The budget padding scandal rocking the Federal House of Representative has continued to gain momentum, as 250 Reps members were revealed to have signed up for the impeachment as at Tuesday to impeach the House Speaker Yakubu Dogara in the lower legislative chamber, WDNewsreports.
The alleged plot to unseat the embattled Speaker over the budget padding allegations levelled against him by his former political ally and the ousted Chairman of the House Committee on Appropriation, Hon. Abdulmumin Jibrin created a palpable tension in the House of Representativeson Monday
According to a report, the incensed lawmakers who are currently on recess were forced to rush in their number from their vacation spots to meetings in Abuja where the alleged plot was discussed.
WDNews exclusively reports that there was a clandestine meeting, which took place in Abuja on Tuesday, where the 250 signatures were gathered for Dogara’s immediate removal and the meeting was presided over by the Majority Leader, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila.
According to investigation, the 250 lawmakers were given between this week and next week as a deadline to remove Dogara so that Gbajabiamila’s takeover will be announced by next week Thursday.
The soon-to-be hatched plot has left Gbajabiamila’s camp basking in euphoria, as the House Leader gears up for a takeover, and the success of the alleged plot will necessitate the emergency sitting of the House on Thursday next week with a view to inaugurating the new leadership of the House.
It was reported that Mr. Gbajabiamila, who had kept sealed lips over the crisis but broke silence on Monday when he doused the tension among factions by urging members to have faith in the leadership of the House under Dogara, as ploy to exonerate himself .
His reaction came on the heels of the report that some persons in the House in a text message that members of the House received on Monday accused Gbajabiamila of siding with Jibrin to remove Dogara because of his silence.
“This group disseminated a text message among members, alleging that there would be a change of leadership in the House.
The text message read, “Plot to destabilize the leadership of the House of Reps has taken a new dimension as the Attorney-General of the Federation, working with Gbajabiamila, Jibrin and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, has drafted charges to arraign and detain principal officers of the House so that the Transparency Group, who recently met with Tinubu’s wife, will effect a leadership change with Gbajabiamila as Speaker and Jibrin as the Deputy.
“This is why Jibrin did not mention Femi (Gbajabiamila) in his allegations. The 8th House won’t be anybody’s rubber stamp. We will resist them like the Senate resisted them.”
In a swift move to counter the allegation, Gbajabiamila communicated to members via text message that, “Since the budget controversy that engulfed the House about a week ago, I have pointedly maintained a dignified silence. I did this for the sake of the institution that I represent and which I have laboured hard to grow and protect, knowing that whatever I say could be impactful both within the House and outside it.
“I was determined to keep in place the glue that holds an otherwise fragmented House, protect its integrity and at same time avoid eroding the little confidence and vestiges of hope Nigerians have in us.
“Unfortunately, the controversy has now taken a different turn following the rather strange text making the rounds among members about my complicity in this rather sordid matter. I am being dragged into an arena I tried very hard to stay out of for the good of the House.
“The speakership election has come and gone. The election was divisive and acrimonious, but I have worked hard to heal the wounds, some of which still fester among members on both sides. It is my responsibility to bring together all tendencies in the House and I have worked well with the Speaker and all other principal officers in the interest of the institution and the country.
“The text message, which desperately seeks to finger me in some macabre plot to destabilise the House, is a throwback and echoes our dark post-speakership election history. The resurfacing of the faceless text messengers will not help us as a House, and let me quickly add that it will fail.
“My strongest critics and biggest political adversaries in the House cannot deny the fact that my commitment has always been to strengthen the legislature and its processes and our democracy as a whole.
“I consider everyone a friend and colleague and urge that as we collectively work towards a stronger legislature and strive to deepen our democracy, we do not pull back the hands of the clock or lose sight of the enormous responsibility placed upon us by providence as members of a critical arm of government.”
On Jibrin’s budget padding allegations, Gbajabiamila noted that judgment could not be passed on any official based on mere allegations.
He stressed that before the law, an accused remained innocent until proven guilty.
“It is clear that our budget process needs radical reform. Allegations have been made, but I strongly believe that judgment should not be passed based on allegations.
“We operate a constitutional democracy and we must at all times submit to its dictates and ethos. All parties are innocent until otherwise proven. “This should be our guide. I plead with all members; the mudslinging must stop,” Gbajabiamila added.
Inside sources who spoke to WDNews on the condition of anonymity, disclosed that the agenda of the meeting was how and when to remove Dogara as the Speaker.
The source said, “The plot to remove Dogara has already been hatched in that meeting and that was where the 250 signatures were gathered. The truth is that Dogara can’t survive this well planned impeachment.
“I also believe that more House members are likely to submit their own signatures to strengthen the process so that there will be no way out for the embattled Speaker.
“The Majority Leader, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila, has already started gearing up for the speakership position and he is not contesting it with anybody.”
In the same vein, WDNews gathered from another source that this is the real handiwork of the All Progressives Congress (APC) leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who has allegedly been scheming to take a stranglehold on the National Assembly in order to bring the President to his knees and make him pander to his whims.
Findings have revealed that the 250 House members who have signed up for Dogara’s impeachment were given offers they couldn’t refuse. They were promised juicy positions and cash offers if they successfully effect a leadership change in the lower chamber.
Also, it has been gathered that the Deputy Speaker, Mr. Yussuff Lasun may go down with Dogara as he was not spared in the Jibrin’s allegations of budget padding scandal.
This will likely pave a way for Mr. Mohammed Tahir Monguno to be enthroned as the Deputy to Gbajabiamila is who will become the Speaker.
Mr. Monguno who is representing Jere Federal Constituency of Borno State and Gbajabiamila have been Tinubu’s preffered candidates for the Speakership and Deputy Speakership respectively.
The embattled Jibrin has been hell-bent on dragging Dogara’s name into the mire and ensure his removal and prosecution.
His rift with the embattled Speaker reached its crescendo when he paid a visit to the anti-corruption agencies on Monday to officially submit a petition for Dogara’s probe.
Sources have reported that Gbajabiamila’s camp which has been pitching insidious tent against Dagara has quickly cashed in on the saga, using the aggrieved Jbrin as their stooge to embarrass the Speaker and relegate him to a political oblivion.