Budget Padding Scandal APC to replace Speaker Dogara with Femi Gbajabiamila?

Popularly called Tinubu's protégé, Femi Gbajabiamila was APC's favorite for the Speaker job before he lost out to Dogara.

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Dogara and Gbajabiamila play

Speaker Yakubu Dogara and House Leader, Femi Gbajabiamila (Informationng)

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Over the past two weeks, the media has been awash with news about alleged padding of the controversial 2016 budget.

From being declared missing by Senator Ali Ndume  on during plenary on Friday, January 12, to some projects being removed, the 2016 appropriation bill popularly called the "Budget of Change" was characterised by a number of anomalies.

After the document was eventually signed into law, the Federal Government announced that it would not be able to fund some projects in the budget due to the fall of crude in the commodity market. Another reason the government gave was that Nigeria's foreign reserves was "highly depleted by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) administration under the supervision of President Goodluck Jonathan".

Jibrin Abdulmumin, the former House committee on appropriation chairman reopened old wounds on Thursday, July 21, 2016, when he asked Speaker Yakubu Dogara, his deputy, Yusuf Lasun, minority leader, Leo Ogor and the whip, Ado Doguwa to resign for allegedly padding the 2016 budget.

Abdulmumin Jibrin play

Abdulmumin Jibrin.

(Information NG)

 

Few days later, some copies of documents allegedly issued by the speaker and his media aides began to fly around the media.

Most Nigerians have called for investigations and prosecution of those involved in the crime including former Head of State, Yakubu Gowon.

While Jibrin may have indicted key personalities in the House, the Kano state lawmaker is yet to make any comment against the House Leader, Femi Gbajabiamila. A situation which has got most Nigerians thinking.

Popularly called Bola Tinubu's protégé, Hon Gbajabiamila was the All Progressive Congress (APC) favourite for the Speaker job. The Lagos state lawmaker however lost out in the leadership contest to Dogara who was said to have been "picked by his boss", Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal of Sokoto state who served in same capacity during the last administration.

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Doara's emergence as speaker led to what was described by many as an internal war both within the House and the party as Dogara was seen to have disobeyed the decision of the party. Two camps immediately emerged within the House; those loyal to the new speaker and Gbajabiamila's group.

A lawmaker who spoke to Pulse correspondent in Abuja on the condition of anonymity stated that the groups remained in existence despite Gbajabiamila's announcement by Dogara as the House Leader.

"These two camps did not disappear even after Dogara announced Gbajabiamila as the House leader. Till now, the two groups are there", a lawmaker said.

Speaking on the allegation against Dogara and three others, the lawmaker said: "Isn't this too much of a coincidence that Jibrin has not mentioned Gbajabiamila in this whole budget padding issue despite his position as the House leader? If you don't smell a rat in this whole issue, I do.

"If a minority leader can be named in this issue, talk more of the leader of the whole House leader. I'm not saying he is involved or not. But I think the APC may just use this whole controversy to replace Dogara with who they have always wanted which is Femi Gbajabiamila.

"Once the House gets back, a lawmaker moves for Dogara's impeachment, and 2/3 of the House supports the motion, that is all. They will just nominate Gbajabiamila and I am sure no APC lawmaker will want to fool himself or herself by contesting with Gbaja because he has always been the party's choice. If that happens, the party will install who they have desired from the beginning and that's all.

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Describing the current crisis as "scary", the source said his colleagues have declined comments on the issue so as to prevent Jibrin from attacking them.

"My colleagues who addressed the press on Friday have been hit by Jibrin. In fact, Jibrin said two of them are on the list which he will submit to the EFCC. So you see, the matter is so scary that most people don't want to talk about it", he said.

Jibrin who was guest on Channels Television programme, Sunday Politics on July 31, 2016, said he had no regrets "betraying" his colleagues in the House of Representatives, adding that his revelation would cause a revolution in the National Assembly.

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