By Dipo Awojobi – Embattled former Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Appropriation, Abdulmumin Jibrin has urged the All Progressive Party (APC) party hierarchy to prevail on Speaker, Yakubu Dogara to resign his position in the light of the allegations of budget padding leveled against him and 3 others.
Mr. Jibrin, in a letter addressed to the National Chairman of the party, John Oyegun, detailing allegations of corruption against Mr. Dogara, said he regretted working for the emergence of the Speaker against Party’s wish, asking that he be forgiven.
The former Appropriation Chairman chronicled his relationship with the Mr. Dogara and what he called detailed allegations against Speaker and 12 other corrupt members.”
“The role I played to the best of my conscience at then sir was patriotic. I analysed the 2 candidates and felt Speaker Dogara has a better temperament to make a good Speaker. It was a narrow line of thinking, an error of judgement.
“It took only few weeks after the election for me to realize the corrupt and dangerous man inside the skin of Speaker Dogara. That was when I started getting reports of his corrupt practices for many years in the House undetected. I fell apart with Speaker Dogara instantly. Contrary to public belief, we have never been close since few weeks after he emerged Speaker.
“We practically disagreed on almost everything. From the appointment of Committee Chairmen, to splitting of Committees, to non-disclosure of the finances of the House, to his greed of unifying everything under his control, commercialization of bills, divisive approach across ethnic and religious line, arrogance and power drunk, corruption and fraud during the budget period among many others. But who will I tell or run to having played such a leading role in bringing him on board. It was a painful, frustrating and depressing period for me.
“He operates alone, keep weird relationships with top politicians. His godfather is Sen Iyiola Omisore. Speaker Dogara is of the habit of taking standing Committee Chairmen to swear oath of allegiance before Omisore. During the build up to the appointment of committee Chairmen I had a terrible disagreement with him. I stayed far away from him.
“I was in London when he insisted he wants to see me. He came to my hotel room and we talked for hours. I gave him a lot of advice but I never knew it was getting in from one ears and out from the other. He was more interested in telling me about the forces who didn’t want me to be appointed Chairman appropriation as if I cared. He mentioned Former Speaker and present Governor of Sokoto State Aminu Waziri Tambuwal as one. That is how narrow minded Dogara can be,” Mr. Jibrin further wrote.
Read details of the letter:
Chief John Odigie Oyegun
The National Chairman
All Peoples Congress APC
DETAILS OF THE ALLEGATIONS I MADE AGAINST SPEAKER YAKUBU DOGARA, DEPUTY SPEAKER YUSUF LASUN, HOUSE WHIP ALHASSAN DOGUWA AND MINORITY LEADER OF THE PDP LEO OGOR AND 9 OTHER STANDING COMMITTEE CHAIRMEN: THIS IS A LITMUS TEST AND DEFINING MOMENT FOR THE ANTI-CORRUPTION STAND OF THE APC AS THE WHOLE WORLD IS WATCHING
I write to the leadership of our party, the various organs and chapters of the party, elected and appointed officials of our party, supporters, well-wishers and members of our party in Nigeria, Africa and the world at large through your good office, the Chairman of our great party.
I write you this letter for four very important reasons:
1. To apologise and seek forgiveness of the party for the role I played in the election of the extremely corrupt Speaker Yakubu Dogara!
2. To give a background of the current crisis as a result of the allegations I raised against Speaker and the 12 other corrupt members.
3. To furnish you with the details of the allegations against Mr Speaker and the 12 others and
4. To provide urgent recommendation on the way forward before this crisis cause irreparable damage of our great party.
APOLOGY TO THE APC
Mr Chairman, you will recall the crisis during and after the election of Speaker Yakubu Dogara, Deputy Speaker Yusuf Lasun and Whip Alhassan Doguwa. You will also recall the leading role I played in bringing these 3 Principal Officers on board. I recollect with deep regret and pains and can still hear the eco of your voice in the make or mar meeting at the ICC shouting “sit down Jibrin, sit down Jibrin, Jibrin sit down” ” you dare not walk out of this hall Jibrin”! Sen Lawali Shuaibu watched helplessly with the box of ballot meant for the mock elections as I forced myself up, stood my grounds, made my points, held the hands of Yakubu Dagara, a green snake under green grass, and pulled him out of the hall. You saw what I didn’t see. A validation of the saying that ” what an old man can see, a young man cannot even if he climbs a tree” worst, an old man of over 7 decades. The rest is history.
The role I played to the best of my conscience at then sir was patriotic. I analysed the 2 candidates and felt Speaker Dogara has a better temperament to make a good Speaker. It was a narrow line of thinking, an error of judgement. It took only few weeks after the election for me to realize the corrupt and dangerous man inside the skin of Speaker Dogara. That was when I started getting reports of his corrupt practices for many years in the House undetected. I fell apart with Speaker Dogara instantly. Contrary to public belief, we have never been close since few weeks after he emerged Speaker.
We practically disagreed on almost everything. From the appointment of Committee Chairmen, to splitting of Committees, to non-disclosure of the finances of the House, to his greed of unifying everything under his control, commercialization of bills, divisive approach across ethnic and religious line, arrogance and power drunk, corruption and fraud during the budget period among many others. But who will I tell or run to having played such a leading role in bringing him on board. It was a painful, frustrating and depressing period for me. He operates alone, keep weird relationships with top politicians. His godfather is Sen Iyiola Omisore. Speaker Dogara is of the habit of taking standing Committee Chairmen to swear oath of allegiance before Omisore. During the build up to the appointment of committee Chairmen I had a terrible disagreement with him. I stayed far away from him. I was in London when he insisted he wants to see me. He came to my hotel room and we talked for hours. I gave him a lot of advice but I never knew it was getting in from one ears and out from the other. He was more interested in telling me about the forces who didn’t want me to be appointed Chairman appropriation as if I cared. He mentioned Former Speaker and present Governor of Sokoto State Aminu Waziri Tambuwal as one. That is how narrow minded Dogara can be.
I have always maintained to him that being Chairman appropriation is not in any way a favour to me. I dashed him money, he thanked me and left. The following day, he pleaded to me to join him at a house in London. I went and I saw him seated very comfortably with Sen Omisore. It was there he said he was going to appoint me Chairman appropriation and I should be reporting to Omisore! I was completely shocked. A nice lunch was served, we ate and we left. At least there are CCTV in London. I confided in a highly placed person who I wouldn’t want to mention his name. He advised me to remain calm and concentrate on my job. My refusal to comply with such questionable instructions largely accounted for the anger of Mr Speaker towards me. It was much later that I realized that Sen Omisore had adopted Speaker Dogara as a god son since their days as Chairman appropriation and house services in the 6th Assembly respectively. Studying Speaker Dogara in the last one year and many things I know that it may not be proper to mention here, he does not wish the APC well, he is a cheap pretender, he is not loyal to the party and he will provide a solid platform for a massive attack against our party in the nearer future. I know what I am talking about.
In a nutshell, it will be dangerous and potentially disastrous for the party to keep Speaker Yakubu Dogara on that seat. I wish to state that I deeply regret the role I played in the emergence of Yakubu Dogara as Speaker. I seek the understanding and forgiveness from you, our leaders and every member of the APC family that was hurt by my action. Thank God Almighty, I am young and energetic. I will be 40 on September 9th. I promise that moving forward, I will dedicate and completely commit myself to achieving the goals set out by the party. This case should serve as a lesson for everyone in the future.
BACKGROUND OF THE CURRENT CRISIS
Mr Chairman sir, let me reemphasize that I did nothing wrong. I committed no offense. I have never abused my office or corruptly enriched myself in the 5years I have spent in the House. No one has ever accused me of corruption in the House until lately after I raised allegations against Speaker Dogara, corruption started fighting back. They starting bringing up baseless allegations. I am pretty sure the anti-corruption agencies will do their job and all our party men and women will know the truth at the end of the day. My offense has been my refusal to be used as conduit to facilitate free flow of corruption in the House of Representatives I came under severe pressure during the budget period to break procedures and commit fraudulent actions. When they could not use me, the Speaker connived with few committee chairmen and they opened a bazaar of corrupt insertions into the budget. I complained to the Speaker but he took no action only for me to discover later that he, his deputy, Whip and Minority Leader were indeed the ring Leaders of that corrupt cabal in the House. All they wanted was to do away with me considered the obstacle. The Speaker and the 3 others were in the tick of the plot. The only time they call on me is when they need someone on television. I was blackmailed that it is my job as Appropriation Committee Chairman to defend everything about the budget whether I agree with it or not.
I did my work as appropriation committee chairman diligently. I followed all the laws and procedures. I have all the documents and video recordings of proceedings intact. Problem started when the President returned the budget. I was invited to a meeting of body of Principal officers. The speaker shamelessly denied he knew anything about the insertions. He knew very well that he and the 3 other Principal Officers connived with some Committee Chairmen to commit the fraud. By then, I could not take the pressure anymore from Nigerians who thought I wrote the budget alone while the Speaker, the 3 other Principal Officers and the Committee chairmen involved wickedly kept quiet. I told the meeting clearly that they were the culprit. The meeting became very tensed to a point where Lasun and Ogar wanted to exchange blows with me. I maintained my calm and to the God Almighty that I worship, apologized to them. I was overwhelmed but I knew I cannot continue to cover up anything again. It was at that meeting that they requested me not to tell my colleagues at the executive session that the 4 of them stole 40billion out of the 100 billion meant for constituency projects. I told them clearly I cannot.
We then moved into the executive session. Members were very angry with me. They have every reason to because they don’t have full information of what transpired. I was called upon to address the session. I prayed quietly and stepped forward. They asked me about cuts in their budgets, the Speaker knew the answer and kept quiet, they asked about the insertions, all the culprits were seated there but the Speaker kept quiet, they asked about their missing 40billion, the Speaker kept quiet. At that point, I told them that the Speaker and the 3 other Principal Officers took the money and shared it to themselves and few others. The session went ballistic! I was scared to say more than that. After that meeting, the Speaker and the 3 others became even more angry with me. They were determined to embarrass and disgrace me using every means possible. They just wanted me out of out of the job. They quickly in an arrangement alien to parliamentary practice set up a harmonization committee and appointed one of them the Deputy Speaker Lasun Chairman to send a message to all members and the public that there is no more confidence in me and I am the culprit and provide a more comfortable avenue to continue their fraud and poisonous insertion in the budget. Deputy Speaker Lasun did a great job. He indeed FANTASTICALLY loaded the budget with poisonous insertions for the QUARTET aided and abetted by the Speaker.
In protest that my secretariat was taken away from me on two occasions for such insertions to be made on the instruction of Speaker Dogara, I refused to sign the harmonized version until a compromise was brokered by Sen Danjuma Goje that the Deputy Speaker who headed the harmonization should also sign. At the budget was signed into law the QUARTET resumed their hunting game for Hon Jibrin. They went everywhere in search of something to nail me, they couldn’t find any. They were frustrated but remained desperate. At that point, I was already fed up but I was sure I will stand up to them and expose them. The immunity debate gave me a chance to prove to them that enough is enough. At that point, I had made up my mind to leave. The whole environment was filthy. The smell of corruption was all over Speaker Dogara. Everybody knows he and his gang of few other members like Hon Herma Hembe was very corrupt front, back, left, right and center. He isolated himself with a very few small minded rogues in the House. I informed the Speaker on three occasions but he always replied me that I will call you later so we can discuss. On Wednesday the 20th July I went up to him and told him I will announce my resignation if he doesn’t. He still said to me lets meet at 10pm in the night. They just wanted to ensure I am disgraced out of office.
He went on at the end of the session and announced that I have resigned but they have taken a decision already to sack me on allegation of offenses regarding the 2016 budget. A budget they and me know too well they are the culprits. I had to respond for so many reasons. It provided me an apple opportunity to open up on the mess they perpetrated in the budget and corruption in the House in order to force reforms that will restore the battered image of the House.
Mr Chairman, believe me or not, this is what I have always wished and prayed for an opportunity to do. Secondly, it is important to say my side of the story so that Nigerians will know I committed no offense. I was worried of my image. I have a family and children. The best I can bequeath to them is a good name. I therefore set out and released dozens of allegations against the Speaker and 12 others. Until date they have not responded to any of the allegations. In contrast, I have responded to all the allegations they raised against me which largely bothered on immaturity, betrayal and so on. My responses are in the public glare.
I proceeded to submit petitions based on the allegations to the EFCC, ICPC, DSS and the NPF for investigation and prosecution. While I have attended several meetings with these agencies to give insight on the allegations, provide documents and codes on how to crack these kind of corrupt cases and others in the House, they on the other hand continue to evade the anti-corruption agencies. They have used the period to intensify lobby for a safe landing in high places, hurriedly clean up the mess on their desk, shared money to some members for signature of confidence vote, offered incentives of committees to the Transparency and Integrity groups, embarked on an expensive media campaign to launder the image of the Speaker and attack my person and worst of all attempt to black mail the executive, senate and highly placed individuals with the cheap lies that the padding allegations, if dealt with decisively will bring down the whole country. What a blackmail on the entire country!
When Mr Speaker and his cohorts realized that I was out for a real show, haven submitted my petition and documents to the anti-graft agencies which clearly shows my innocence and them as the culprits in the whole budget issues, he made a disgraceful about turn. He announced to the whole world that padding is not an offense. Few days later, he boasted that the anti-graft agencies have no power to investigate or prosecute him that is why he has shun all their invitations. There was uproar all over the country against Speaker Dogara. Yet, in another shameful and disgraceful turnabout, he said in a statement yesterday that he was misunderstood, indeed! And added that no money was lost during the appropriation exercise. But at the same time all of these offenses the accused is Hon Jibrin. What a shame!
The same Speaker who claimed he “sacked” me for budget offenses. Mr Chairman, all the statements of Mr Speaker during in the last few days have clearly proved my innocence. I have decided to find appropriate constitutional and legal means to get the Speaker and his co travellers to account for the damage to my name and person and trouble he has caused me and my family. Yes, he has the powers to remove a committee chairman but it must be done with a huge sense of justice, fairness and responsibility. The Speaker also claimed at the Civil Society Dialogue that we did lot of good work in the budget. Why did it take him this long to come out and admit? Simple, it was myself and Goje that sorted out all that. He knew nothing about the efforts we made in that regards but shamelessly he wants to claim it. Mr Chairman, I have taken my time to explain this so that you will get a proper context to this crisis. Let me reiterate that padding is an offense. Padding can be tried under Nigerian laws. The Speaker can be investigated and prosecuted. Contrary to the claims of Mr Speaker, I can prove how money has been lost indirectly by government through padding.
I have pledged maximum cooperation to the anti-corruption agencies and I will provide them with guide and assistance on how to unravel all these crime and theft against Nigerians. For instance, let’s say an item in a budget proposed by the executive under Power for the purchase of a transformer cost N2million and same amount was budgeted. If the Chairman House Committee on power because he has the “powers” to appropriate decides to add N3million naira to jack up the allocation to 5million naira when it is a public knowledge that the transformer cannot cost more than 2million naira, what do you call that? That essentially means APPROPRIATION FRAUD! And such chairman is a FRAUDSTER, a common criminal. On the other hand, let’s say he decides to irrationally reduce the amount to 500,000