As the race for who becomes the speaker of the federal house of representatives gathers momentum, there is a great need for the 360 lawmakers to be clinically careful because whatever they do today will directly affect not only the future of their immediate constituents but the country at large. Dr. Abdumumini Jibrin promises transparency, modesty, prudence and e-parliamentary system that will enable Nigerians home and abroad to have say in the business of National Assembly.
Though it is good for all regions and ethnic groups that make up the country to be represented in the governance of any nation but, however, anytime the issue of zoning of political positions is brought to the fore, those who merit it don’t normally get it; rather mediocrity takes the place of meritocracy. And this has not helped us to developed as a nation.
More importantly, Nigerians and particularly the incoming administration of the All Progressives Congress (APC) should be careful about zoning. If zoning had been followed by the outgoing 7th Assembly lawmakers, Speaker Aminu Waziri Tambuwal would not have emerged to provide the needed opposition roles which acted as checks and balances to activities of the executive.
There may be those who don’t know Jibrin, from primary to university level, he attended public schools. He is an alumnus of both the University of Abuja and the Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, an experience which has afforded him the knowledge of grassroots politics; the people’s needs, aspirations and challenges. His unquenchable thirst for knowledge has taken him to the London, Harvard and Swiss Business Schools and the implication of this is that he has been intellectually and psychologically equipped with world-class ideas to solve the everyday problems of our people and our country.
Another reason why he should be considered as the speaker of the lower chamber of the national assembly, apart from his educational training and legislative experience, is his rich local and international experience.
A first term lawmaker in 2011, his colleagues were quick to see the leadership traits in him and he was made chairman of a choice committee; finance since. As leader of such sensitive committee, he became more acquainted deeply with the knowledge of public finance and Nigeria’s economy. It is precisely such depth of experience a speaker must possess, at this critical time when Nigeria requires deep and far-reaching economic reform to weather the turmoil of declining global oil prices
Under his leadership, the House raised the bar of oversight over the Nigerian economy; improved the quality of Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) analysis and national revenue framework preparation and monitoring; brought to public consciousness the issue of Internally Generated Revenue as a result of which projections increased from N228billion in 2011 to N452billion in 2014. More importantly, as a direct result of the committee’s work, over N150billion was collected by the Federal Government within 4 months while there is an increase in non-oil projections by the FIRS from N828Billion in 2011 to N2.003trillion in 2014 through oversight over the FIRS, particularly by ensuring tax compliance by various corporations.
Apart from the steady reduction of domestic borrowing projections from N852billion in 2011 to N571billion in 2014 leading to the freeing up funds for the real sector, his committee provided the necessary support to statutory revenue generating agencies and ensured that there is increase in projections and remittances despite all the challenges year in year out. And in addition to these, he has chaired and co-chaired lots of parliamentary investigations.
No doubt, Jibrin represents all those qualities Nigeria and Nigerians yearn for. If considered as the speaker, I am pretty sure that the lawmakers would be able to continue from where the 7th Assembly stopped by promoting transparency in governance; encourage National assembly to slash their bogus allowances which has attracted a lot of criticism within and outside Nigeria
His youthfulness, level of his education and exposure put him ahead of others apart from the fact that his manifesto is second to none as he has promised three fundamental things in his declaration speech; transparency, reduction of overhead cost and inculcate international best practices to how the national assembly is run.
Oludare Ogunlana, a Public Analyst writes from Ibadan