THE embattled former chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Appropriation, Abdulmumin Jibrin, should know that he is dealing with a clan of nincompoops. My omission of the ‘honourable’ from his name is not an error or oversight because the ‘honourable’ status of any man with the kind of attitudes Jibrin has demonstrated in recent days has should be question.
In plain, simple thinking, this man, who could be considered a thief has gone to town to call everyone a thief, while neglecting the fact that he was caught in the act. This kind of duplicity is insulting, not only because it sought to hide the true extent of Jibrin’s involvement in what he is being accused of, but also because he seems to have concluded that our collective intellect as a people, is inadequate to properly interrogate issues and come to a logical conclusion.
First, Jibrin enjoyed all that came with being the chairman of that ‘juicy’ committee for as long as the honeymoon lasted. We did not hear about how he was being coerced into doing things that run contrary to his saintly belief. The entire process that the budget must pass through him before passage, which was his responsibility, took place under his watch without as much as a whimper that something was not right with the figures. If he did not discover at this stage that the budget was padded or that things and figures that should not be in it were being inserted, then he should be held accountable for being crassly stupid. In this case he would lack the competence to be the chairman of the otherwise sensitive committee and also would be unfit to represent even a bunch of persons with learning difficulties.
Secondly, Jibrin left the country in a ‘is it a bird, is it an airplane situation’ with the drama over whether he was sacked or he resigned. Okay, I say he was sacked. He was disgraced out of office for the crimes he committed against the rest of us by improving on the strategy for stealing money when many of us are shouting hoarse that the scale of corruption that had prevailed in the past is not sustainable. Jibrin’s claim that he resigned flied in the face of the wind when one takes a critical look at the timeline: The House Speaker, Honorable Yakubu Dogara had announced the man’s sack before he hurriedly let on to journalists that he resigned. If he had resigned to be a whistle-blower as he claims he would have been able to tell the world the so called fraud he said he uncovered before his sack was announced. We would have all been singing his praises today if that was the sequence of events.
Had Jibrin been meaning to come clean and that is assuming he genuinely committed these atrocious thefts with the active participation of the leadership as he is trying make us believe, he would have been able to immediately lift the lid on the sleaze at the point when he announced his hallucinatory resignation. The number of hours it took him to start dishing out his own set of figures and naming names were crucial time during which he has had time to rehearse in from of his dressing mirror, possibly with an acting director, to ensure he sounded convincing after editing the facts to leave out his own role in the entire sordid affair.
Fourthly, upon flagging the budget padding he could have allowed other Nigerians take over from there. For this there are several NGOs and activists that would have followed up to ensure we get to the bottom of what transpired among the lawmakers such that it would have been easier to know those that abused the sacred mandate that constituents entrusted to them. What I see was a Jibrin that was eager to turn the entire issue into a media circus where there would be a lot of sensational reporting that would eventually lead nowhere. The photo ops he had at the offices of the Department of State Services, DSS as well as at the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC were therefore uncalled for. The several times people embarked on as much theatrics like when Dino Melaye led a rented crowd there usually end up being wild goose chase or the case involved usually end up more as more of political differences than economic crime.
The media hype that Jibrin is working up around this matter therefore creates the impression that somewhere between when he thought to play the game spoiler for being removed from office and where we are today ,he has found some takers who are cashing in on the noise he is making to implement an agenda to which the chief accuser may not even be aware of its larger ramifications. He has caused unnecessary heating up of the policy especially where the House of Representatives is concerned.
The rest of us should do well to draw Jibrin’s attention to the yawning gaps in his account of what transpired instead of cheering him on like street kids would cheer the village idiot to make him debase himself some more for their own entertainment; oftentimes such street kids end up not being better than the idiot they mock and that is what we must not allow the former committee chairman do to our national psyche.
I cannot decide right away whether to upbraid Dogara for not exposing Jibrin’s itchy fingers earlier or if I should commend the Speaker for eventually firing him even though he initially tarried to make consultations on how to deal with the damage to the image of the House in the wake of the depressing revelation. Where the latter is the case it has proven to be cautioned and well taken as the thief eventually started calling others thieves. Even at that Nigerian are now wiser and now have a better sense of what truly happened. This is why Jibrin should stop insulting our sensibilities and prepare for when he would be charged to court.
*Onoja is a staff of the National Assembly Service Commission. He contributed this piece from Apo, Abuja.