Femi Gbajabiamila

The House of Representatives will follow the due process in dealing with the budget padding allegations, its leader Femi Gbajabiamila said yesterday.

“Whatever the House decides to do will follow due process,” he told reporters adding: “The majority of members will decide the case.”

The National Assembly resumed from a two – month recess yesterday.

Neither the senate nor the House attended to any legislative duties.

The House adjourned plenary till today because of the death of a member Adewale Elijah (Ifako Ijaiye, Lagos State) in July and four former a members.

Contrary to expectations in some quarters, the atmosphere in the chamber was calm. Members were seen back-slapping and exchanging banters.

Speaker Yakubu Dogara’s entrance was not spectacular.

However former Chairman of the Appropriation Committee Abdulmumin Jibrin (APC, Kano) challenged Dogara to address all the allegations on budget padding that he levied.

Jibrin told a news conference that Dogara made efforts at a Northwest caucus meeting on Monday to win the lawmakers support for an amicable settlement of the budget padding scandal, adding that the Speaker “begged that the matter be treated as a family affair”.

But he reiterated his call that Dogara should step down to pave the way for an unhindered investigation.

He said the speaker assured the meeting on the acquisition of their official vehicles.

He alleged that the caucus also passed a vote of no confidence on House Whip Alhassan Doguwa (APC, Kano) as leader of the Northwest caucus.

However, 13 members of the Northwest caucus, on behalf of their colleagues, faulted Jibrin’s account of the meeting was wrong.

Abdulrazaq Namdas (APC, Adamawa ) who spoke in behalf of the others also refuted claims that the Speaker ‘begged’ to be left off the hook on the budget padding scandal.

Namdas said: “It is a convention that on resumption from the annual recess, the Speaker conveys caucus meeting of the six zonal caucuses through the caucus leaders and preside over it.

“The meeting was not conveyed in a bad light and Speaker’s presence was to show the unity of the House.

“At the meeting, Speaker’s remarks centered on how to tackle the recession and why all hands must be on deck.

“Also the claim that the Speaker begged, bribed or blackmail members is also not true because the issue of cars that he raised predate this crisis.

“That the Speaker was whisked away was also not true because he had to leave before Jibrin could speak.

“Three people were allowed to make comments and after the three had made their comments, the Speaker had to leave because he had other caucuses to attend to as well.

“Even his claim that a vote of no confidence was passed on Doguwa and removed as caucus leader was false because he conveyed the meeting,” he said.

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