Reps Issues Warning to President Jonathan
For his unpresidential remark that is unbecoming of a president, the House of Representatives have issued a warning to President Goodluck Jonathan to watch his language.
The House lambasted the president over his allegation that the lower chamber has increasingly become dictatorial and politically driven in its activities.
Jonathan, during his periodic media chat held on Sunday, remarked that “There is more of politics than work in the House of Representatives.” He also warned that the country risks “parliamentary dictatorship”.
The president was reacting to the House of Representatives’ probes of “missing” oil revenues and the petroleum minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke, over allegations of spending N10billion on hiring private jets.
But responding to the president’s statement, the House spokesman, Zakari Mohammed, described President Jonathan’s statement as “unfortunate”.
Mohammed, who chairs the House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, said “The office of Mr President is one we hold in high esteem but for him to address an arm of government the way he did was rather unfortunate.
“We in the 7th Assembly will not gloss over issues that have direct bearing on the welfare of Nigerians.
“And let me make it abundantly clear that we are not afraid of any name that we are being tagged for supporting Nigerians.
“For a leader to tag an arm of government that has immensely contributed to his political career in that derogatory manner was really uncalled for.”
Mohammed said Jonathan did not consider the House intervention as politicised when he wanted to succeed his late boss, former President Umaru Yar’Adua.
He said, “We recall the Doctrine of Necessity; this House contributed to his (Jonathan’s) stability in office.
“We hold the office of Mr. President in high esteem, but it is unfortunate that he said we conduct politicised probes. The House is about accountability; Diezani has to appear before us because we cannot ask questions in her absence.
“She has to come; she has to be accountable to the Nigerian people.
“As legislators, we are also accountable to our electorate.”
He said the House could summon any member of the President’s cabinet, including Alison-Madueke, “1000 times” if the legislators needed to do so in the course of their investigation.
Mohammed said, “There is no limit to the number of times a minister can appear before the House for the purpose of accountability. There are many investigations or issues being considered by the House.
“That a minister had appeared before over a particular issue does not mean that when summoned over a different subject, the minister cannot appear again.
“Besides, on this issue of expenditure on jets, she (Diezani) has yet to appear before the House; she has not appeared on the matter before.
“Therefore, Mr. President should not use her previous appearances over entirely different subjects, as an excuse for her refusal to answer questions in respect of the expenditure on jets.”
Alison-Madueke has refused to appear before the House Committee on Public Accounts probing the N10bn she reportedly spent in two years to charter a private jet, Challenger 850, for her trips.
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