefing sessions and sponsored an extensive internal and external propaganda against me to give my colleagues and the general public the impression that everything about the 2016 budget is Hon Jibrin. That is why many members carried on without the true picture of what transpired and of course their anger towards me. But since I started opening up, I have received hundred of calls from my colleagues querying why I didn’t let them know all these. They will soon realize that I am not alone and members will not allow such serious allegations of corruption to be swept under the carpet. I kept pressure on the Speaker to allow me opportunity to brief my colleagues to no avail. The insincerity and conspiracy of silence from the few standing committee chairmen that inserted about 2000 projects into the budget and unnecessary movement of huge sums of money didn’t help my case. Some of the biggest culprits are chairmen of standing committees on Power Hon Dan Asuquo, Higher education Hon Zakari Mohammed, Water resources Hon Aliyu Pategi, health Hon Chike Okafor, interior Hon Jagaba Adams, FCT Hon Herma Hembe and police affairs Hon Haliru Jika among few others.
So I was taking heat both within the House and outside. It was a very trying moment for me but praise be to God Almighty.
INCREMENT OF SIZE OF BUDGET BY 250 BILLION NAIRA, 4.1 ALLEGATION AND THE KANO FILM VILLAGE PROJECT
There has never been any version of the 2016 budget that was produced with an increased size of 250billion naira. It is an extension of the wicked propaganda and and desperate search for lies and blackmail by Speaker Dogara and the 3 others. If at all there is, let them bring it out.
One Single allegation that I may probably carry on with it and keep explaining for the rest of my life is the 4.1 billion worth of project I allocated to my constituency. When this allegation came out, I was already under instruction by Speaker Dogara to stop talking to the press. I could not respond. By the time it became convenient for me to speak, the tempo had died down. I decided to simply include it in my 40th birthday memoir to be released in September. There was nothing like projects worth 4.1billion naira in my constituency in any version of the budget. It was a huge blackmail which I only later realized it was instigated by Speaker Dogara and the 3 others. Aside few projects in my constituency, I was more interested in projects that will help not only kano but the whole of Nigeria like the Kano Film Village, Irrigation projects, dams and roads. At the end I succeeded in promoting the Kano film village which has raised unnecessary controversy.
The Kano Film village is designed by the Nigerian Film cooperation NFC Jos to be a world class film village with ultra modern training institute, cinematography center, theater, premiere square, diverse skill acquisition center, male and female hostels, hotel accommodation, 1,500 capacity conference hall, shopping mall, eateries, mini zoo, Nigerian and world culture exhibition center, history and documentation center, clinic and every conventional facilities that are required for a world class film village. When I saw the proposal of the project and knowing the massive potentials of the Kannywood, I did not hesitate to buy into it for many obvious reasons. It will create massive employment opportunity for our teeming youth, open up sources of revenue for the federal government, boost economic activities in kano which is the 2nd largest commercial city in Nigeria, serve as a center to promote our country, culture, people and many more through films. Today, it’s a shame we have no standard films on the lives of our founding leaders like Awo, Zik, Balewa, Ahmadu Bello, Aminu kano and the host of others. We do not take advantage of films to promote our good culture and sell every aspect of our country from our economic potentials to tourism attraction. We don’t even care that we don’t have documentary and films of our great religious leaders like Oyedepos, kuka, Shiek Gumi, Sheik Dahiru Bauchi and many others. No films on our great traditional leaders and institutions. If it were in Europe or America, they surely would have commenced films on the great lives of the late Oni of Ife and his highness the late Emir of kano or even their charismatic successors like ours, his Highness Muhammadu Sanusi II. Do we have to wait for foreigners to make films on our great Gani Fewehinmi, Olusegun Obasanjo or the greatest leader today on the African continent, a natural successor to Nelson Mandela, President Muhammadu Buhari? Unfortunately, the whole idea was misrepresented with Speaker Dogara playing a clear script behind the scene using a member from kano to oil the misinformation that the center was going to be a dancing club and center for all sorts of negative social activities. Some of Our religious leaders in kano fell for these lies and commenced protest against the project. A very sad situation.
PROOF OF EVIDENCE AND INACCESSIBILITY AND APPROPRIATION MEMBERS
I have and will provide evidence on all the allegations at the appropriate time. When the secretariat of the appropriation committee was taken away from me twice how much more members of the appropriation committee. I have shortchanged no one. I left the committee in harmony with my members that is why most of them were seated with me when I announced my resignation. A lot of them sympathized with me because they understand very well the dirty game that was played by Dogara. The few occasions when I attempted to open up to members of appropriation committee, I was accused of trying to topple the leadership of the House. It was a very difficult situation.
I had lived life on a fast lane, I have slowed down considerably. Everybody knows my schedules. I try to retire home as early as I can. I avoid late night meetings or unnecessary socializing like frequent parties organized by the Speaker. I keep my weekends for my parents, family, relatives and constituents. I go to work early enough and hardly will you ever find a file lying down on my table unattended. I mind my business as much as I can but they will not let me be. So if anyone is accusing me of inaccessibility, he is not being honest. May be they want me to join the gang of late night plotters.
MY TENURE AS CHAIRMAN FINANCE
As chairman finance, I had a very eventful tenure. I conducted many investigations and left an unblemished record. The committee was vibrant and we recorded so many milestone. I won so many awards both home and abroad and got inducted as fellow into several professional bodies. I have never been accused of corruption or any wrong doing all through my tenure. I lobbied and attracted some projects to my constituency which were executed and some are yet to be paid for by government. The allegations in these regards are not different from all others. Desperate people looking for something to nail me. It is a wild wild goose chase, baseless allegation and arrant nonsense. They should forward what ever they have to the EFCC.
TRADITION OF N40BILLION OUT N100BILLION GOING TO LEADERSHIP
I am not aware of any tradition, rules or decision of the House that grants 40billion out of the 100billion naira constituency funds to the leadership. This is a clear case of fraud and abuse of trust committed by Speaker Yakubu Dogara and the 3 others. This is one question they must answer.
I have written so much about the House which will further address these and many other issues to be published in my 40th birthday memoir. Some people may never understand why it is imperative that I fight this to its logical conclusion. It will force an internal reform in the House for the benefit of the country. It will send a strong message to anybody no matter how highly placed you are in the house, if you get involved in corrupt acts or abuse your office, you will face the law. It will also scare corrupt people from attempting to get into the house. And finally, I am 39 and will be 40 in September. I am fairly blessed with everything that a man can ask for from God on earth. I consider myself extremely lucky. All I have left is my integrity. Many people including my colleagues don’t know the facts of the issues. I must continue to explain so that all the facts will be laid out. I will never allow anybody to destroy my hard earned integrity especially corrupt people like Speaker Dogara and the 3 others when they fight back.
Finally, I have responded to their allegations within 24hrs, they are yet to respond to mine almost a week after. I am once again calling on all Hon Members of the House of Representatives and the general public to call on Speaker Yakubu Dogara and the 3 others to answer the 20 allegations I have raised against them and reconvene the House immediately to allow for an independent investigation by the House.
Hon Abdulmumin Jibrin PhD MBA
Kiru-Bebeji Federal constituency