By AbdulSalam Muhammad
WHAT started like a tale by moonlight, had last weekend, turned into a national political sensation demanding the recall from vacation of the House of Representatives.
Remarkably, the guilt or otherwise of Rep. Farouk Lawan in the $3 million cash for clearance scam remains on the balance given the decision of the House to refer the issue to its Committee on Ethics and Privileges for investigation.
Given that the scandal has become the focus of almost all political discussions in the National Assembly and many political talk shops around the country, it is not surprising that constituents of Lawan in Bagwai and Shanono local government areas of Kano who have sent him to the House since 1999 would have a say.
Not surprisingly, the echoes of the people are a mix of shock, embarrassment and yes, there is a ‘serve him right’ response from his local political traducers.
Shock and anger
A middle aged farmer, Ubale Bapayo of Kofar Fada told Vanguard that “we learnt of the scandal on BBC Hausa service one early morning. What I can deduce from his argument in my capacity as a layman is that our son has a case to answer”.
Bapayo stated that “Farouk Lawan’s trouble is self imposed because he failed to demonstrate smartness while dining with those that are more clever and sophisticated. We, however, cannot deny him at this trying period, until the whole process ends but I have no reason to go out of my way either in prayers or otherwise for a son that barely recognizes our existence.”
Speaking in the same vein in Shanono, a stalwart of the opposition All Nigeria Peoples Party, ANPP, Abubakar Usman, revealed that the absence of sympathy for the embattled legislator by his people emanated from his own negligence.
Usman said: “You only identify with someone that recognizes your existence but go round and find out whether anyone from this town appears to have shown concern on what has befallen a man they can legitimately claim to be one of them.”
He revealed that the ranking member of the National Assembly has no viable constituency office of any description in the two local councils, adding that “we only learnt that he engaged and paid few people stipends at the end of every month”.
He affirmed that Lawan has not impacted on his people, asserting that there is no developmental project in any of the two local councils that make up the federal constituency traceable to him.
He, however, stressed that despite the mistake “we will continue to identify with him in prayer at this moment of trial and tribulation.”
Similarly, the Bagwai PDP council chairman, Alhaji Inuwa Zangina Dangada noted that “if in the end a prima facie case is established against the lawmaker, he should be made to face the full wrath of the law.”
Dangada, however, called for robust investigation that will lead to the root of the scandal pleading that “Farouk should be presumed innocent until it is established otherwise.”.
But Ali Katako, another chieftain of PDP told Vanguard that Nigerians are being treated to the other side of quality representation, stressing that the two councils that make up the federal constituency have nothing to show for Lawan’s claim of long representation in the House of Representatives.
He said: “We have remained faithful to Lawan’s political career over the last 13 years, but I doubt if any of us can point at something in return for our political gesture. He hardly comes over here which perhaps explains our under development structurally and physically. In a nutshell we have seen less of his impact arising from so called long and quality representation”.
Katako, who also doubles as Commandant, Bagwai unit of Askarawan Kwankwasiyya noted that the development is self imposed, adding that “the only regret we seem to be nursing now is the twist that has put us in bad light”.
While the people in his constituency share a mixed feeling on the matter, elements in the State House of Assembly seem bent to drag politics into the issue as some legislators were last week proposing a motion that would condemn the focus on Lawan as a “move against the North.”
It is not surprising, given Lawan’s well known gubernatorial ambition. Well that motion, however, seemed to have lost steam after the House of Representatives resolution suspending Lawan from his committee positions.