In a matter days, the Ethics and Privileges headed by Hon Nicholas Ossai reported back to the House and delivered a guilty verdict on Jibrin.
Hon Abdulmumin Jibrin, remember him? He is the member of the House of Representatives, who was suspended for 180 legislative days in 2016 for “breaching the collective privilege of members of the House” and barred from holding any office in the Green chamber in the 8th Assembly.
Jibrin, who represents Bebeji/Kiru Federal constituency of Kano State is back with a bang. Last week the Speaker, Hon Yakubu Dogara named him as the chairman of the House Committee on Land Transport, after a minor reshuffling of standing committees of the House.
At the inception of the 8th Assembly, Jibrin, an ally of the Speaker was named as chairman of the House Committee on Appropriation. However, about one year after, he was removed from his exalted Committee seat.
Apparently incensed by his removal as Appropriations Committee chair, the Kano lawmaker launched an offensive against the House leadership.
Apart from dragging the leadership through the mud for allegedly padding the 2016 Appropriation Act, Jibrin open a can of worms on alleged financial misconduct by the principal officers and some other members of the House, and watched a relentless media campaigns against them.
The lawmaker took his fight a notch higher by petitioning the Economic and Finance Crimes Commission (EFCC), the Department of State Security (DSS) and the police alleging fraudulent manipulation of the budget by Dogara, his deputy, Yussuff Lasun; Majority Whip, Al-Hassan Ado-Doguwa; Minority Leader, Leo Ogor and other principal officers of the House.
“As it stands today, these corrupt elements have infiltrated the House, making the institution a hub of systemic corruption.
“I repeat, there is massive individual and institutional corruption in the House of Representatives.
“And all Nigerians have a responsibility to avail themselves of this rare opportunity to flush out corruption in the House. I have pledged my continuous support and assistance to the security and anti-corruption agencies,” Jibrin stated in one of its many statements on the issue.
It is an open secret that the former Appropriation Committee chairman, who vowed to “end the massive corruption in the House,” gave the leadership so much to chew during its 2016 annual recess, as it spent a greater part of the recess defending the allegations.
To show its displeasure, the House devoted a greater part of the second legislative day after its resumption from its annual recess on 2016 to debate on “Jibrin’s sin” against it.
Following the adoption of a motion moved by the then chairman of the House Committee on Rules and Business Hon Emmanuel Orker-Jev, calling for an investigation of alleged breach of the collective privilege of members of the House, the former Appropriation Committee chairman was referred to the Ethics and Privileges Committee.
In a matter days, the Ethics and Privileges headed by Hon Nicholas Ossai reported back to the House and delivered a guilty verdict on Jibrin. The House quickly adopted the report and slammed a 180 legislative day suspension on him on September 28. In addition barred from holding any office in the remaining part of his tenure, adding that the lawmaker would be be readmitted into the House at expiration of his suspension, if he tenders an unreserved apology to it.
After much shakara, Jibrin, who had challenged his suspension in court tendered an apology to the Green Chamber and was subsequently re-admitted into the House, in March this year, after 18 months in the cold.
When the former Appropriation Committee chairman tendered an apology, which in any case Dogara did not read to the House at plenary, I had wondered why the lawmaker would chicken out in his fight against the House. But with the turn of events, there might just be more to the whole issue than meets the eyes. A case of the more you look, the less you see.
The last week appointment of Jibrin, as chair of the Land Transport Committee, while the resolution barring him from holding office in the 8th Assembly still subsists, brings to question once again the worth of House resolutions.
As a matter of fact, before his recent appointment as substantive chairman of a standing committee, the Kano lawmaker few weeks after his readmission into the House was appointed to head an ad hoc committee to probe the utilization of funds recovered from late Head of State, General Sani Abacha.
I remember vividly how on the day the motion on Jibrin’s alleged breach on the “collective privilege of the House” was debated, no one lawmaker spoke in his favour. The only member, Hon Aliyu Madaki, who was seemingly going to differ from the majority on the issue, was repeatedly ruled out of order by the Speaker.
It is a big puzzle that after the whole braggadocio by the House, the House abandoned its resolution. No doubt, there is nothing wrong with the House changing its mind about Jibrin or on any other issue for that matter.
But since the Green chamber adopted a report of its Ethics and Privileges Committee barring him from holding any office in this session of the assembly, methinks the appropriate thing for the House to have done was to first rescinded that decision before anything else.
It is obvious that now that Jibrin’s fight with the House has reached an anti-climax, the public may have lost the chance of knowing what actually transpired in the budget padding saga, as the entire issue has certainly been settled as a family affair.
A number of times I have expressed disappointment with the executive arm of government for showing disdain for legislative resolutions. Even members of the House on several occasions have cried out that they pass resolutions after resolutions, yet nothing tangible comes from them.
How would the executive respect House resolutions, when the legislature itself has scant regard for its own resolution. Is it not said that charity begins from home?
My take away from the entire issue is that one should not be overly excited when our politicians drag themselves in the mud over issues. They might just be fighting for their own selfish interest and not for the public good, as they would want us to believe.