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Why I stayed silent on budget padding crisis –Gbajabiamila



Femi Gbajabiamila, has broken his silence over the budget padding brouhaha rocking the House of Representatives, even as he called for radical reform of the budget process.
Speaker Yakubu Dogara and three other principal officers are facing allegation of padding the 2016 budget.
Abdulmumin Jibrin, a lawmaker from Kano state, Abdumu made the allegation after he was sacked as Chairman Appropriations committee of the House.
But the Leader of the House of Representatives, Gbajabiamila, who has remained silent over the matter on Monday, broke his silence via e-mails sent to members of the House.
His mails came after a recent report claimed that Jibrin has teamed up with him to unseat Dogara to pave way for him to become the Speakership which he lost to Dogara by only eight votes.
Gbajabiamila refuted the claim through his media aide, Wasiu Olanrewaju, saying that he had no deal with Mr. Jibrin or any problem with Mr. Dogara’s leadership.
He said, “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 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.
“I am being dragged into an arena I tried very hard to stay out of only for the good of the House. The Speakership election has come and gone. The election was divisive and acrimonious but I have since worked hard to heal the wounds some of which still fester among members on both sides.
“It is my responsibility to bring all tendencies in a House I lead together and I have worked well with the Speaker and all other Principal officers in a bipartisan manner and in the interest of the institution and members.
“It is clear that our budget process needs radical reform and very quickly too. Yes, allegations have been made but I strongly believe 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”, he wrote.
By Ebere Ndukwu …

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