ABDULMUMIN JIBRIN: On N250m For His Wife’s Constituency And His EFCC Case By Kosa Onyemere
The recent outbursts by Abdulmumin Jibrin, Member of The House of Representatives, representing Kiru/Bebeji Federal Constituency of Kano State, against the leadership of the House and by extension the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara, should come as no surprise to discerning observers who are familiar with his antecedents. For a man who has repeatedly managed to put himself in the eye of the storm of political brouhahas in recent times, taking on the leadership of the House and the Institution to which he belongs to as a whole in a Political battle, surely seemed easy and straight forward, perhaps even winnable; only that this time around, he has bitten more than he can chew, and has no moral standing ground. Those who come to equity must do so with clean hands, and Jibrin’s hands are far from clean.
In the lead up to the emergence of the 8th Assembly, Jibrin was a very visible and vocal member of the House, and one of the first to publicly rebel against his party, the APC’s Zoning Formula for the House of Reps Principal Positions. Jibrin was the spokesman of the Consolidation Group, a group of like-minded Members who revolted against APC’s Zoning Formula and wholly threw their weight behind the candidature of the current Speaker, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara. It was a move that earned the group and its members the respect and admiration of a section of the Nigerian public, who saw it as germane and healthy for our democracy. Thus, it came as no surprise to many when he was made the Chairman, House Committee on Appropriation after the emergence of Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara as the Honourable Speaker, House of Representatives. The battle had been fought and won, and all was set to be rosy and cordial, except that Jibrin had other intentions.
Posing as a champion of the public good, Jibrin was quick in lathering up to President Muhammadu Buhari – despite having previously opposed his candidacy. During a press conference to announce the resolution of the crisis that erupted in the House over the sharing of Principal Positions between the Dogara and Gbajabiamila Camps, he had this to say: “let me reiterate our resolve that President Buhari is going to enjoy the maximum and unprecedented support of the APC caucus in the House in order for him to achieve all the laudable programmes of this government.” He would later make rubbish of this statement, and prove his Janus faced approach to salient issues by padding the 2016 Appropriation Budget of President Muhammadu Buhari.
In what has now become public knowledge, Jibrin used his position and privilege as the Chairman, House Committee on Appropriation to pad the 2016 Budget and sneak in projects to the tune of four billion Naira for his constituency, while some lawmakers had no projects in their own constituencies. To make matters worse, Jibrin introduced a N250,000,000 project into the budget for the construction of an International Tourism Market in Argungu, Kebbi state, his wife’s constituency. This padded project was smuggled into the budget for the National Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC). This self-serving act of betrayal and sabotage became one of the major reasons why President Buhari withheld assent and refused to sign the Budget at the first instance, citing the slipping in of additional items of expenditure, an anomaly that must be corrected before he signs. This consequently lead to the late passage of the Budget, and the attendant hardship and suffering that ensued. This made other Members very unhappy with Jibrin over his role in the fiasco, especially his hoarding of information on the details of the 6.06 Trillion Budget.
Speaker Dogara therefore, was faced with two choices. Either back an ally and strong supporter who used his privileged position as Chairman of a very powerful committee to engage in untoward activities, or to honour his vow and oath of carrying out his duties as Speaker without fear or favour, and protect the nation at large. The first option was a no go area for the Speaker. In that regard, Dogara held series of meetings with President Buhari, where he pleaded and promised to handle the situation. The Speaker, after exhaustive consultations, consequently informed Jibrin of his removal as Chair, House Committee on Appropriation. This decision was taken a long time ago, when the Speaker was presented with overwhelming details of Jibrin’s many infractions.
The monumental scandal perpetrated by Jibrin certainly calls to question his credibility and trustworthiness, and it is even worse that he is trying to drag the whole Institution and the Speaker down with him, typical of someone drowning and clutching at every straw, both real and imagined. For him to be so unapologetic and unremorseful over this shameful conduct, but rather seeking to pull others down with him, indicates his acceptance of culpability.
It is also rather ironic that Jibrin, who was arraigned by the EFCC for money laundering in 2011 (see http://efccnigeria.org/efcc/index.php/news/160-n15-billion-fraud-ex-gov-akwe-doma-six-others-to-be-re-arraigned) now has the audacity to level allegations of fraud against Dogara. Dogara’s tenure as Chairman of the House Services was marked with not a single allegation of wrong doing and his stellar record from the 6th and 7th assemblies was why those who so passionately supported his speakership bid, did. Records show that Dogara has never been involved in a case of fraud or any other financial crime, but the same cannot be said for Jibrin.
Jibrin also opposed Buhari’s candidacy in 2014 and granted several interviews to that effect, in which he described Buhari as “too old” for the presidency and advised him against contesting. Is it not then curious that he, all of a sudden, claims to love Buhari more than others who supported him? It is pertinent to note that when Dogara left PDP for APC, his state (Bauchi) was under PDP-control and he had no guarantee whatsoever of successfully returning to the House as a legislator following that decision.
The film village that Jibrin also snuck into the budget for his constituency has been rejected by the people of Kano state, despite his fraudulent attempt to name it after the President in order to appease both President Buhari and the people. What a strange character!
It should be clear and evident to all discerning minds that Abdulmumin Jibrin is a man drowning in his own pool of sins, and will surely do/say everything he can to drag someone down with him. The bigger that fellow casualty is, the better for him and in the House, it doesn’t get bigger than the Speaker himself. Jibrin has released several documents which supposedly prove Dogara’s complicity in some crime, but not one of the many pieces of paper he has released so far would stand up to scrutiny in a court of law. Jibrin has also successfully muddied the waters by refusing to explain to his audience that there is a statutory allocation for constituency projects and that Members recommending these is neither a crime, nor is it padding, as attracting federal attention to their constituencies is one of their duties as lawmakers.
The evil that men do, lives after them and those who come to equity must do so with squeaky clean hands. One also wonders if Jibrin’s latest 21 questions cost two million Naira each. It would be wise for Jibrin to realize that this is a battle he cannot win, as Nigerians are aware of his antecedents of double dealing and Budgetary sabotage.
Kosa Onyemere is a public affairs analyst and social commentator.