Abdulmumin Jibrin, the former chairman of the House of Representatives committee on Appropriations, has always known that he stands no chance of winning the support of his colleagues if it appears that he is accusing them all of corruption. And without the support of his colleagues, things could get really hellish for him in the lower house.
So in all his submissions, Jibrin has tried to emphasise that the corruption and budget padding allegations he is making are against the speaker, Yakubu Dogara, some principal officers and a few committee chairmen.
Speaker Dogara’s camp is also aware that its best chance of beating Jibrin is to make his specific accusations appear like a collective slap on the House of Representatives. At the moment, Dogara and his supporters are winning the battle.
After voting on Wednesday that Jibrin should appear before the ethics committee led by Hon. Ossai Nicholas Ossai, the House said it took the decision because Jibrin made allegations against the entire House.
According to House spokesman, Hon. Namdas Abdulrazak, the parliament cannot stop relevant law enforcement agencies from carrying out their investigations, but “the ethics committee is concerned with the allegations as they concern the House. Four people cannot do a budget, so if the budget was padded, it is the House.”
Of course it is totally possible for a few members to pad particular sections of the budget, but Abdularazak understands the strategy: Make it a case of Jibrin vs. the House.
Jibrin meanwhile insisted in a statement on Wednesday that “Mr Speaker tried to drag the House into the matter to give the impression that the entire House is the accused. I wish to state for the umpteenth time that the allegations are against Dogara, Lasun, Doguwa, Ogor and few others; NOT the entire House.”
The embattled lawmaker said he is ready to appear before the ethics committee as long as its proceedings will be televised and made public for the media and civil society groups to attend. But the House spokesman dismissed him, saying the format the ethics committee sitting will take is to be decided by the committee
“The committee would decide by itself…it is not for Abdulmumin to set agenda on how the committee should run. He is not the Chairman of the Ethics Committee, he was Chairman of Appropriation Committee,” Namdas said.
Namdas said that if Jibrin shows remorse, retracts his statements and apologises to the House, the Ethics committee would make recommendations on the next line of action to the House.