Speaker Tambuwal, Igodomigodo and Corruption in the House

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By Ben Agande

Since his inauguration as the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Aminu Tambuwal has left no one in doubt about his commitment to doing things transparently. Coming on the heels of the incidences that trailed his immediate predecessor in office, Hon. Dimeji Bankole, Hon. Tambuwal’s hesitance or seeming diffidence on issues of the House has helped in creating an image of somebody who is not ready to sacrifice the image and integrity of the House on the alter of popularity amongst his colleagues.

This was what played out last week Tuesday when the chairman of the House of Representatives committee on Capital Market and Institutions, Hon. Herman Hembe, disqualified himself from continuing with the investigations into the near collapse of the capital market.

The speaker who was obviously disturbed that his diligent attempt at restoring the image of the House had been dealt a fatal blow by the allegations of corruption against one its committees quickly seized the opportunity of Hon. Hembe’s self disqualification to send a strong message to both his colleagues, the Nigerian public and in deed government agencies and departments that the era of sweeping allegations of misdeamanour either against legislators or government agencies and officials under the carpet was gone.

House of Reps Speaker, Tambuwal

“Let me assure Nigerians once again that we are totally committed to the fight against corruption and shall deploy all energies available at our disposal to fight this war. The old saying that “when the going gets tough, the tough gets going” will continue to be our guide. I also wish to assure Nigerians that in fighting this war we recognize that we must, like Caesar’s wife be above board and suspicion.

The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) in Sections 88 and 89 places upon the legislature the duty and responsibility to conduct investigations into the activities of government for the purpose of exposing corruption, waste and inefficiency. This is no doubt a responsibility which is hazard prone. However, as I have stated elsewhere, these hazards notwithstanding, it is a duty which we can not and must not abdicate” he said.

The setting up of an Ad-Hoc committee to continue with the investigations of the capital Market as well as the decision to allow the Ethics and Privileges Committee under a new leadership to investigate the chairman of the Committee on Capital Market is a further pointer to the fact that in deed, in the House of Representatives under Aminu Tambuwal, it can never be business as usual again.

For Igodomigodo, This Is One Controversy Too Many
Apart from his bombastic language which has become his identity, Hon. Patrick Obahiagbon’s love for the parliament is only surpassed by his love for his spouse. So when the allegations and counter allegations began to emerge from the public hearing on the Capital Market by the House of Representatives, Hon. Obahiagbon was expectedly bruised. But even in grief, Hon. Obahiagbon has the ability to, in his inimitable way, convey a serious message in a language that brings laughter to any listener.

Referring to the emerging scandal in the House and its implication on the image of the House, Hon. Obahiagbon noted that “the roforofo (fight) would no doubt rebound positively or negatively on the image of the House and for that matter the National Assembly at the terminus ad quem of another melancholious terminus ad quo”!

Like the speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Obahiagbon also believes that the challenge posed by the allegations against the committee is not enough reason for the parliament to shirk its constitutional responsibilities, of course in a language that bears the hallmark of his bombast.

According to him, “one thing must be said and it’s that the National Assembly must continue to intervene as the customs morums of the hoi poloi having constitutional superintendence over perceived umbrages contras bonos mores but this sacrosanct role must be discharged at all times above board like caesars wife. This has and will continue to remain the challenge”.

But the former member of the House of Representatives has a stark warning for the House as an institution if the outcome of the investigation into the allegations in any way proves the culpability of its members: Beyond the sanctimonious individual and institutional posturing on both sides, the House would suffer more collateral damage if it comes out pants down at the end of this excursus due to its strategic location in d democratic space. God forbid. This is one prayer that the speaker of the House of Representatives is bound to say a loud Amen to.

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