BY SIMON EBEGBULEM
Rep. Bello-Osagie, the member representing Oredo Federal constituency of Edo State in the House of Representatives claims to dislike Farouk Lawan’s perceived arrogance. He, however, seconded Lawan’s motion to delist Femi Otedola’s Zenon Oil and Gas from the list of indicted companies. In this telephone chat, he claims he was not influenced to do so. Excerpts:
WHen Farouk Lawan moved the motion to drop Zenon Oil and Gas from the list of indicted companies in the report of the ad-hoc committee on Subsidy Management you seconded him. Why?
Let me explain how these things work in the House. Before considering that report on the floor of the House, Farouk made an application through a motion to expunge Synopsis Enterprises Limited and Zenon oil and Gas that the two companies should be expunged from the list of indicted companies by the committee.
This Synopsis and the other one were part of the other indicted companies. But before the presentation of the report to the House, Hon. Farouk Lawan vide a motion informed the House that the committee discovered that these two companies were not part of the fuel subsidy scam and that therefore they should be removed from the list of indicted companies.
So the Speaker now asked him to move a motion to that effect. As usual the Speaker will ask for secondment after a motion. He moved a motion and over a hundred or more people raised their hands to second the motion because we were all satisfied with what the committee did.
Then the Speaker identified me and then I now seconded the motion. The next thing the Speaker did was to raise the question, that all those supporting the motion moved by Lawan should say aye, and those against should say nay. Everybody said aye without a single nay.
As a matter of fact what is fundamental is that this saga came in after the consideration of the report. It came to limelight after two weeks that I moved the motion. The House had no knowledge of what was going on until last week for some thing we considered two weeks ago. So that was what happened.
But some persons believe you may have been working with Lawan and that that was why you seconded the motion?
It is only people who want to play politics that will say something else. The truth is that not one person said nay to the motion moved by Farouk Lawan that very day. I have been moving motions and equally seconding motions at the floor of the House. This is not the first time and besides, hundreds of people would have done the same that very day. I believe we all supported the report that day not knowing that it will be scandalous later.
It is because the House did not have the information about the scandal if not there is no way we would have passed it. And now if they are insinuating any other thing against me, personally I am not close to Lawan. Lawan is one person that will expect you to greet him first before he greets you and I don’t like that kind of person.
Discoveries in the report
Again, I am not a member of the committee. Secondly we are not friends he is just my colleague. But I was satisfied like every other Nigerian about the discoveries in the report. A lot of Nigerianns applauded the report and we could not have done otherwise. It was actually based on the joy, the recognition that we have done something good for our people that I seconded the motion. We were all happy until this matter came up. If outsiders applauded them why can’t I applaud the report? This bribery scandal came nearly two weeks after the consideration of the report by the House.
There is no question of inducement, I did what I did because the report was applauded by Nigerians and that is the truth. Nobody could have induced me because I am not even close to the chairman of the committee, Lawan. He is just a colleague so it will be very wrong for anybody to insinuate that I was involved in the bribery and that was why I seconded the motion. If I knew about the scandal, there is no way we would have seconded or even acted on that motion.