Jib­rin: How not to be dis­hon­ourable

Daily Trust - - OPINION - 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, 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 in re­cent times, tak­ing on the lead­er­ship of the House and the in­sti­tu­tion to which he be­longs in a po­lit­i­cal macabre dance, 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, 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 Yakubu Dog­ara as the Speaker. 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.

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 mil­lion 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 led to the late passage of the bud­get, and the at­ten­dant hard­ship and suf­fer­ing that en­sued.

This is not to men­tion the in­fa­mous N4.1 bil­lion that he shame­lessly padded to his con­stituency of Babeji/Kiru and not to talk of the so-called Muham­madu Buhari Film Vil­lage he sin­gle-hand­edly in­serted in the bud­get and cited it in his vil­lage with­out the con­sent or knowl­edge of the Pres­i­dent which was ve­he­mently re­jected by peo­ple of Kano state.

This made other members very un­happy with Jib­rin over his role in the fi­asco, es­pe­cially his hoard­ing of in­for­ma­tion on the de­tails of the N6.06 tril­lion bud­get.

Speaker Dog­ara there­fore, was faced with two choices. Ei­ther back an ally and strong sup­porter who used his priv­i­leged po­si­tion as Chair 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 chair­man of the House Com­mit­tee on Ap­pro­pri­a­tion.

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.

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 backed his speak­er­ship bid sup­ported his emer­gence.

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 gen­uinely sup­ported him?

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. He has re­leased sev­eral doc­u­ments which sup­pos­edly prove Dog­ara’s com­plic­ity in some du­bi­ous acts, 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 clean hands. 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.

Onye­mere, a pub­lic af­fairs an­a­lyst, wrote in from La­gos.

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

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