Budget Padding: HURIWA, 26 partner-groups accuse Jibrin of plotting to scuttle democracy

Posted by News Express | 2 August 2016 | 1,924 times

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The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has lambasted the dismissed Federal House of Representatives Appropriation Committee Chairman, Mr. Abdulmumin Jibrin, branding him an agent of destabilisation, working to destroy a strategic institution of democracy – the National Assembly.

The group has also asked the constituents of Mr. Jibrin to begin a process of recall so they could elect a much composed and dedicated democrat who wouldn’t actively work with anti-democratic forces within the executive arm of government to scuttle democracy.

In a press statement issued after a colloquium the rights group held yesterday in Abuja with 26 affiliate partner organisations, endorsed by Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, the National Coordinator and Miss Zainab Yusuf, the National Media Affairs Director, the group carpeted Mr. Jibrin for inviting the Directorate of State Services (DSS)  which is an affiliate of the Executive Arm of government to invade the hallowed chambers of the National Assembly to illegally seal off an office of the Appropriation Committee in clear violations of the constitutional provision which spells out unambiguous safeguards guaranteeing the principle of  separation of powers between all arms of government.

Excerpts from the media statement are as follows:

“We (Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria) are worried by the recent developments in the once calm and peaceful House of Representatives headed by a constitutional lawyer Mr. Yakubu Dogara. We are specifically bothered by the sudden eruption of politically instigated controversy surrounding the 2016 Appropriation, which has for long been passed by the National Assembly and signed into law of the National Assembly of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“We are aware that this same budget as we were told was heavily padded by the officials working in the Budget Office of the Executive Arm of government for which the media reported that some Directors were reassigned to other less juicy places but no single officials of the Federal Government was prosecuted or sanctioned since by law they ought not to criminally tamper with the proposed Budget, okayed and submitted by Mr. President.

“Even President Muhammadu Buhari who was on series of globetrotting activities then was quoted as telling his audience that those who padded the budget in the Federal Cabinet of the Federation would be dealt with but as we are already notoriously getting used to our business-as-usual tendency the matter died down but this same matter has been resurrected by the dismissed chairman of the House Committee on Appropriation Mr. Jibrin.

“This man for the many months that the controversy over the theft of the original deposit of the copy of the then proposed Federal Budget lasted actively defended the integrity and innocence of the House of Representatives.  But as soon as misfortune smiled on him with his dropping from the juicy position he then started singing like an ‘ecstatic canary bird that just swallowed some ecstatic substances’.

“This character rather than submit himself for investigation or say what role each one of his committee members or the larger house played if any, in influencing the padding of the proposed budget was the most vociferous defender of the house but his eventual dethronement from hierarchy of the House of Representatives is now the motivating factor for him to suddenly rebrand himself into the ‘public defender’ of the 'truth' and by so doing he has made nonsense of his public standing in the eyes of critical members of the public.

“He is lucky that we live in an epoch whereby the gullibility of most consumers of popular media contents has impeded any critical inquisitions or inquiry of any allegations published in the media like other people do in the advanced democracies.  In developed societies decent people would have by now dismissed him as a drowning man who wants to collapse and sink with whatever his hands desperately holds on to but alas in the local media in Nigeria such soft tissues of uninvestigated claims are made page one story.  Gentlemen, as media stakeholders we in HURIWA and our 26 other affiliates are disturbed about the ethical deterioration of the editorial foundations of the Nigerian Media.

“The media should have asked Mr. Jibrin whether he was the same character associated with infamous anti democratic gambit of 'One Million Man March' for the then maximum military despot to transmute into life President which was disingenuously called Youths Earnestly Ask For Abacha (YEAA). Was that Abdulmumin Jibrin allegedly linked with that infamous anti-democratic gambit for Abacha his twin brother or is it another case of identity theft and/or mistaken identity?”

“Gentlemen this Abdulmumin Jibrin instigated 'crisis is fraught with several layers of fault lines and political innuendos. The entire political drama is becoming more curious because it coincided with the most curious season whereby conspiracy theories are swirling around the necks of Presidency officials suspected of funding subterranean plots to 'overthrow' the properly constituted hierarchy in the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria with the recent infamous 'Nicodemus' type of visits to the President by former President Olusegun Obasanjo and the All Progressives Congress governors curiously known as ‘progressive’ governors forum headed by the most incompetent governor ever in Nigeria's history Rochas Okorocha.”

“Retired military General Olusegun Obasanjo emerged from his surprise meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari only to cast aspersions on the integrity of a very strategic institution of democracy, the National Assembly by his blanket accusations that virtually all the elected representatives of the Nigerian people are rogue elements.

“Obasanjo it was who unsuccessfully sought to subvert the Constitution through contrived amendments to railroad him into self perpetuation as life President. Curiously, Obasanjo told journalists in the State house that as a ‘messenger’ he was in the villa to deliver as message to Mr. President the same period coincided with the meeting of Mr. President with the APC governors who reportedly went away with N2 Billion each to wage internecine battle to overthrow the constituted leadership of the Red Chamber of the National Assembly because as they carelessly stated the National Assembly is not cooperating with President Buhari.

“The story that was circulated concerning the N2 billion was that it was meant to balance the equilibrium since the immediate past PDP produced President Goodluck Jonathan dashed the same amount to some (not all) PDP governors who were servile to his ambition but left out APC Governors and some other PDP governors considered antagonistic to him (Jonathan). But in the Naira rain in Aso Rock only APC governors participated in the bonanza but the other disaffected PDP governors who were reportedly left out by Jonathan were not mentioned.

“The leader of the APC governors forum who met Mr. President nevertheless stated in black and white that the Deputy Senate President is in their radar for removal from his coveted seat so the only APC Senator just 'procured' through an ethically challenged electoral  process can take over.  What kind of legacy are we passing on to our children?

“Do we want them to believe that governors can gang up and receive bribe to instigate the illegal and financially induced overthrows of a democratically constructed leadership of an arm of government?

“Then there is this APC senator in Bauchi who was recently attacked by hired protesters who alleged that he was disloyal to Bauchi State governor and President Muhammadu Buhari.  The man apparently unable to withstand the heat in the kitchen has surrendered his suspected loyalty to the Senate Leadership in preference for his newly professed total loyalty to the change mantra of Mr. President.

“All these plus the vociferous effort of Jibrin to destabilise the House leadership points to  well choreographed plots by reactionary anti democratic forces within the seat of power to psychologically and through contrived subterfuge pummel the National Assembly leadership into submission so that full dictatorship can take root in Nigeria.  The popular view on social media is that the wings of both the civil society community and judiciary have been clipped.

“In the case of the Judiciary the EFCC has never pretended that it has been detailed to harass and intimidate the judges into rendering pro-government rulings some of which are so outrageous that most decent minds are genuinely afraid that Nigeria’s democracy may be imperiled. Mr. President should speak to Nigerians and clear the fog of suspicion that he is using law enforcement agencies under his control to harass and intimidate his opponents and to emasculate the other two arms of government.

“Our question is whether Abdulmumin Jibrin is beaten by the bugs of Abachaism, which in summary is a perpetual inclination to avail his services to undermine democracy?

The way and manner he has executed this formidable and well funded campaign of calumny against the House leadership shows some hidden agenda.

•Photo shows Abdulmumin Jibrin.

Source: News Express

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