A former speaker of the House of Representatives, Ghali Umar Na’Abba, yesterday replied former President Olusegun Obasanjo on his allegation that members of the National Assembly are corrupt.
Na’Abba, while fielding questions from newsmen in Kano said Obasanjo was one of the most corrupt Nigerians.
He said the former president should explain to Nigerians how he became one of the richest Nigerians after leaving office, when he had virtually nothing before he assumed office.
Na’Abba said as speaker of the House of Representatives, he had cause to take Obasanjo on various expenditure offences he committed that the former president could not defend.
He said: “Well, I don’t think there is anybody that is more corrupt in this country than the former president. I believe you are talking about former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
“As the Speaker, I took Obasanjo on various expenditure offences which he committed, which he could not defend and didn’t show any remorse. In fact, that is why sometime in 2002, the National Assembly tried to impeach him.
“So, he has not got the integrity to call anybody corrupt. This is a man who became the president with nothing, today he is one of the richest Nigerians. Let him explain to Nigerians how he acquired all the wealth,” Na’Abba alleged.
The former speaker said he was also aware that money was shared during the Obasanjo administration to secure elongation of his tenure.
“I am aware that, during the tenure elongation attempt of Obasanjo, money was shared to the members of the National Assembly. It was alleged that the senators collected N50 million, House of Representatives members collected N40 million. But, I also know that it was not all the members that collected this money. Some of them collected, some of them did not. But, I am aware that money was shared,” he also alleged.
The former speaker said the current controversy over budget padding could not have been achieved without the backing of some members of the executive arm, explaining that if items of expenditure were added without knowledge of other members of the house, it amounted to illegality.
“If you are talking about padding, which I believe is generally accepted to be illegal, it must be a situation whereby certain members of the National Assembly will add certain items of expenditure behind their colleagues. If any item of expenditure is added behind other members, then that item can be said to be illegal and it can be called padding,” he explained.