by Babale Anwar
When in December 2015, President Muhammadu Buhari presented the 2016 budget to the National Assembly, hopes were high that the ‘budget of change’ has come to revive the dwindling fortunes of the Nigerian economy.
Few months down the line, controversy upon controversy greeted its deliberation and passage at both chambers of the National Assembly. From initial report of the budget missing to several padding of figures to its line items, Nigerians were inundated with different tales daily.
While these controversies raged, the chairmen of the appropriation committees in the Senate and House of Representatives, Senator Danjuma Goje and Hon. Jibrin Abdulmumin were respectively at the centre of it all.
Jibrin however, was the more controversial owing to the fact that he was more visible and vocal.
Soon enough, the budget controversy degenerated into a face-off between the Executive and the legislator, substantially due to the Jibrin’s outbursts. At almost every instance, Jibrin cast aspersions on the executives and sold the narrative that it is responsible for the padding of the budget.
The general belief then was that the National Assembly discovered this padding and was doing all it can to correct the figures. This was what Jibrin sold to Nigerians.
The story changed on Thursday when Jibrin released a statement accusing Speaker Dogara and members of the leadership of the House of Representatives, of unilaterally allocating to themselves projects worth N40billion out of the N100billion allocated to the entire members. Prior to this, Jibrin was sacked by the speaker for what many have said is the role he played in the budget impasse.
According to Jibrin, his sack was his refusal to admit the request for the N40billion, N30billion of which he said is personally for the speaker’s constituency and three other principal officers.
Jibrin’s decision to spill these details would ordinarily be a welcome development, but the question that begs for an answer is why the decision to open up at this late hour? If he is claiming to be accountable with clear conscience, why did it matter to speak after his sack from the appropriation committee?
In all he said, the rather crafty Jibrin hypocritically ignored the fact that he inserted over N4 billion projects in his Bebeji/Kiru Federal Constituency, he also removed the N60 billion counter-part fund for Lagos-Calabar coastal rail project, cut 10 percent of all capital allocation of all Ministries, Departments and Agencies across board, tinkered with even personnel votes of some agencies.
In fact, Jibrin assumed and arrogated so much authority to himself and thought the budget was his personal private document.
In his statement on Thursday, Jibrin among other things accused Speaker Dogara of wining with President Muhammadu Buhari and dinning with the president’s enemies. He said his decision to open up is because the speaker added in a statement announcing his replacement despite asking to be allowed to resign, the House leadership had already concluded plans to oust him from the appropriation committee.
Does this not smack of selfish game play by Jibrin? His allegations are a clear indication that he decided to speak out because it has to do with his person and not because of his love for tax payers, the National Assembly and even the nation.
One would assume that the self righteousness Jibrin is now claiming would have been demonstrated long before his sack.
It is now clear to every discerning Nigerian that Hon. Jibrin’s volte face declaring support for the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari, the same man he sold to Nigeria as having presented a hugely padded budget is now a smokescreen to pitch tents having lost credibility in the eyes of all right thinking Nigerians.
He must come out to tell Nigerians what his game plan is and what he hopes to achieve by throwing spanners in the wheels of the House which has been remarkably different under the leadership of Speaker Dogara as compared to other leadership of the House in the past.
Op–ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija
Babale Anwar writes from Jos, Pleateau State.