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Budget Padding Scandal: Obasanjo Supports Jibrin

Former president Olusegun Obasanjo has been exposed as playing a part in the budget padding scandal currently rocking the House of Representatives. Obasanjo has been revealed as one of those working against Speaker Yakubu Dogara in the ongoing feud between him (Dogara) and suspended Kano lawmaker Abdulmumin Jibrin.

Jibrin made the unbelievable revelation on Sunday, October 9 in an interview with Punch. Answering question on those supporting his war against Dogara, Jibrin expressed huge gratitude for Obassanjo’s support.

“A lot of Nigerians have been supportive. I want to specially thank former President Olusegun Obasanjo. He’s been encouraging me to hold on. But you know, in his usual way, he would say, ‘All of you people are the same. But I am happy that you’ve pulled out of them and you are exposing them. We will continue to give you support.’ “That occasional intervention has helped me to stay on track. I believe that a lot of members of the House of Representatives are corrupt – but, not all. There are still a few that are honest. They have integrity. They are pained by what is happening in the institution.

“They are overpowered. I remember there was a statement Obasanjo made some time ago that there were lawmakers who came to Abuja in trailers and are now driving cars worth between N20m and N40m. He is right. That is the problem we have in the House of Representatives. We need to do background checks on people before they find their way into the House.” Jibrin also said he is happy that President Muhammadu Buhari is not getting involved in the scandal. He also shut down arguments that former Lagos state governor Bola Ahmed Tinubu or House majority leader Femi Gbajabiamila are sponsoring his feud with Dogara.

“What do you want Mr. President to say? If he comes out to make a statement (about the crisis in the House) today, so what? I have tried to make people understand why they should not force the President to talk. I am an insider in the House. All they (lawmakers in the House) want is for the President to show the public that he is behind Jibrin and that will dilute my allegations.

“They will then say, ‘Oh, the Presidency is sponsoring Jibrin to fight the House of Representatives. After all, the Presidency did not support Dogara in the first place.’ They will not remember the fact that it was Jibrin that was at the forefront in the fight to make (Yakubu) Dogara (the speaker). I know that the anti-corruption agencies are working day and night.

The Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (Ibrahim Magu) set up a crack team led by a smart, young detective. If you see the discovery that they’ve made so far, you will be shocked. I don’t want to dilute their work. The President’s silence is good for this crisis. “It has allowed it to mature on its own and Nigerians are now convinced that nobody is using Jibrin. When the crisis started, they said (Bola) Tinubu was the one sponsoring me. Later, they said Femi (Gbajabiamila) was using me. The one they would have held on to – and it would have made sense – was if the President had come out to say anything to support me. If I was not a part of the past, I would not have insider information I have to fight the system (the House).”

Meanwhile, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has received a petition on how 50 members of the House of Representatives allegedly collected illegal allowances. The affected lawmakers include Speaker Yakubu Dogara; his deputy, Yusuf Lasun; the whip of the House, Alhassan Doguwa; minority leader Leo Ogor, Herman Hembe of the House committee on FCT, and Adams Jagaba.

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