As allegations of budget padding continue to rock the House of Representatives, its Majority Leader, Femi Gbajabiamila, has offered himself up for investigation by security and anti-corruption agencies.
A former Chairman of the House Committee on Appropriation, Abdulmumin Jibrin had alleged that Speaker Yakubu Dogara, Deputy Speaker Yussuf Lasun, Whip Alhassan Doguwa and Minority Leader Leo Ogor, illegally padded the 2016 budget to the tune of about N40b.
Jibrin also accused nine Committee Chairmen of inserting 2,000 fictitious projects worth N284billion into the budget. All the persons accused have denied any wrongdoing.
Rising from a meeting late Thursday, 10 Principal Officers of the House, including the Majority Leader, issued a statement declaring support for the Speaker and accusing the sacked appropriation committee chair of making wild, baseless and unfounded allegations.
Going a step further, Hon. Gbajabiamila, in a statement Friday, noted that though his name was not mentioned by Jibrin of padding the budget since the controversy began, there was a need for him to clear his name.
He also displayed a commendable spirit of sportsmanship by re-affirming the innocence of the entire body of Principal Officers of the House on the budget padding scandal.
It would be recalled that the member representing Surulere 1 Federal Constituency of Lagos State on the platform of the All Progressives Congress, APC, contested the Speakership position with Dogara, losing by a very narrow margin.
His statement read: “I returned from the United States just yesterday after a three-week break. I called the Speaker a day before my return to urgently fix a Principal Officers meeting so we could address the several allegations made by Hon Jibrin.
“At the meeting, Speaker Dogara, Deputy Speaker Lasun, Chief Whip, Hon Ado Doguwa and Minority Leader, Hon Leo Ogor passionately and vigorously clearly stated their innocence.
“A prepared text was read and we all agreed to sign. For me as the Leader of the House, I felt it was important to give them the benefit of doubt which in any case is what our constitution says.
“The decision to relieve Hon Jibrin was indeed a collective decision of which I was a part of.
“However, I gave a caveat before the press release was signed, I made it clear to my colleagues in the leadership that because somehow my name had been sullied in all of this and fake documents and publications had been put out there in traditional and social media, which stated I was also involved in the so-called padding of the budget, that I would need to clear my name and that even though no petition was filed against me by Hon Jibrin and no invitation was extended to me by the police, I would be submitting myself on my own volition to the police for investigation.
“This is important to me as insinuations have been made from many quarters that I along with others were sponsoring Hon Jibrin. I have just this afternoon met with the police authorities for a proper and thorough investigation of my role if any in this whole bizarre episode”.
PDP Governor, Matawalle Commends Umahi For Joining APC
Governor Matawalle who is a governor on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) attributed Mr Umahi’s decamping to “bad blood in the present Peoples Democratic Party.”
Governor Matawalle made this comment in a statement issued by his spokesperson, Zailani Bappa, on Friday.
He expressed that he would rather commend Umahi for “his bold decision rather than condemn him because everyone feels welcome only in a house where he feels comfortable.”
You Are A Worthy Successor, Aregbesola Tells Oyetola
In a congratulatory statement in Osogbo on Friday to mark Oyetola’s second anniversary, the Minister said the Osun governor has weathered the storm of governance effectively.
Aregbesola wrote: “I write to congratulate you on the second anniversary of your administration.
“I look back with pride and nostalgia the hard-fought battle of your election and the continuation of progressive administration in the State of Osun.
Also Read: Oyetola Bans Sales Of School Uniforms
“There have been challenges along the line – the inclement national financial weather, the COVID-19 pandemic and others not so significant. But you have weathered the storm admirably and steadied the ship of state.
“The challenges will no doubt present a new format as you step into the third year. These are heightened political participation, pressure to deliver more dividends of democracy and increased demands from the political system. I have no doubt that you will cope nicely.
“Please continue to make the welfare of the people your biggest concern. They are the reason for the state. Without them there will be no government or any political office to occupy.
“Once again, congratulations, as I wish you a resounding success in office and every aspect of life.
“My kind regards to the good wife, Alhaja Kafayat Oyetola and the entire cabinet of the State of Osun.”
Why Fewer Nigerians Are Turning Out To Vote – Yakubu
Former chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Professor Mahmood Yakubu has stated that the country is experiencing low voter turnout during elections due to failed promises of politicians.
He made this known during his appearance in front of the Senate Committee on INEC for screening for his second tenure.
In the red chambers, when queried for the reason there is always a low turnout of voters during elections, Prof. Yakubu explained that Nigerians no longer trust politicians and are tired of hearing the same promises during electioneering campaigns, so they stay home during elections.
He also explained that the inadequate mobilisation of voters and violence recorded during the electioneering period also contributes to the low turnout of voters.
“Violence or threat of violence, people don’t tend to vote simply for that fear. Some people just stay on the side of caution by staying away instead of risking it by going out to vote.
“Sometimes, the performance of those elected is a very important factor. Some voters will ask ‘why should I go and vote? Because four years earlier some people made the same promise so nothing has changed.’
“It is a shared responsibility that we all have to put our heads together to solve but we will continue to do what is required by the law in the area of voter registration and publicity,” he said.
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