By Emmanuel Aziken, Political Editor
The unanimous decision of the House of Representatives to suspend a supposedly errant member, Abdulmumin Jibrin is the latest episode in the crisis in the House. Whether it would settle all issues is another matter
It was a matter of irony last Wednesday in the House of Representatives when House Leader, Femi Gbajabiamila was called upon to move the motion for the adoption of the report on investigations into the conduct of Abdulmumin Jibrin, the former chairman of the House Committee on Appropriation.
The irony was that all along, Jibrin in his recent actions had shielded Gbajaibiamila from the public ridicule he had subjected others in the House leadership to.
Jibrin, had immediately the House went on recess, raised allegations of corruption against Speaker Yakubu Dogara and several other members including four other principal officers who he said harvested billions from the N100 billion Constituency fund.
He particularly gave the impression that Dogara was also involved in several other acts of corruption even as he portrayed himself as a born again activist engaged in a fight to clean up the mess in the House.
However, when it came to Jibrin’s point of crucifixion, Gbajabiamila whether acting according to the call of duty as House Majority Leader, or political expediency, was quick to move the motion for the adoption of the report of the House Committee on Ethics which investigated Jibrin.
Jibrin became about the first member to be suspended since the inauguration of the Eight House and the first member to be suspended since the suspension of Dino Melaye and 10 other members in 2010.
Other legislators who have suffered similar fates were Senators Arthur Nzeribe, who was suspended by the Anyim Pius Anyim Senate in 2003 and Senator Joseph Waku, who was suspended by the Evan Enwerem Senate in 1999.
Even before then, Dr. Sidi Ali was also suspended from the House of Representatives in the Second Republic after he allegedly pulled a toy gun in the House.
However, the unanimity with which the House adopted the report of the Ethics Committee on the outbursts of Jibrin would underscore the level of outrage by members against him.
It didn’t help that Jibrin did not show sobriety when he saw the handwriting on the wall.
Jibrin, it was alleged, had tried to create division among the principal officers by consistently naming only four of the ten principal officers as culprits in the alleged budget padding scam. The quartet included Speaker Yakubu Dogara, his deputy Yusuf Lashun, the House Whip Alhassan Doguwa and Minority Leader Leo Ogor.
His unwillingness to name Gbajabiamila among the allegedly crooked officers despite the claim that the House Leader just like all other principal officers got projects for their constituencies, was generally regarded as real politick. In the opinion of some, Jibrin having burnt his bridges in the All Progressives Congress, APC, needed Gbajabiamila to find safety in the Tinubu Camp of the party.
It was also suggested that in courting Gbajabiamila and Tinubu that Jibrin was also trying to tap into the sentiments against Speaker Dogara in Tinubu’s camp arising from the differences between the party leader and associates of Speaker Dogara.
However, such suggestions could not stand in the face of the strong animosity against Jibrin who many members saw as trying to eat his cake and have it.
Members were particularly peeved that the now suspended member brought collective odium on the House in his series of allegations against the House leadership.
It was as such not surprising that when the House resumed penultimate Tuesday that the Jibrin matter immediately came to the fore.
The chairman of the House Committee on Rules and Business, Orker-Jev Yisa had following the preliminaries of the opening Tuesday tabled a motion on Wednesday, September 21, referring Jibrin to the House Committee on Ethics for an investigation.
A move by Jibrin to estimate the level of support for him among his colleagues on that day showed that an overwhelming majority of the members were clearly against him.
It was as such not surprising that some members of the House under the aegis of the Transparency Group who had sought to use the Jibrin crisis to unsettle Speaker Dogara quickly recoiled.
Gbajabiamila, who has in the last one year also had a mutually suspicious relationship with Speaker Dogara, arising from the bad blood that flowed during the leadership election also did not pander to Jibrin.
In fact, it is claimed among some that whether it was his role as majority leader to move the motion for the adoption of the report or not, that Gbajabiamila would have been enthusiastic to show to sceptics that he was not working in cahoots with Jibrin in his actions against the House leadership.
So when last Wednesday as he sauntered into the House chambers, the Deputy Speaker who was presiding called on him to move the motion for the report, Gbajabiamila did not raise any issues as he immediately did so to the unanimous approval of the House.
The suspension would stop Jibrin from enjoying all benefits of the membership of the House of Representatives for the next one year.
Jibrin has, however, promised not to make the year a happy one for those remaining in the House.