Erstwhile chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations, Hon. Abdulmumini Jibrin, yesterday admitted that his revelations over the alleged padding of the 2016 budget were late.
Jibrin explained that he could not expose the budget padding in good time, as it was difficult for him to stand against the institutionalised corruption in the House of Representatives.
He also said that allegation of corruption levied against the National Assembly by former president Olusegun Obasanjo could not be totally.
Jibrin, while speaking on the controversial insertions into the 2016 budget, on a Channels Television weekly programme, ‘Sunday Politics’ said although this revelations were coming late late, but as the chairman of the committee, he was made to believe that certain information were not to be disclosed.
“I fought the battle of my life, I didn’t help myself, I started speaking late,” he said.
He added that; “I am a product of the establishment, and now my mentors will now realize that I have gone out of the cycle. I am so glad that I am breaking away from the cycle.”
He however explained that the insertions did not affect the size of the budget, noting that the harmonisations committee chaired by the deputy speaker Yusuf Lasun took advantage of the committee to insert more items for personal aggrandizement.
Abdulmumini stated further that just 10 standing committees out of the 96 standing committees posted 200 projects which amounted to N284 billion were inserted into the budget.
“After collecting the reports of the various committees, we did the statistics and shockingly, I discovered that just about 10 standing committees out of the 96 standing committees of the House posted about 2000 projects, totaling about N284 billion,” he stated.
Although, he admitted that the insertions were constitutional that the insertions into the budget by the principal officers of the House were constitutional, and it is a usual practice in the national assembly, he maintained that the insertions were outrageous and above the limit.
“There is that unanimity in the national assembly, we all do not agree with the word padding, of course as I have explained that there are so many insertions from the angle of the National Assembly, even though the law allows it, internally, I raised an observation, of course, I discussed the matter with the speaker, that personally I believe that the insertions were too much. And it is also very important that the constitution gave us the power to appropriate, but the intention is what I question, those were the issues I fought until eventually I left,” he said.
He stated further that; There have been insertions in past budgets; I saw the insertions in budgets of 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015. The only difference is that in 2016, the insertions went completely above the board.”
Abdulmumini maintained that there is Institutionalised corruption in the House, but members are quick to deny the fact.
“There is institutionalised corruption in the House, but we keep living in denial, it is my fifth year in the National Assembly, I have never been involved in corruption, I have never shared money.”
According to Abdulmumini, the size and quantity of insertions would always cause a rift between the executive and legislative arm of government. If the insertion into the budget is done from the executive arm of government, members of the national assembly refer to such insertion as padding, and when it is done by the National Assembly members, the executive arm of government also refer to it as padding.
When pointedly asked to explain the role of ministries, departments and agencies in the conspiracy, Jibrin said; “I don’t want to involve the executive arm of government in this, because the matter is already controversial, of course a lot transpired between the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Budget office on one hand and the Ministry of Budget and the Budget Office on the other hand.”
He noted that his mission was to force a revolution in the House of Representatives and a lot of issues ranging from corruption and conduct of members will be raised.