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The tale of a legislative whistle blower

By Israel A. Ebije
24 October 2016   |   3:48 am
The removal of a chairman appropriation committee would have passed without a single stir. Shuffling of principal officers in the National Assembly is as constant as the definition of change.
National Assembly

National Assembly

The removal of a chairman appropriation committee would have passed without a single stir. Shuffling of principal officers in the National Assembly is as constant as the definition of change. But the undercurrents that led to the abrupt removal of Dr. Jibrin Abdulmumini and the resultant revelations against speaker Dogara, and the looming spiral effect on House members is what makes the whole world of difference.

Apparently piqued by his removal from the appropriation committee among sundry issues, the embattled House of Representative member has taken petitions to the DSS, ICPC, EFCC and Police. He has done what other lawmakers dare not do. While many have praised him for his courage, many are a bit distant, insisting he was a beneficiary of ‘sharp practices’ in the house, haven served for more than four years in the legislative business.

The revelation, however, has a make or mare consequence on the lower house. But the drama is not restricted to the distinguished members of the green chambers, the ordinary Nigerian is watching the unfolding scenes. It might not just be for the fun of seeing possible fistfights, but for the value of understanding the level of pillage “legally” permitted in the National Assembly.

Why the eruption took the dimension of rattling the terra ferma underneath the lawmakers is what many may not understand. Why is the embattled lawmaker ratting on his colleagues now, why wasn’t he on that snitch path from the onset? Would he squeal if things were going his way, how authentic is the legislative whistle blower?

Many Nigerians are not so fortunate with time, energy or depth of mind to ponder on what happened before the drama, all they are interested in is the emerging episodes revealing ‘plunder’ in the legislative chamber by people whose duty is to protect citizens from executive recklessness. The revelations would indeed place the lawmakers in the court of people opinion. The matter is indeed another defining sequence in Nigeria’s political history.

For Abdulmumin, his colleagues have suspended him for a whooping period of one year. That translates to legislative incommunicado, financial loss – on salaries and allowances for the embattled lone wolf. The worst that might befall him if he must be walled off from legislative duties is the possible loss of political goodwill from his constituency, which may lead to an abrupt end for his political journey.

Abdulmumin is however not cowered by the slamming of the gavel against him by his colleagues, he is fully loaded and blazing from all available barrels. Everyday the beef from the embattled legislator at his colleagues continues to illuminate on what appears like a cesspool of prebendal, philandering and plundering legislators. Certainly the one man riot squad is indeed giving Nigerians more than a lot to chew on.

It is indeed interesting to note that Abdulmumin is standing alone.
Instructive to also note that none of his colleagues want to blaze his precarious trail. The lone voice of the embattled lawmaker is certainly predicated on other factors far removed from fear to life. The apparent preservation of continuous flow of their financial floodgate is fingered as what has turned them blind, deaf and dumb to the image of reality Abdulmumin is trying to point to. His action has been described as pre-judicial since the case is in the court of law.

His colleagues are also thinking his position is akin to the ranting of a madman. He has been dismissed by many as a blackmailer whose comments should not be given the attention it is presently receiving. They insist he was suspended for breach of member’s privilege.

But the picture of the financial racketeering cannot be waved aside as it appears to reflect on grotesque hemorrhage of national wealth by the House of Representatives’ members. In Abdulmumin words: “I got N650 million as my running cost as the chairman of Appropriation Committee.” He further alleged other members of the committee got cash running into billions. He indeed indicted the leadership of the House mentioning several eye bogging sums of money.

The vituperation of the Representatives member has sent many armchair statisticians to put the Senate and House of Representatives to financial analysis. According to one of the analysis going viral on the cyberspace, a senator earns N36,000,000 monthly. The analysis further intimates that half of that sum can pay 200 Nigerians N90,000 per month.

The analyst further explained that a House of Reps member earns N25,000,000 per month. He stated that 135 Nigerians will earn N92,500 per month, if a member gives half of the money. Based on the analysis above, the entire NASS monthly salaries when split into half can employ 70,400 Nigerians who will earn between N90,000 and N92,500 respectively.

Going by the allegations, analysis and permutations, the NASS has lost its mandate as the arbiter of the core concept of democracy. But a quick rebuttal by some members of the House of Representatives reacting to Abdulmumin expose indicts him of “cheap blackmail.” They maintain that the budget of the NASS is not a secret, adding that every money expended is accounted for.

What if Abdulmumin is economical with the truth, what if he is acting the scripts of some elite trying to distract affairs of the legislative arm, what if the expose will truly emancipate the entire country from financial slavery by legislatures? A lot of rhetoric questions. As the case continues to unfold, so shall the light for transparency continue to illuminate on the legislative institution alleged to be too expensive for Nigeria’s bleeding economy.