…THE MESS OF HIS PAST
Although Dimeji Bankole, immediate past Speaker of the House of Representatives might have survived the banana peels lay on his path, his present travails leave sour taste in the mouth. His tenure, like many have observed, was a mixture of controversies based on financial under-hand dealings and accolades in the art of law-making and over-sight function.
But today, Nigeria's former Number 4 man is faced with the dirty past of his Speakership. Arrested on Sunday by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Bankole will, today, be arraigned at a Federal High Court on 16-count charge related to financial impropriety.
If the expectation of Bankole and his team were on the newest atrocity of sourcing and sharing N10 billion loan among themselves, the anti-graft agency dug into Bankole's past to unearth his past financial misdeeds.
So, Bankole's travail did not come in a jiffy. Since his election as Speaker, he had been swimming from one stream of financial mess to the other.
The first financial impropriety leveled against his Speakership was the purchase of Peugeot 407 cars for the House in 2008 valued at N2.3billion. the uproar raised by the incident soon faded away as pro-Bankole lawmakers went to town to justify the purchase.
It was not long that other sundry issues started unfolding. For instance, a group of lawmakers in the Lower Chamber, operating under the guise of 'Progressive group', had accused Bankole of flouting the Public Procurement Act by influencing contracts to his cronies, friends and aides.
For instance, an allegation of N30 million contract for the procurement of torchlight for members of the House of Representatives was sighted as one of the many fleecing acts of the former Speaker.
Spokesman of the 'progressive' lawmakers and arch-enemy of the former Speaker, Mr. Dino Melaye, never left anybody in doubt that Bankole was not a saint as being proclaimed.
According to Melaye, his group was in possession of damning evidence and documents indicting Bankole of corruption and abuse of office.
It would be recalled that Melaye, Independence Ogunlewe and six other members of the House of Representatives were suspended at the peak of the allegation of fleece against Bankole.
If the allegation of contract scams were not enough against the former Speaker, the role he played during the primary election of his party was also an issue many non-returning members of the House of Representatives were yet to forget in hurry.
But whether Bankole's ordeal is political or not is the duty of the court to decide. However, one thing remains: Bankole has had his laugh, now is the turn of his opponents within and outside the Parliament to have their own laugh. Only the court will decide who laughs last.