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We were not part of plans to remove speaker -Reps

Posted by Onyedi OJIABOR, Assistant Editor on 2008/11/14 | Views: 2232 |

We were not part of plans to remove speaker -Reps


Two members of the House of Representatives, Hon. Gbenga Oduwaiye and Hon. Festus Adegoke, named by a Kaduna based pro-democracy activist, Mallam Umar Farouk, as part of those he held clandestine meetings with to unseat Speaker Hon. Dimeji Bankole, yesterday denied ever meeting with him.

Two members of the House of Representatives, Hon. Gbenga Oduwaiye and Hon. Festus Adegoke, named by a Kaduna based pro-democracy activist, Mallam Umar Farouk, as part of those he held clandestine meetings with to unseat Speaker Hon. Dimeji Bankole, yesterday denied ever meeting with him.

Oduwaiye spoke at a press conference in his office in Abuja while Adegoke released a 15-paragraph statement to dissociate himself from any plot to unseat Bankole. Farouk had on Thursday told the Ethics and Privileges Committee of the House how he was hired by five members of the House including Oduwaiye and Adegoke,

to mount sustained campaign to force Bankole out of office for alleged discrepancies in the purchase of 380 units of Peugeot 407 for House committees.

The Kaduna-based activist claimed to have met with the anti-Bankole elements in several places and time to strategise on ways and means to force Bankole out of office.

He claimed to have been offered N1 million as take-off grant by the five lawmakers through their leader, Hon. Independence Ogunewe.

But Oduwaiye and Adegoke described Farouk’s testimony as not only false but part of the campaign of calumny to paint them in bad light as the bad boys of the House of Representatives.

Oduwaiye said that Farouk’s testimony was "part of the attempts to cast aspersion on my person by portraying me as a spoiler and desperado bent on bringing some people down."

The Ogun State lawmaker disclosed that he had already instructed his lawyer to institute legal proceeding against Farouk for libel and defamation of character.

He said, " As I speak to you, I do not know whether Umar Farouk is a man or a woman, whether he is tall or short. I do not know anybody by the name Umar Farouk and I swear by the Holy Quoran and the Holy Bible that I do not know any Umar Farouk. I do not know whether he is in this room and I cannot point at him. I do not know who Umar Farouk is, comrade or otherwise."

He added, "Let me make it categorically clear that I have not had any meeting with any such person by that name. I have not had any meeting in the office of Independence Ogunewe . I have never been to Independence Ogunewe’s house. I have never been to Chida Hotel; the last time I was in Protea Hotel was almost a year ago when I went to see one traditional ruler from my state. So I do not know where this gentleman got his story from."

Oduwaiye said that the attempt to discredit him started on the floor of the House when he was accused by a member of the House to have disparaged the House during a programme he had on African Independent Television (AIT).

He said that it was followed up by the action of a group, Coalition for Stable Democracy, which circulated leaflets where he was named as part of those planning to scuttle democracy in the country.

The lawmaker who accused Farouk of "hiding behind one finger," challenged him to "come out and make categorical statement as to where and when, time and place I, Gbenga Oduwaiye, had meetings either directly with him or with him and some other people."

He noted that in the alternative, "Umar Farouk should bury his head in shame and await the wrath of the Almighty God that usually comes to people who give false witness."

He said that the legal action would force Farouk to disclose those who sponsored him to drag his name to the mud.

On the relationship between Ogun State Governor, Otunba Gbenga Daniel and Bankole, he said:

"Let me assure you, I’m very close to my governor and I’m very proud of that. Up till yesterday, my governor continues to tell me that he regards Bankole as a junior brother and that he has no issue with him.

"Let me also say that I have spoken to the Speaker who is my friend and brother so many times. He continues to insist that he has no issue with the governor."

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) yesterday confirmed that the National Assembly paid Peugeot Automobile of Nigeria (PAN) through the apex bank for the Peugeot cars.

The confirmation of the payment by CBN may have put to rest the allegation that PAN was paid through cheques drawn from the Zenith Bank.

Lagos lawyer, Festus Keyamo, had told the House Committee on Ethics and Privileges investigating alleged discrepancies in the purchase of the cars that the National Assembly paid PAN through some cheques drawn from Zenith Bank.

He quoted cheque number 0001720 allegedly drawn from Zenith Bank as one of the cheques through which PAN was paid.

But CBN Deputy Director, Banking Services, Mr. Romanus Chukwunwike Okafor who led Mr. Abubakar Kure, another staff of the bank to testify before the committee, said that the National Assembly operates a capital account with the bank.

He also said that the National Assembly made three payments to PAN on the car purchase transaction through the CBN.

Okafor gave the cheque numbers as 00001770 for payment of N700 million; 00004805 for payment of N230 million and 00001832 for payment of N585.6 million.

Chairman of the committee, Hon Sani Saleh Minjibir, told journalists that the committee had concluded public sitting.

He said that the committee had obtained information from all necessary quarters to enable it arrive at conclusions.

Minjibir said that the committee would collate the information and write its report.

He did not, however, give the time when the report would be submitted to the House for consideration.

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Fay(Katy, Texas, US)says...

Actually translates to bravehearted.