Fifteen members of the House of Representatives lashed back at their colleagues who condemned Kabiru Marafa for allegedly desecrating the sanctity of the National Assembly. Senator Marafa who represents the All Progressives Congress (APC) Zamfara Central, had asked his colleagues to remove Senate President Bukola Saraki, due to Saraki’s corruption trial at Code of Conduct Tribunal, or risk being recalled by Nigerians.
He also alleged that “fifth columnists” in the Senate were responsible for the 2016 budget controversy just after the Supreme Court ruling that upheld Mr. Saraki’s trial. He was referred to the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions which laid its report since last week, but without the accused’s defence. However, Mr. Marafa remains adamant, saying he stood by all he said and that he was defending the integrity of the Senate.
However, the matter reached the tables of the House of Representatives on Wednesday, setting political camps in the legislative body against each other. Eleven members of the House believed to be loyal to the Saraki-Dogara bi-cameral camp of the National Assembly, rose against Mr. Marafa, whose statements, they said, cast slur on the sanctity of the legislature.
“It is indeed regrettable that eight months after the contest for leadership in the Senate ended, Marafa and his group have remained in electioneering mode,” they said.
Then on Sunday, 15 members of the House countered their colleagues, asking them to stay clear of Senate’s internal affairs. In a statement, they said,
“It must be made clear to the legislators who are mostly new members that the two Houses of the National Assembly are Independent and Separate and by getting involved in the internal crisis of the Senate shows them to be busybodies and interlopers who know nothing about the running of a bicameral legislature. We advise our colleagues to mind their own business and face the peoples work for which they were elected to do.”
They expressed solidarity with Mr. Marafa and concurred that budget controversy was an agenda for “political negotiation.”
“Since we are all entitled to our opinion, we agree with Senator Marafa that the budget distortions became a political tool in the hands of some legislators and their agenda was to use it for political negotiation.”
The House of Reps members questioned their colleagues as to why they could not reply former President Olusegun Obasanjo after his letter to the National Assembly.
“We wonder where these legislators were when former President made his own public opinion and tirade recently. It is even more shocking that they were so quick to do the bidding of whoever their paymaster is that they moved even faster than the senate ethics committee set up to investigate the matter,” they said.
The lawmakers who signed the statement are John Dyegh, Lawal Gumau, Ahmad Kaita, Agunsoye Rotimi, Ali Madaki, Aminu Malle, Nazir Daura , and Muhammed Soba. Others are Ismail Gadaka, Abdulrahman Shuaibu, Sunday Adepoju, Adekunle Akinlade, Ajibola Famurewa, Abdulmahmud Gaiya and Musa Adar. Like Mr. Marafa, they supported the party’s position in the choice of National Assembly leaders and were loyal to Femi Gbajabiamila, who after losing the Speakership seat to Yakubu Dogara, emerged Majority Leader.