Frankly Speaking With Jola Sotubo House of Reps budget scandal shows there’s no change

The House of Representatives is in the middle of an embarrassing budget padding scandal and unfortunately, members of the APC are at the fore of the controversy.

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House of Reps Speaker, Yakubu Dogara and Abdulmumin Jibrin play

House of Reps Speaker, Yakubu Dogara and Abdulmumin Jibrin

(Vanguard)
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President Muhammadu Buhari and the All Progressives Congress (APC) promised us change, but all we have now is the same old wolf, albeit with nicer clothes.

The House of Representatives is in the middle of an embarrassing budget padding scandal and unfortunately, members of the APC are at the fore of the controversy.

The trouble started when Speaker, Yakubu Dogara removed Rep Abdulmumin Jibrin as head of the Appropriation Committee. Jibrin is the lawmaker who urged President Muhammadu Buhari to sign the 2016 budget without knowing the full details.

He was also one of those who vehemently denied allegations that the budget had been padded and even went further to issue a veiled threat against Buhari for refusing to sign the document.

“There is nothing abnormal…about a president assenting a budget before or after seeing the details. In any case, the budget details are usually sent within a week or two after passing the budget,” he said via a statement released on Wednesday, March 30.

“The NASS will continue to exercise its constitutional duty of appropriation to the latter. While recognising the President’s power to withhold assent, the NASS is also constitutionally required and has power to veto. But we don’t want that to happen and we don’t see this happening in this case,” he added.

However, the tables have turned, and Jibrin has become a very willing snitch with a truckload of dirt to spill out.

According to him, over N284 billion in constituency projects was smuggled into the budget by lawmakers, including Dogara.

“I am compelled again for the purpose of emphasis to state categorically that my allegations are against the quartet of speaker, Yakubu Dogara; deputy speaker, Yusuf Lasun; House Whip, Alhassan Doguwa, and Minority Leader, Leo Ogor, not the Honourable House as an institution nor other members of the body of principal officers," he said via a statement released on Sunday, July 24.

“When the Appropriation committee received all the budget reports from standing committees, an analysis was conducted. We discovered that about 10 of the 96 standing committees of the House introduced about 2,000 (two thousand) projects without the knowledge of their committee members, amounting to about N284 billion.

“Speaker Dogara has completely derailed, remains clueless, keeps on with an unmatched ego and surely leading the House to the biggest scandal it may ever experience,” he added.

The scandal is all the more amazing because Dogara has been portraying himself as a champion of Buhari’s war against corruption.

The Speaker, in November 2015, warned members of the House to shun corruption and recently even revealed that some persons who looted Nigeria’s coffers buried the money in farms.

“If you look at the massive looting of the treasury, actually, I have been in government for quite some time, I never, never could have imagined the scale of corruption that we are witnessing, where people took lots of money running into billions and buried them in farms,” Dogara said during a recent interview.

It’s a shame that the people who should be moving Nigeria forward by creating better and clearer laws are too busy stuffing their pockets to care.

ALSO READ: Dogara runs House of Reps' finances like a cult - Jibrin

It’s also very clear now that the APC is not ready to deliver the change it promised because its members are actually no different from the looters who robbed Nigeria blind.

The only solution to this problem is for Nigerians to ensure that only honest and honourable people are voted into the legislature when the next opportunity presents itself.

If we really want lasting change as a people, then we must change the way we think, and we must change the way we vote.

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