STAR REPORT: Here we go Again – Hints of Money Scandal in the National Assembly!

2 Comments » August 28th, 2007 posted by // Categories: Star Articles



 

 

STAR REPORT:  HERE WE GO AGAIN – HINTS OF MONEY SCANDAL IN THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY

 

 

 

 

 TABLE: Summarizing the Allegations………………

S/N 

 Public Officer

Office

 Allegation  

    Cost

Comment

 

 

 

 

 

 

1

Mrs. Patricia Etteh

Speaker, House

Renovation of Speakers’ }House, Birthday abroad  }

N628.8 million

Etteh says that she signed only N238. million contract

 

 

 

 

 

 

2

Mr. Babangida Nguroje

Deputy Speaker

Renovation of Deputy     }

Speaker’s House            }

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3

David Mark

President, Senate

Renovation of Senate President’s House

N450 million

Mark has denied it

 

 

 

 

 

 

4

Ike Ekwerenmadu

Deputy President

Repair of Leaking Roof of Deputy

Senate President’s House by FCDA

N29 million

 

 

 

VANGUARD

Presidency orders probe into N628m Reps contract

By Leon Usigbe & Tordue Salem

Posted to the Web: Monday, August 27, 2007

ABUJA — THE Presidency may have ordered an investigation into the N628.8 million contract allegedly awarded for the renovation of the official residences of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mrs. Patricia Etteh, and her deputy, Mr. Babangida Nguroje, as well as the purchase of new units of vehicles.

Sources revealed in Abuja that worried by the reports of the contract, President Umaru Yar’Adua directed the Director-General of the State Security Services (SSS) to probe the transactions to determine whether or not due process was complied with.

He is expected to forward his findings to President Yar’Adua who is desirous of projecting the image of transparency and accountability in his government.

Chairman, House Committee on Information and National Orientation, Mr. Dino Melaye, had claimed that the Presidency was aware of the contract in his defence of the story when it was first revealed but subsequent developments seemed to suggest that the Presidency was not contacted before the contract was awarded.

Mr. Melaye told Vanguard yesterday that there was no cause for alarm, although he also said he was not aware of the presidential order for probe.

Meanwhile, Senate President David Mark has intervened in the face-off between the Speaker and pro-impeachment lawmakers. It was gathered the Senate President called a meeting of the House leadership on Saturday where he stressed the need for an amicable resolution of the contending issues.

Etteh returns, moves to stall impeachment moves
 
Meanwhile, the embattled Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mrs. Patricia Etteh, returned to the country on Saturday from a two-week visit to the United States, to douse tension generated by allegations that she signed a N238 million contract for renovation of her official residence and that of her Deputy, Sai’du Babangida Nguroje.

The Speaker, who is facing threat of impeachment when the House reconvenes September 4, is said to be “reaching out to her colleagues” to nip the impeachment episode in the bud.

But one Rep (names withheld) who sounded implacable, said yesterday the moves by the Speaker might turn out to be futile when weighed against the opposition against her.
 
Another member from Delta State said on phone: “Well, does she feel that (reaching out to colleagues) is the right thing to do? There is nothing that can be done (to stop the impeachment move). When we return she would tell us if that contract was awarded or not. So that is it.”

“It is normal. She (Etteh) has to do it, because the allegations, though not yet confirmed are de-stabilising the country.” Special Assistant to the Speaker, Mr. Uchenna Awom, said yesterday.

He added that it was only careless leaders that would ignore the moves by their colleagues to bring them down based on unproven allegations.

In statement entitled: “How matters are in the House,” Chairman, Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Mr. Eziuche Ubani, denied charges by the Speaker’s opponents that she signed the contract, saying it was the duty of the FCDA to take care of such a contract.

“Various sums have been alleged to have been spent on the renovation of the Houses of the Speaker and her deputy. In truth, it ought to be the responsibility of the Federal Capital Development Administration (FCDA) to renovate the residences of the officers. And the National Assembly leadership took steps to get them to do so. But, the FCDA replied that it had no fund and advised the National Assembly to consider other ways of funding the project.

Gladly, the FCDA has authenticated this in a press statement yesterday. Not wanting to stay beyond two days in the hotel and run costs, and unwilling to agree to the likely huge cost that certain multi-national construction companies have charged for the job in the past, local contractors were invited by the Management Tenders Board. Selective bids were called in and guided by the evaluation of the Department of Works and Estates in the National Assembly, the contract was awarded for N238 million.

“Now, questions have been asked about why that money should be spent on the house. The last time such major work was done in the complex was in 2003. This time, the job was extended to include rebuilding of the perimeter fence, outside works, and furnishing of the four houses in the complex,” he said.

Ubani also denied allegations that the Speaker bought 10 jeeps for herself without the approval of the Revenue Mobilisation and Fiscal Commission (RMFC).

“Cars were bought for all the principal officers contrary to some erroneous impression that the Speaker bought 10 Jeeps for herself,” he said.

 

 
 NATIONAL MIRROR
August 28, 2007

 

N450m Renovation Of Mark’s House I Am Innocent —Senate President

From ADEMOLA ADEDEJI, Abuja

President of the Senate, David Mark Sunday denied in strong terms reports in some newspapers (National Mirror not inclusive) that he awarded contracts for the renovation of his Apo Legislative Quarters official residence, challenging anybody with contrary evidence to come out with it.

Senator Mark’s reaction was contained in a release which emanated from his office just as a Non-Governmental organization, based in Abuja, the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), called for caution in the probe of the Honorable Patricia Olubunmi Etteh, the Speaker of the House of Representatives who allegedly spent N638 million to renovate her official residence.

Mark’s Chief Press secretary, Mr. Paul Mumeh who signed the statement said the story titled “DPP urges NASS to Probe Mark”, which sugested that the Senate President also awarded a contract for the renovation of his residence for the sum of N450 million, was nothing more than an hatchet job by some unnamed enemies of the Senate President bent on dragging his name into the raging controversy over contract awards.

The release stated in part that, “the reports insinuated that the official quarter of the President of the Senate was renovated with the sum of N450million.The reports were quoting an unsigned official statement purportedly issued by a little known political grouping, identified as Democratic Peoples Party (DPP).

“We feel embarrassed and utterly disgusted that some respected newspapers could publish such a sensitive story without any attempt to verify from relevant authorities.

“For inexplicable reasons, many people are anxious to seek for any avenue and opportunity to blackmail and crucify the President of the Senate for no just cause. That is why they could rush to the press with this falsehood without verification. But the Senate President would not be deterred because the truth would always defeat the forces of evil”. it said  

“However, to put the record straight, the President of the Senate, His Excellency, Senator David Mark is neither aware nor participated in any renovation or building project since he assumed office on June 5, 2007.

We challenge anyone who has records that the Senate President has awarded any contract for the renovation of Apo Mansion to produce such records or keep quiet forever.

In a related development, CISLAC in a release also said it viewed with concern the looming crisis in the House of Representatives over the contracts awarded for the renovation of the Speaker and Deputy Speaker’s residences and called for caution in the interest of the nation’s nascent democracy.

“We are worried that the House of Representatives appears to be already swimming in the murky waters of controversy, this early in its tenure.  This situation is counter-productive in view of the high expectations of Nigerians from the House.

CISLAC appeals to all parties involved in the current impasse to exercise caution and follow due process in ascertaining the level of transparency and compliance to laid-down procedures around the controversial contracts, when the House resumes. 

“We believe that the Public Procurement Act and the Code of Ethics for legislators should be a guiding principle for the award of contracts in the National Assembly.

“At a time like this, we decry the sale of the Apo Legislative Quarters which would have provided easy accommodation for all members and made their work easier.  It is shocking to find out that the leadership of the last Senate approved the renovation of the Senate President’s residence which has the same architectural design with the Speaker’s House for over N400m”.

 

 

NEW NIGERIAN
August 28, 2007

N29m contract controversy in Senate
 
From AMOS DUNIA, Abuja

AS the controversy over the 640 million Naira renovation contract of the residence of the Speaker of the House of Representatives rages on, a fresh controversy over the award of a 29 million Naira contract for the repair of a leaking roof of the official residence of the Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, had emerged yesterday.

This followed denial by the office of the Deputy Senate President which stated that Senator Ekweremadu has nothing to do with the renovation of the building since it was yet to be handed over to him officially by the management of the National Assembly.

However, the office of the Clerk to the National Assembly has expressed shock over the denial by the Deputy Senate President’s ignorance of the renovation contract.

          This is coming on the heels of a controversy and crisis of confidence rocking the House of Representatives over the award of a contract to renovate and furnish the official residence of the Speaker.

It was gathered that a 29 million Naira contract was awarded for the repairs of the leaking roof of the Deputy Senate President’s official residence owing to alleged shoddy construction work done earlier by contractors engaged by the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA).

When contacted through his Special Assistant (Media) Paul Odenyi yesterday, the Deputy Senate President declined comments on the matter saying that he has nothing to say on the issue.

Odenyi said, “look, the Deputy Senate President will naturally not comment because the building has not been handed over to him. It is only the bureaucracy that can comment.” 

The Clerk of the National Assembly, Alhaji Nasir Arab, also declined comments but a senior staff in his Office who craved anonymity wondered how the Office of the Deputy Senate President could claim ignorance of the renovation contract

It was, however, gathered that after the Deputy Senate President who was dissatisfied with the substandard nature of some aspects of his official residence, the National Assembly management commissioned a reconstruction of some parts of the building located in zone “A” of the Apo district former legislators quarters.
A peep at the contract paper showed that some of the areas to be renovated include the ceiling, water seeping walls, the floor, kitchen and bathroom walls. Others include the complete replacement of low quality toilet facilities, staircase railings and anti-burglar bars, among others.

The National Assembly management decided to renovate the project after the FCDA that earlier facilitated the work on the official residence declined to carry out renovation work to make way for the Deputy Senate President to formally move into his residence.

The Executive Secretary of FCDA, Engineer Mohammed Sani Alhassan, stated in a letter dated 16th June 2007, that the authority did not have budgete
d funds for the renovation of the official residence of the DSP and Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives.

Accordingly, Engr. Alhassan advised the National Assembly to raise funds from other sources to execute the project, even though no mention was made of a refund by the FCDA for the project put at a conservative estimates of hundreds of  millions of Naira.
 

 

VANGUARD

Who is Mrs Patricia Olubunmi Etteh?

By Leon Usigbe, Abuja

Posted to the Web: Tuesday, August 28, 2007
 
Mrs. Patricia Olubunmi Etteh, Speaker of the Sixth Session of the House of Representatives, took the nation by storm when, against all odds, she  emerged the first ever woman Speaker of the House of Representatives  in the 44 years political history of Nigeria. But, for her, it was not a  surprise that she has come to the pinnacle of the nation’s turbulent political ladder.

Even though she may have had a humble beginning, her antecedents in politics suggest that she is somebody who had a clear idea of where her foray in the endeavour would lead her. Ever since she  joined the Alliance for Democracy (AD), which brought her to national  limelight, she has carefully plotted her rise through meticulous and accurate reading and analysis of political developments which saw her jumping  ship to align with the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

She was first elected to the House in 1999 on the platform of AD which,  immediately, selected her as its Chief Whip. It was in 2002 that Mrs. Etteh decamped to the PDP, on whose platform she was re-elected to the  House in 2003, in realization of the fact that opposition politics of the  AD held little future for her.

While in the AD and in recognition of her leadership qualities, she was  elected Deputy Majority Chief Whip in the House; a position she held  from 2003 to 2007 alongside being the Leader of the South West Caucus in  the National Assembly. She remained in that position until she  fulfilled her date with destiny when she assumed the position of the first  female Speaker of the House of Representatives on June 5, 2007.

That decision to leave the AD has proved to be an inspired one as it  turned out to be a master-stroke in her desire to lead the lower chambers  of the National Assembly. If she had remained in her original party, she would have probably belonged to the group complaining about her alleged marginalization of the opposition in the House today.

Mrs. Etteh was born August 17, 1954 to the family of Alabi in Ikire,  Osun State. She had her early education at Baptist Primary School,  Surulere, Ilorin in Kwara State where she obtained her Primary School Leaving  Certificate in 1961, after which she proceeded to Aiyedade Grammar School, Ikire, between 1968 to 1973, for her Secondary School Certificate.

Thereafter, she went to London’s Morris School of Beauty Culture in  1975 and London College of Modeling in 1976. In her thirst for more  knowledge, she attended the University of Abuja between 1999 and 2003 for a  part time Diploma in Law course and also has, in view, a Bachelors of  Science degree in political science from the same institution.
 
Mrs. Etteh lost her father at a tender age, which left the  responsibility of raising her and her siblings to her mother. It was a tough and rough experience, which may have hardened and primed her to excel in a male dominated field of politics. Married to Engineer Etteh, an Akwa Ibom  State indigene and blessed with children, she holds the traditional  title of Iyalaje of Ikireland.

On her assumption of office in June 5, 2007, she clearly laid out the  mission she has set for herself in the next four years, which includes:
• Formulate necessary strategies that will make for expeditious passage of bills.
• Take constituency responsibility to higher rewarding levels.
• Build a good relationship with other arms of Government  based on mutual respect, interdependence and cooperation.
• Ensure that composition of committees will be in conformity  with the rules of the House and as specified in the   constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and
• Discharge our respon-sibilities, putting the people first and ensuring that we do not disappoint the confidence reposed in us.

Having displayed an uncommon heart of steel, thus far, in the running of the House, it would be reasonable to expect that she will accomplish her vision for the Legislature.

 

 

VANGUARD

CRISIS IN THE HOUSE OF REPS:Madam Speaker, indiscretion and the battles to come….Why the opposition may fizzle out

By Jide Ajani, Political Editor

Posted to the Web: Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Contending with a number of allegations, Speaker Patricia Olubunmi Etteh and her supporters fight back in what is turning out to be an interesting encounter in the House of Representatives. This report puts the issues in perspective, while believing that Speaker Etteh gave her opponents the ballistic missiles they are throwing at her. However, the report is critical of the opposition, insisting that it may bve all about the verb To Eat..

It had happened before;  and nothing happened afterwards.

In what is becoming a throwback to the old days of multi-faceted bickering in the House of Representatives, one which reached a crescendo during the second half of the speakership of Ghali Umar Na’Abba, Nigeria is witnessing the emergence of another House tenure which might be bogged down by needless crises.

Yet considered: A birthday celebration to mark the 54th year of Madam Patricia Olubunmi Etteh, Speaker of the House of Representa-tives; a mere handful of guests made up of some kinky ladies and seven members of Nigeria’s House of Representatives. The birthday celebrations was reportedly held inside the residence of Etteh’s aunty, Ms Palmer.

The furore in the House today is as a result of the birthday celebrations.

Government agents and supporters of Mrs. Etteh have consistently made it clear that what took place was no more than a birthday that was marked. They attempt to draw a distinguishing line between a celebration the Nigerian style and when an individual marks her birthday.

But, what some individuals are piqued at is not whether or not Madam Speaker has a right to celebrate her birthday.

It is that after so much time had been spent just immediately after she traveled to deny that any birthday bash was in the offing, and that that was why some members of the House of Representatives were flying abroad, the best sensible thing Madam Speaker would have been expected to do was to cancel any form of felicity that would have signposted her as being crassly insensitive.

At a time when an issue was being made, some say unrighteously, though, about her status whether as being married, divorced, never really married or just answering a name, the least she could have allowed to ring-fence her was a concocted scandal.

Just a week before her 54th birthday, some politicians who appear to have no love lost for Madam Speaker had attempted to dress her in a garb, the type described in Isaiah Chapter 4, Verse 1, which reads: “And in that day, seven women shall take hold of one man, saying, we will eat our own bread and wear our own apparel; only let us be called by thy name, to take away our reproach.”

Those who attempted to insinuate Speaker Etteh into this Biblical prophecy point to the fruitless investigation into her background as a wife and mother (see box)
All said, it was the birthday celebrations that immediately was used as a pole on which her opponents would hoist their litany of allegations of financial impropriety against the speaker.

Leading the opposition is John Halims Agoda, a Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, member from Delta  State.

Working with him are a handful of opposition party members in the House of Representatives.

Whereas some members were willing to give the Speaker ample time to prove her mettle, the issue of renovation of her official residence stirred up the latest bickering.

The Allegations

A fresh allegation of account transfer was to be leveled against the Speaker.

Some members are insisting that the mere fact that a birthday celebration was held abroad, after many denials prior to the party, presents members of the House as being irresponsible and untrustworthy.

Speaker Etteh was, last week, accused, among other things, of unilaterally transferring the House’s account from the United Bank for Africa (UBA) from where it has operated during the past administrations to the Intercontinental Bank.

It follows other points including the N628m being expended on the renovation of her official residence and that of her deputy, her birthday bash in the United States and her alleged lack of respect for some of her colleagues, which her opponents are now harping on as enough reasons to move for her impeachment.

Hon. Samson Osagie, representing Edo State, told Vanguard that the issue of the award of contract was worrying, even as he stated that he would not be a part of any attempt to subvert transparency and accountability.

According to him, “I am an apostle of transparency and accountability. So, I will not be a part of a process that is not transparent or a process in which somebody conducts him/herself in a manner that is unbecoming of a public officer.

“But, we must also take into cognizance that the issues have to be looked at. They have to leave the realm of mere allegations. For now, they are mere allegations. Until they are substantiated, there is not much one can say about it.

“But, if the allegations are correct, it means something is wrong somewhere and something really has to be done,’ he stated.

Also speaking the Vanguard, the chairman of the House Committee on Air Force, Hon. Halims Agoda, who has vowed to cause an ‘earthquake’ over the matter, reiterated that the issues were not what could be dismissed by a wave of the hand.

He, however, stated that he was not aware of the movement of the House’s account from the UBA to Intercontinental Bank.

However, the chairman of the House’s committee on Information and National Orientation, Hon. Dino Melaye, dismissed those members who complained about the action, saying that it was the Speaker’s prerogative to choose any bank for the House.

Said he: “Is she supposed to address a press conference to say that she is moving an account?

“The account of the House of Reps is a domestic issue and the power resides with the Speaker to decide where to keep it.

“Does she need to come to the floor of the House?  When the fund went to UBA, was there a debate on the floor before it went there? Why will there be a debate that we are moving it from UBA to Intercontinental?

“It is not a public issue. The most important thing is that the Speaker has her discretion,’ he declared.

Counter-Offensive

Supporters of the Speaker have already launched a counter attack against those rooting for her impeachment.

They also dismissed reports of irregularities in the award of contracts for the renovation of her official residence and her deputy’s as well as her recent birthday anniversary in the USA.

The major plank of the counter-offensive is to take the sponsors of the planned impeachment head long by exposing them, according to one of the speaker’s supporters, Mr. Wunmi Bewaji, former leader of the AD in the House.

The Speaker’s group believes Mr. Halims Agoda, who is the arrow-head of the impeachment move, is not qualified to call for anybody’s removal having, allegedly, been in the forefront of blocking several attempts to probe the former Speaker, Alhaji Na’Abba Ghali.

“We know what they (anti-Etteh’s group) are dong and, at the end of the day, they are going to meet us. We are going to give them a battle,” Mr. Bewaji told Vanguard.

“We know the agenda being pursued by Agoda and co. and we know those that are sponsoring them. It’s unfortunate that they are cowards. They cannot come out. But, what we are saying is that this is the same Agoda who was the arrowhead of the anti-probe movement between 1999 and 2003.

“At a time our own group said we should probe the House account over something that was much over ten times in magnitude of what they are talking about now, they said no, that no one should interfere with the independence of the House.

“Today, they think because they have lost out in some of the things that are going on, they want to start an impeachment process. It will not work. We are going to expose them,” he said.

And in a separate statement, Mr. Eziuche Ubani, Chairman of the House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, said none of the contracts cited by Mrs Etteh’s critics breached any procedure.
His statement:

How matters stand in the House

“In the last two weeks, the public has been inundated with media reports about a crisis in the House of Representatives. The reports, which are glaringly orchestrated by a few members, have raised apprehension in the public, judging from the number of calls and inquiries from our constituencies.

“As a House, we are deeply concerned about the impression these reports are likely to create. In truth, it is likely to cast members as unserious and insensitive in the face of the monumental challenges, of governance and the suffering of Nigerians. Although there have been reactions to some of the reports, the House wishes to respond as follows:

Committees’ Composition

“Painstaking effort was made to ensure equitable distribution of committee chairmanships among zones, and to accommodate special groups like women. In a House of 360 members, especially where people have various competencies and experience, it will be unfair to expect that there is a way to satisfy everybody. The leadership has repeatedly appealed to members to take their seemingly unmet expectations with calmness and in the national interest. While some members understand this, some few persons have proved implacable and would rather pull down the House. We really worry about the commitment of legislators who have proved they came here to fight for chairmanship of specific committees.

“Not surprisingly, they are also the persons who are promoting the so-called crisis in the House. While they talk about accountability, their real interest is to sack the leadership, demand the dissolution of the committees so that they can get their pet wish. In the face of all the problems in the larger society, it is regrettable that their actions are casting the House as insensitive and selfish.

Madam Speaker’s birthday bash

“Among the sins of Mrs. Patricia Olubunmi Etteh is that she went all the way to the US to celebrate her 54th birthday. The truth is that the primary reason for her trip to the United States is for medical treatment. Though, it is a private matter, the occasion has, regrettably, tasked the revelation of a matter that is supposed to be private. In 2005, she was ill, flown abroad and only returned after three months. The hospital required her to report every six months and, later, once a year.

Her hospital appointment this year coincided with her birthday. Her aunty, who is a nurse, Ms. Palmer, decided to hold a small party for her in her sitting room. About seven members who happened to be in the United States at that period, flew there to be with her. The only other notable person at the party was the Nigerian Charge d’Affaires. That is what has been dressed up as a birthday bash that cost millions of naira, to score a cheap point. It has been said that ministers and governors were in attendance. No minister or governor was in attendance. The House wishes to state that since those who bandy this story insist on it, let them name the ministers or governors that attended.

Award of contract

“Various sums have been alleged to have been spent on the renovation of the Houses of the Speaker and her deputy. In truth, it ought to be the responsibility of the Federal Capital Development Administration (FCDA) to renovate the residences of the officers. And the National Assembly leadership took steps to get them to do so.

But, the FCDA replied  that it had no fund and advised the National Assembly to consider other ways of funding the project.  Gladly, the FCDA has authenticated this in a press statement on Sunday. Not wanting to stay beyond two days in the hotel and run costs, and unwilling to agree to the likely huge cost that certain multi-national construction companies have charged for the job in the past, local contractors were invited by the Management Tenders Board. Selective bids were called in and guided by the evaluation of the Department of Works and Estates in the National Assembly, the contract was awarded for N238 million.

“Now, questions have been asked about why that money should be spent on the house. The last time such major work was done in the complex was in 2003. This time, the job was extended to include rebuilding of the perimeter fence, outside works, and furnishing of the four houses in the complex.

“Also, cars were bought for all the principal officers, contrary to some erroneous impression that the Speaker bought 10 Jeeps for herself. All the cars bought for their fleet are the numbers which were approved by the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission. These are facts that are known to even the critics in the House who, themselves, aspired to be principal officers.

“Inquiries in all the relevant places indicated that, contrary to the reports, none of the contracts breached any procedure.

Conclusion

“It is a welcome development that even those who are accusing the Speaker are hinging their proposed battle on the veracity of their story. But, that appears placing the cart before the horse. Why set the public on a frenzy in the first place when all the facts have not been established?

“The House recognises that, just as it has oversight responsibility over activities of government departments, members reserve the right to ask questions about House activities including expenditure. But, as lawmakers, would it not be right for the few members who are issuing these threats to follow the proper procedures, as laid down in the House Rules.

“The House wishes to reassure the public that it will not constrain members from seeking for explanations if they have reasons to. But, in doing so, the impression should not be created that all that happens here is ceaseless bickering over money issues and position. To a large extent, majority of the members are serious-minded, focused and poised to work. It would be wrong to create an atmosphere of strife that will constrain them from discharging their primary responsibility. The public, we are aware, expect more from the House of Representatives beyond these unending scandal-mongering and bickering.
“In the mean time, the House is gearing up to resumption on September 4.”

Between Nancy Pelosi and Patty Etteh

Perhaps, it was thought as fitting that at a time when a certain Nancy Pelosi became the first female Speaker of the House of Representatives in the United States of America, Nigeria also produced the first female Speaker of its House of Representatives.

But, Pelosi has not been at the centre of any scandal.

In fact, before Pelosi and dating back almost a century now, the House in the US has had speakers who proved that what had to be done had to be done in the interest of legislative improvement without underhanded blackmail.

Na’Abba, Nigeria’s one-time Speaker of the House of Representatives, came close but his crusade for legislative independence was quick to fall into the ambivalence of the Nigerian polity when he lost focus.

“Sam Rayburn of Texas was elected to the United States House of Representatives in 1912 and served as a congressman for just under 49 consecutive years, until his death in November 1961. He held the office of Speaker of the House for a total of 17 years, longer than any other representative and employed legislation as an effective tool of governance.”

Just before Rayburn,   there was Joseph Cannon.  He “served as Speaker of the United States House of Representatives from 1903 to 1911. Some of his colleagues called him “Tsar” Cannon because of his blustery but effective leadership style.”

Then, there was Dennis Hastert J. “Hastert, a Republican from Illinois, was elected Speaker of the United States House of Representatives in 1999. Although politically conservative, Hastert brought a pragmatic approach to the office and sought to craft compromises between the Republican and Democratic parties.”

Pelosi, who is today Speaker, was said to have gradually worked her way up through the Democratic leadership. She became noted for her liberal positions on issues such as women’s rights and the environment as well as her ability to communicate with different factions in the party. In 2001, the House Democrats elected her minority whip, making her the highest-ranking woman in congressional history. In 2002, Pelosi was elected minority leader for the Democrats after Richard Gephardt resigned the position.

Why this is bad

This is bad because there is a certain peculiar mentality which fuels, as well as drives, the characters in Nigeria’s polity.

It is a mentality of hate, viciousness, vindictiveness, tribalism, nepotism and outright disregard for rules, while placing a premium of mundane matters which would, and has, never done Nigeria any good.

It is this same type of mentality that would have made Atiku Abubakar of Action Congress, AC, take over as president, had Olusegun Obasanjo died as he did in power.

It would have also given Lagos to Femi Prdro, of Labour Party, LP, who disappointed many a supporter during the live campaign debates when he flew into a needless rage.

In both instances, these two politicians dumped their respective parties which brought them to power.

This was the same  mentality which led to the re-writing of the constitution via a Supreme Court judgement that once elected on a platform to serve as deputy governor or vice president, and after having been sworn into that office, the elected politician can do a 419, dump his party and change camp. That way, the manifesto of the party, which he sold to the masses and on which basis he got elected, does not amount to anything.

It is this same sentimentality that allowed a Ghali Na’Abba ride the storm against a rambunctious Obasanjo who wanted to remove him as Speaker. Whereas, at least, in the words of Hon. Bewaji, the fight to expose the alleged corrupt practices of Na’Abba, was rendered prostrate by the likes of Halims Agoda who served as one of Na’Abba’s henchmen.  Does that now make it very right for issues not to be given ample illumination because, as Bewaji has now found, by being accommodated in the camp of the establishment?

Because this is a country where folly takes a pride of place in national politics, it is increasingly becoming a new reality that high places are reserved for charlatans.

But, will the opposition to the Speaker last?  It may not because it is not based on convictions.

 

 

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2 Responses to “STAR REPORT: Here we go Again – Hints of Money Scandal in the National Assembly!”

  1. Derin Adewetan says:

    Wait a minute! if it is a fact she admitted signing a contract for N238 million merely for renovation in the shortest of time of beiing the "office", how much shall we expect for her private residence? I still do not believe this. The shole episode stinks!!!

  2. Dominic says:

    Y’Adua is the leader of the PDP. Why is he keeping quiet and hiding under the mask of "rule of law" and "seperation of powers"? What is he afraid of? Y’Adua should be setting the tone for his party to follow, not hiding under technicalities and sending his media to do the "rule of law" rhetoric yet again. Stand up like a goddamn leader of the nation, and tell Mrs Ete that her stupidity does not reflect the spirit of the country, or of the government in power.

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