Speaker of the House of representatives, Yakubu Dogara, today said the truth regarding the allegations of budget padding leveled against him and some other lawmakers by sacked Chairman of the House committee on Approrpiation, Abdulmumin Jibrin. He said this in his welcome speech to the House of Representatives members.
“The events of the recent weeks give cause for grave concern and pose existential threats to the corporate integrity and image of the House as a democratic institution designed by the Constitution to play a vital role in our nation’s governmental system.
Shortly after we adjourned for the recess, our colleague and erstwhile Chairman Appropriation Committee, embarked on a strange propaganda clearly aimed not only at the destruction of the image of some members but a systematic destruction of the institution of the House of Representatives and indeed the legislature by portraying it to the public as an irredeemably corrupt institution. The chiefest motivation for his actions, as he has said severally and repeatedly is to have the four principal officers removed from their positions and not that the truth should be known.
It was TS Eliot who once said, “the last temptation is the greatest treason: to do the right deed for the wrong reasons”. Unfortunately TS Elliot didn’t tell us what it is when someone does the wrong deed for the wrong reasons. These wild allegations which were initially directed at four Members of the House Leadership progressively engulfed the entire membership of the House and then the Institution.
We chose the part of maturity by maintaining great restraint in the face of all these, fully conscious of the fact that at the appropriate time, the truth will prevail. I have bad news for those who think they can pull down this Institution of the people. If history is any guide, no one, in a democracy has ever succeeded in destroying a democratic Institution such as the House of Representatives, although examples abound of such effort by people both within and outside the Institution. Ours cannot be different”he said Speaking further, he said “Let me assure all Nigerians that the House is fully conscious of its watchdog role in our democracy and will always strive to earn the trust and confidence of Nigerians. We are also patriotic enough to understand the mood of the nation and the critical and sensitive matters of urgent national importance deserving our immediate attention.
We will therefore not be distracted by any insidious antics however well orchestrated, and falsehoods however cleverly propagated to confuse Nigerians. We remain accountable to Nigerians for our conduct as public servants. This is not the appropriate venue to address allegations made against individual Honourable Members many of which are criminal in nature as there are constitutional avenues for that. This is more so that these matters are before all the security agencies and ridiculously before some Foreign Missions! It is however important to briefly say that nothing warrants the deliberate attempt at destructive public misinformation aimed at discrediting the House as an institution.
These events have shown that we certainly need to engage more with the Nigerian public on the functions and modus operandi of the National Assembly, which is a democratic institution that relies on public support for its activities. I am sure we will emerge from all these stronger and more committed to attainment of national goals than before”.