Ogor dismisses alleged N40 billion NASS budget padding
• Frank Urges Jibrin To Provide Evidence
A Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) member and Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, Leo Ogor, has dismissed the claim by former chairman of the Appropriation Committee, Abdulmumin Jibrin, that principal officers of the House selfishly conspired to allocate projects worth N60 billion in this year’s budget to their respective constituencies.
In the same vein, a chieftain of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Timi Frank, has challenged Jibrin to provide evidence to substantiate his claim against Dogara and other principal officers of the House.
Frank, in a statement, observed that it was quite disturbing and most unprofessional, the manner Jibrin decided to express his grievances against the principal officers.
Speaker Yakubu Dogara on Wednesday stunned members when he announced the decision of the leadership to sack Jibrin.
Dogara, who did not give an inkling of what was in the offing at the commencement of plenary on Wednesday, immediately replaced Jibrin with Mustapha Dawaki Bala, representing Kudu/Warawa Federal Constituency of Kano State as Chairman.
At a press briefing later, Jibrin told newsmen that a lot of issues took place during the process of the budget, promising to provide some of the details in due course.
Jibrin, a former staunch loyalist of the Speaker, in a statement on Thursday demanded the immediate resignation of the Dogara, his Deputy, Yusuf Sulaimon Lasun, Chief Whip, Alhassan Ado Doguwa and Ogor on the basis that they lacked the moral rectitude to remain in office on account of sundry allegations.
But Ogor yesterday dismissed Jibrin’s claim, saying: “Those are fabricated stories and the facts are in the budget.”
“I think this is coming from somebody who is a little bit upset, who doesn’t know his left from his right. It is unfortunate, but I don’t want to go into altercation with him.
“At the appropriate time, when we resume on the floor, we will speak, but I can assure you that they are all bunch of lies and there is nothing in it.
“Why didn’t he make available these allegations all along? Those are the questions you need to answer.
He continued: “He was the one that addressed the issue of this budget and accused the Presidency and the executive in respect of issues that bother on the budget.
“Today, he is singing a different tune, and I think he is good at singing different tunes anyway.
“So, like I said I am not going to go into any altercation with somebody I consider not a serious person.
“I am not going to waste my time over that issue and what he has said are all lies and this kind of blackmail doesn’t work with the likes of Leo Ogor. He is just wasting his time.”
Frank, who is the deputy national publicity secretary of the APC, said the approach taken by Jibrin indicates that he has personal scores to settle with the principal officers.
Wondering why Jibrin had to wait till he was removed before opening up on the alleged misdeeds against the officers, he noted that Jibrin should have presented the facts at his disposal to the various anti-graft agencies in the country.
“The National Assembly is a sacrosanct institution and must be made to remain so in the eyes of the public, even where there are disagreements amongst senators and House members.
“Any attempt to rubbish this institution must be resisted by all democratic stakeholders, whilst resisting impunity in order to carry out its business of legislative functions to Nigerians.
“So, why wasn’t this matter petitioned to the appropriate quarters for investigation, since the leadership has no immunity of sort. Or was there a sinister motive to be quiet and become an accomplice to the crime he has stated in his press conference?
“I make bold to challenge Jibrin to come up with evidences to these allegations as stated in his press conference.