On Wednesday last week, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Yakubu Dogara finally relieved the Committee Chairman on Appropriations, Hon Jibrin Abdulmumin, representing Kiru/Bebeji Federal Constituency of Kano state of his position. In his place, Dogara appointed Hon Mustapha Bala Dawaki, representing Dawakin Kudu/ Warawa Federal Constituency of Kano state. Before his new appointment, Dawaki was the House Committee Chairman on Housing.
The removal of Jibrin followed months of immense pressure by lawmakers and top government officials, who felt he no longer has the moral ground to head such sensitive committee after his role in the budget padding.
On various occasions on the floor of the House, lawmakers have called for his removal because of the manner he piloted the affairs of the committee. Even some members of the Appropriations Committee have accused Jibrin of not carrying them in the whole budgetary process.
As expected, pressure has been on the speaker to relieve Jibrin of his position due to the over 20 projects he allocated to his constituency in the 2016 budget, thus raising the total sum to about N4bn
A breakdown of the projects showed that there are 10 under the Ministry of Works, which are construction and rehabilitation of the works centre, N100m; construction of town hall, N100m; block of classrooms, undisclosed; rehabilitation of Sharada – Kwanar Dogara, N1.445bn; solar street lights, N300m; drainage, N20m; rehabilitation of Gwarzo Kiru, Kwanar Maiyaki, N180m; Kiru – Badaf road construction, N405m; rehabilitation and construction of roads in Kiru/Bebeji, N150m and construction of pedestrian bridges, N200m.
In the Ministry of Water Resources, there are eight projects, namely: construction of earth dam, N1m; construction of 10 hand-pump boreholes in Bagauda, N10m; small irrigation schemes in Kiru, N100m; construction of Bebeji earth dam, N270m; construction of solar powered boreholes, N150m; outstanding projects of 2014 in Kiru Bebeji, N100m and provision of handpump boreholes and water scheme, N38.023m.
Under the Ministries of Women Affairs and Agriculture, the projects are empowerment programme such as supply of tricycles, grading machines and set of women saloon empowerment kits, N200m and construction of rural roads in Kiru/Bebeji Federal Constituency, N150m.
As for the SGF’s office, there are two projects for the Kiru/Bebeji Federal Constituency, which are provision of empowerment items, N100m and provision of entrepreneurship development training and vocational centre, N100m.
While reacting on the development, Jibrin said he had stepped down as chairman of the committee and apologised to some members of the committee who were not aware of his latest decision. He said as chairman of the committee, he did his best, adding that he had never been found wanting or accused of any wrongdoing.
Abdulmumin stressed that though he had done no wrong, he would take responsibility of any wrongdoing committed by the committee by resigning as chairman of the committee. He said he took the decision after due consultation with his family, adding that he had no regret taking such decision. Jibrin further hinted that he resigned on his own volition and denied that he was forced to resign.
Not ready to go down alone, the former appropriations chairman has called for the resignation of Hon.Yakubu Dogara and his deputy, Hon. Lasun Yussuff insisting that the duo must resign alongside some other principal officers of the House.
In a terse statement Jibrin issued after he resigned, he alleged that the speaker requested for the insertion of about N30 billion worth of personal projects in the controversial budget. He also stated that the requests of the entire body of principal officers of the House for insertion of personal projects in the 2016 budget amounted to about N100 billion.
He mentioned some of the principal officers involved in the alleged budget scam as the House Minority Leader Hon. Leo Ogor and the Chief Whip, Hon. Alhassan Ado Doguwa. The Kano born lawmaker also hinted that there are lots of documentary evidences against the principal officers of the House and assured that he would make them available in the course of time.
The embattled lawmaker has gone further to call for an investigation into the allegations he levelled against Dogara and others. In a statement issued on his behalf by The Law Offices Of Messrs HAMMART & CO (LAW BOND SOLICITORS and DOKA CHAMBERS), Jibrin said he stood by the allegations and would prove same at the appropriate time.
Jibrin, who demanded that the allegations should be investigated by the House so that he could defend them, also alleged plans by Dogara, Lasun, Ado-Doguwa and Ogor to use the police to harass him. He claimed that their plan was to restrict his freedom to free speech with the sole purpose of getting him to recant his statement.
In a swift response, the House has refuted the allegations by Jibrin on the 2016 budget process as non issues and mere afterthought manufactured simply because the House relieved him of his position.
Reacting to the accusation, Chairman of the House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Hon.Abdulazak Namdas wondered why Jibrin did not make his allegation public if he has all these facts before his removal.
He further stated that he should not distract the House from giving legislative support on important issues facing the government concerning the revival of the economy, insecurity in the country, pursuit of anti-corruption measures, poverty alleviation, infrastructural development, among others.
In his response, Ado-Doguwa claimed that Jibrin was not being truthful, adding that he made the accusations to let off his frustrations for being removed as a chairman.
Ado-Doguwa stated that the former appropriation committee chairman was largely responsible for the distortions in the 2016 budget, which generated a row between the National Assembly and the Presidency.
The chief whip added that it was unheard of that an appropriation committee chairman would work on a N6.06tn budget alone without involving his members, stressing that
the end result was how he thoroughly messed up the budget, incurring the anger of his colleagues, but refusing to admit that he failed.
According to him, “For me, as an individual and having been mentioned in the sacked chairman’s claims, I would like to say with all sense of responsibility that his claims were frivolous and unfounded.
“As a principal officer, I know that Jibrin was only relieved of his appointment due to widespread outcries and disenchantment among members of his committee for gross anomalies and absolute non-inclusion of members of his committee in the discharge of the duties of his erstwhile committee.
“His case was further worsened by sheer disrespect to the leadership (of the House) and even the generality of other members in the House. Other issues to do with grievous controversies that set the National Assembly against the executive arm (on the budget) were largely generated by Jibrin when he was superintending the affairs of this very vital committee.
“These and so many other reasons warranted a very popular urge amongst members to remove him. Ultimately, the leadership was left with no option but to yield to the members’ demand”.
Keen watchers of House proceedings thought that Jibrin’s removal would have come much earlier than now because of the controversial role he played in distorting the budget figures and allocation of projects to his constituency.
The embattled lawmaker has been criticised and condemned by his fellow lawmakers for allocating for himself N4bn constituency projects without the knowledge of his committee members.
The questions on the lips on many analysts are: how far can Jibrin go on this fight? Does he actually have evidence against the leadership of the House as alleged? Has he further incurred the wrath of other lawmakers by his accusations? Is this the end of Jibrin in the House? Will he be suspended when the House resume on September 13? Has he began a fight he may not finish?
It is widely believed that after his removal, Jibrin would quietly tow the path of honour in view of the atrocities and blunders he committee, but the Kano state lawmaker decided to fight dirty.
Those who have come in contact with him know he always has eye for the “big thing”. In the 7th Assembly when he was first elected as a lawmaker, he chaired the House Committee on Finance. It was alleged that the former governor of Kano state, Musa Rabiu Kwankwaso had to prevail on the then Speaker, Aminu Tambuwal before he was made to head the committee. Even when he was heading the finance committee, there were still discordant tunes among members of his committees of been left out.
Before the inauguration of the 8th Assembly, he was the first to declare his intention of becoming the speaker. But when it dawned on him that he cannot get the position, he tried to go into alliance with Hon Femi Gbajabiamila. The alliance finally collapsed when Jibrin gave conditions that he will be chairman appropriation if Gbajabiamila emerges as speaker. In his wisdom, Gbajabiamila declined the offer.
He then opted to work for Dogara to become the speaker. He even donated his secretariate to Dogara at the Transcorp Hilton and worked tirelessly to the build up of the election. He was eventually compensated by Dogara when he was appointed as appropriation committee chairman.
Just like Farouk Lawan in the bribe scandal involving him and a business mogul, Femi Otedola, Jibrin has indeed started a fight that might end his political career abruptly. The general impression now is that he is the brain behind the delay and padding that characterised the 2016 budget. In view of this, many have argued that this might be the end of Jibrin in the Green Chamber.

READ ALSO  Adamawa PDP disowns Gulak, canvasses support for Juta as national chairman