Budget Padding: Jibrin And The Endless Lies
The heat is on and everyone is fighting to secure their office, power and money. Abdulmumin Jibrin, former Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Appropriation has been crying wolf since being relieved of his position. In other climes he would be contemplating his trial date by now.
But not in Nigeria. Jibrin has instead declared war on those who uncovered his fraud against the nation. He has engaged all the keyboard warriors he can muster - throwing the social media into war mode.
Him and his loyalists are on Twitter thrashing the reputation of the House leadership with the Speaker, Hon. Yakubu Dogara in the crosshair. The Deputy Speaker, Hon. Sulaimon Lasun Yusuf and Chief Whip, Hon. Alhassan Ado Dogowa and the Minority Leader, Hon. Leo Ogor are not spared the mudslinging too as anyone seen as having a hand in exposing Jibrin is fair game for his army.
In what has become a circus, Jibrin’s series of accusations become more bizarre on a daily basis in what has left those not grounded in the issue too confused to know what is at stake. The former Chairman of House Appropriation Committee had earlier accused Dogara of trying to break into his office on Friday 29, July to take away documents concerning the allegations before him that could indict the House leadership.
He had also said Dogara ordered that all computers at the Appropriation Secretariat be shut down and moved to his office. Jibrin also had accused the speaker of bribery and ordering the padding of the budget, which is not at the centre of the controversy.
Coming to the most outlandish of his tales yet, the embattled man alleged that the House Leadership was giving out $25,000 each to every member of the House of Representatives to buy a confidence vote for the speaker.
These absurdities were possible in the first place because of the leniency that Dogara and other principal officers showed to Jibrin, who in his craftiness has now turned the story on them. His narration was that it was him that thwarted the plans of the Speaker and others to smuggle N40billion into the budget for themselves.
Possibly trying to head off the possibility of any indictment by any investigation by the House, Jibrin sought outside help by rushing to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) with a petition that was nothing short of the budget fraud according to him. He equally drove in his intimidating convoy to the headquarters of the Department of State Services (DSS) to file the same petition. If he were filing cases in court in this manner a competent judge would have slapped him down for judicial shopping – skipping from one location to the other until he gets the kind of reports he want to indict his colleagues.
He has not left anything in doubt as to his true intentions since he was able to twist even the intervention of the All Progressives Congress (APC) out of context. After being summoned by the APC disciplinary committee, which he had done his best to evade, he came out of that meeting to tweet “I am confident that the party will do the right thing by supporting our resolve to wipe out corruption in the House and direct the Speaker, Dogara; the Deputy Speaker, Lasun; the Whip, Doguwa; and the Minority Leader, Ogor, to reconvene the House immediately and step aside to face their imminent prosecution and save the House and our country from further embarrassment.”
If anyone has caused national embarrassment Nigerians know who the person is. It is the one man in the entire saga ho had raved the most. The question then becomes how true are Jibrin’s allegations since he has not calmed down enough to allow the process kick in to verify the authenticity of his accusations.
Where is the solid proof, the smoking gun that points to the House leadership as being the one that authorized his crime? Would Jibrin be crying out if he were not found out, were still in his office and is not being investigated? If the leadership did instruct him to manipulate the budget and he has complied, allow several months to go by without raising the alarm; has he come to terms with the reality that he is an accessory to the crime he is reporting? What kept him from telling us about this fraud before he was thrown out of the committee chairmanship?
These and more questions are the posers that Nigerians must confront Jibrin with. His allegations and the sudden ability to speak up against corruption is suspect and suggests a man who thinks he can stay afloat by dragging others down to use as lifeboat. We must let him know in clear terms that the anti-corruption fight needs ambassadors including reformed pilferers but such person must be truly repentant and not just someone who is pretending.
Attah is a public affairs commentator based in Abuja.