- Says he was never close to Speaker, regrets backing his election
- Accuses Hembe, others of attempt to implicate him
By Damilola Oyedele in Abuja
The sacked Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Appropriation, Hon Jibrin Abdulmumin, has claimed to be in possession of a hand written note from the Speaker, Yakubu Dogara, outlining the mode of distribution of the 70 per cent of the 20 per cent concession given to the National Assembly after the budget’s harmonisation.
The 20 per cent concession was given to the National Assembly while 80 per cent went to the executive following the decision to rework the 2016 budget by the harmonisation committee to end the impasse that followed the passage of the budget into law.
Abdulmumin in a statement issued yesterday said the note was sent to him through the Deputy Speaker, Yusuf Sulaimon Lasun.
“Seventy per cent of the 20 per cent was reserved for the Speaker and himself while the remaining 30 per cent of the 20 per cent went to other principal officers. I am sure he will recognise the hand writing when he sees it. My colleagues didn’t know all of these.
“The Speaker also directed me to create what I advised him would be a controversial line item under service wide votes to introduce about N20 billion project using the name of the National Assembly.
“He directed me to see a highly placed PDP politician which I did and collected the documents. I advised him repeatedly against it but he kept pressuring me until I bluntly told him I will not,” he said.
The embattled lawmaker also disclosed that contrary to public opinion that he enjoyed a chummy relationship with the Speaker, they were never close, adding that his backing Dogara was an error of judgement.
Abdulmumin, who was one of the most vocal supporters of Dogara for the Speakership, said they fell apart as they practically disagreed on everything.
“Some people are also saying I kept quiet while it was good and now I am talking because things have gone sour. Many members of the House and Nigerians will be shocked to know that there has ‘never’ been a good relationship between me and Speaker Dogara.
“It took few weeks after his election as Speaker for me to realise I never really knew him well. I was hasty to judge him by his innocent looking personality. We practically disagreed on everything,” he said.
Abdulmumim further accused the Speaker of being dictatorial.
“From when he started conducting himself like a lord, wanting everybody around him to just say yes sir and go, shutting and looking down at his colleagues, playing double game between the executive and legislature, drafting of a new house rule, senseless splitting of committees which raised the numbers of committees to 96, appointment of committee chairmen, chairmanship of NILS, issuing of bills and allotment of sponsors, chairmanship of budget consultative committee, budget process and house inputs, the PIB, his divide and rule approach, his frequent dealings with heads of MDA’s as if he is a committee chairman and so many other issues,” he said.
He alleged that a certain cabal in the House, made up of Hon. Herman Hembe (Chairman of FCT C’ttee), Hon. Jagaba Adams Jagaba (Chairman, Interior C’ttee), Hon. Jika Dauda (Chairman, Police Affairs Committee) and Hon. Zakari Muhammed (Chairman, Committee on Basic Education), has resorted to using the police to harass and intimidate him into silence.
The lawmaker alleged that the police laid siege on his house, until Saturday, “shouting that they wanted budget documents,” with a motive for his arrest as a culprit in the 2016 budget.
“The last one I need not to introduce to Nigerians, you know him better and know what he is best remembered for. He is the one who threatened my life and the police are yet to take a single action on him. He is now the leader of the Dogara cabal. He calls the shots in the House. He makes all the decisions of the Speaker. He talks down on members and gets away with it. He has suddenly begun living such an expensive life style. Lately, a former influential principal officer of the House complained bitterly that it is only Dogara who will hand such a committee to a person like Hon Herma Hembe chairman FCT. They have been running from pillar to post looking for evidence in their wild dream to nail me. I made a huge sacrifice to leave, shouldn’t they just leave me alone?” the statement read.
The lawmaker accused Dogara, Lasun, Chief Whip, Hon. Alhassan Ado Doguwa, and Minority Whip, Hon Leo Ogor of attempting to drag the House, as an institution into the allegations he has levelled against them, deliberately to set him on a collision course with his colleagues.
“The other members of the body of principal officers were to the best of my knowledge completely excluded from decisions on the 2016 budget and the budget inputs inserted on their names were exclusively carried out by these quartet,” he said.
Sections on the budget contained in his statement read: “During the budget period when they discovered that I was not the kind of a person they could use to perpetrate their illegality, Speaker and the three other principal officers took away the entire Appropriation Committee secretariat to a secret location where all sort of insertions were made into the budget. The blackmail has always been, ‘Abdul people will laugh at you if anything goes wrong between you and Dogara because of the lead role you played and the many toes you stepped on to get him elected.’ It’s been a painful experience. Again the secretariat was taken away from me on Dogara’s instruction for the second time to a location I don’t know and all sort of insertions into the budgets were made and returned to me for signature. I said over my dead body! It was a massive crisis behind the scene until the early morning of the Friday that the president assented the budget. It was Senator Danjuma Goje who brokered a compromise that since the Deputy Speaker lead the harmonisation committee, he should also sign such that the harmonisation committee will share responsibility with us. Senator Goje pleaded with me so hard all night and later shouted heavily at me reminding me that he is not talking to me as a Senator but as a father. I cried heavily all night.
“When the budget harmonisation committee headed by Deputy Speaker Lasun gave out 80 per cent concession across board to the executive demands during the harmonisation negotiation, it was agreed that the remaining 20 per cent should go to the entire National Assembly. The Deputy Speaker excused himself that he wanted to go and consult with Mr Speaker. He came back after few hours and in an unprecedented display of greed, presented to me a hand written note distributing the remaining 20 per cent to only principal officers. 70 per cent of the 20 per cent was reserved for Mr Speaker and himself while the remaining 30 per cent of the 20 per cent goes to other principal officers. I am sure he will recognise the hand writing when he sees it. My colleagues didn’t know all of these.”
“Mr Speaker also directed me to create what I advised him will be a controversial line item under service wide vote to introduce about N20billion project using the name of National Assembly. He directed me to see a highly placed PDP politician which I did and collected the documents. I advised him repeatedly against it but he kept pressuring me until I bluntly told him I will not!”
“When the Appropriation committee received all the budget reports from standing committees, an analysis was conducted. We discovered that about 10 only out of the 96 Standing Committees of the House introduced about 2,000 (two thousand) projects without the knowledge of their committee members amounting to about 284,000,000,000 . I was alarmed. But I was cautious because at our pre-budget meeting with the committee chairmen, I was clearly warned not to touch their budgets. I reported the matter to the speaker. He did nothing about it obviously because he was working behind the scene with the committee chairmen. That was the beginning of the whole budget problem from the side of House and the whole exercise had to go through several versions before it was passed. So, is it Abdul that introduced 2,000 projects into budget worth 284billion? But I quietly bore the pain and abuses from all over the country and continue to defend the committee inputs as a show of loyalty to the institution I represent which I so much love and still have many great minds in there. Apart from Chairman Agriculture Hon Mongunu who owned up and explained his inputs at the only executive session I was allowed to attend, the other few chairmen who loaded the budget kept quiet and watched me bashed from every angle by angry Nigerians.”
“People have asked why did I wait this long to open up, so much was happening behind the scene. I fought the battle of my life to raise these issues internally and get Mr Speaker to adress them to no avail. I pushed so hard that I got frustrated and depressed. All my attempts met brick walls. That was why some members were always raising their voice against me because they do not have the facts. I later on realised that the Speaker enjoyed that so much and colluded with his cabal to dump everything on me. I am sure not too long some members that knew what I went through will come out and testify. I also have evidence to show my internal struggles.”
“All these forced me to stay away from him except on official assignment. I can count how times I have been to his office or home. I stayed away completely. It was such a frustrating and depressing period for me. Who will I complain to? How do I face the world and say I got it wrong after playing such a lead role in his emergence? When you see a house you sacrificed everything to build is falling apart and the driver believes he is firmly in charge because he has 8 votes advantage, you are left with no choice than to tie your seat belt for obvious eventuality.”
“Speaker Dogara has completely derailed, remains clueless, keeps on with an unmatched ego and surely leading the House to the biggest scandal it may ever experience. He has failed to live above the fog in public duty and private thinking, a direct opposite of what my favorite American Poet Josiah Gilbet Holland prayed Lord to grant us in leaders.”
“All I am asking for is my right to be heard by my colleagues which they denied me. I am calling on my colleagues to plead with Speaker, Yakubu Dogara, Deputy Lasun, Whip Doguwa and Minority leader Ogor to stop obstructing justice and allow me my right to be heard by the House. It is the House that will institute a special investigation on this matter to allow me testify and provide evidence before any other external action.
I will make a more detailed statement in due course”