22 July 2016
Year 2016 has been a year of major clashes between the three arms of the Nigerian government.The economy and the citizenry are, however, at the receiving end of the brunt.
From the executive-legislature clash over the “padding” of the 2016 budget, to the legislature’s claim of being victim of a witch-hunt by the executive with the aid of the judiciary; and lately, the clashes between the dissenting ranks of the legislature, there are pointers to the fact that Nigeria’s democracy is on the teeters.
Members of the Senate and the House of Representatives have formed camps and support groups divided either along political party lines of – PDP and APC – or other divisions, albeit for pecuniary or assertive gains.
Last week, the Senate was the theatre of war where APC’s Senator Dino Melaye allegedly assaulted fellow APC member, Senator Oluremi Tinubu, wife of APC Chieftain, Bola Tinubu, verbally and used uncouth words.
Oluremi Tinubu was also alleged to have insulted Melaye as behaving childishly and like a thug each time matters of national importance were being debated.
At the House of Representatives, the Speaker, Yakubu Dogara, is in tango with the now former Chairman of the Appropriation Committee, Hon. Abdulmumin Jibrin, over the real reason the latter ceased to continue as Chairman of the committee.
The situation become a matter of counter-claims after Jibrin issued a statement denouncing the reason stated by Dogara as being responsible for his removal as Chairman.
“It is a complete misrepresentation of the facts; it is false, mischievous, unfair and a calculated attempt to bring my name to disrepute, blackmail, silence and to use me as a scapegoat,” Jibrin charged.
Jibrin claimed he stepped down voluntarily and was not removed as claimed by Dogara.
He stressed that it was a “personal decision” as he could not continue to be used to cover up “padding” of budgets.
“I have all the documents in which Dogara and three other principal officers padded the 2016 budget with N40 billion to be shared among the four of them under the guise of constituency projects,” an enraged Jubrin charged.
“Another contentious issue was my opposition to the proposed law granting immunity to the leadership of the National Assembly…. Everybody knows me, I say my mind as it is….. I don’t pretend and I cannot be used by anybody,” he said.
Reacting through Abdulrazak Namdas, spokesperson for the House of Representatives, Dogara declared that “it is the prerogative of the Selection Committee of the House to appoint and remove committee chairmen. That power has been so exercised in the case of Hon. Abdulmumin Jibrin as chairman of Appropriation Committee.”
Dogara described Jibrin’s allegations of the N40 billion padding of the 2016 budget and his opposition to the immunity bill for presiding officers as “non-issues and mere afterthought manufactured simply because the House relieved him of his position”.
He further accused Jibrin of “cheap blackmail” for insinuating that he was removed because of his opposition to the immunity bill.
“We must make it abundantly clear that he was not removed because of his support or otherwise for the immunity bill. After all he is not the only one who opposed the bill,” Dogara countered.
It is interesting to note that Hon. Jibrin was a former ally of Speaker Dogara. At what point that relationship ended and Dogara proceeded to throw Jibrin under the bus is not clear.
The counter-claims by both camps and the altercation at the Senate between Melaye and Tinubu points to the fact that the National Assembly, like the proverbial house, is divided and cannot stand.
Little wonder, therefore, why some Nigerians are calling for the scrapping of the Eighth Assembly.
Author: Aderonke Adeleke
Writer. Music lover. Movie junkie. Social Media Enthusiast. Aspiring dancer. Aspiring photographer. Social Introvert.