National assembly and its passion for unromantic insertions

Insertion! This word entered my offender’s register in 2016. At the time, Abdulmumin Jibrin, former chairman, house committee on appropriations, was a caterwauler; he cried out, alleging that the leadership of the house of representatives was involved in impassioned “insertions”.

Jibrin claimed that four principal officers of the house, including Yakubu Dogara, speaker of the lower legislative chamber, were inserting personal projects into the 2016 budget. He said the insertions were brazen, illegal and wanton.

He wailed so loudly at the time, giving inveterate wailers a run for their money.

I remember Jibrin went on Channels TV in the heat of the controversy to establish his claim. And I think I saw him use his index finger to describe the “insertions”.

He sent a petition to the EFCC and the DSS asking them to investigate his claim and those he tagged the “corrupt quartet”.

But he was a lone prosecutor. He stood alone like a wraith seeking justice. He was suspended. Disgraced. And politically marooned. He spent months stitching up his shredded raiment.

In the thick of all these, President Muhammadu Buhari kept quiet. In fact, it was reported that he dismissed the allegations of illegal insertions. He took no action.

In 2018, Buhari has suddenly realised the national assembly’s knack for “unromantic insertions”. By speaking up now, the president has only given his allegation and motive a political slant.

However, it is unsettling that the national assembly will open the budget and insert choice projects into it. It is totally abhorrent.

Permit my bias, but why did the national assembly cut the provision for the construction of a terminal building at Enugu airport from N2b billion to N500 million? Why did the national assembly increase its own budget from N125 billion to N139.5 billion? This is injudicious.

As a matter of fact, these insertions are becoming too abrasive. And it appears the national assembly is deviating from its statutory role.

I will not be on the band of the demonizers of the national assembly, but the legislature must always be above board. It is an institution of check, and as such, it must be prim and proper. With actions like this, the accusations of its traducers are given a verisimilitude of truth.

These insertions are unromantic!

Fredrick is a writer, journalist and media entrepreneur

He can be reached on Twitter: @FredrickNwabufo, Facebook: Fredrick Nwabufo