My attention has been drawn to a recent publication credited to the member representing Kiru-Bebeji Federal Constituency in Kano state, Hon. AbdulmuminJibrin in which he made very unfortunate assertions about my person and position as Chairman, House Committee on Healthcare Services.
My first impulse was to ignore the blabbing which was fast becoming the hallmark of Jibrin, but on a re-think, letting the lies fly without calling it by name may expose some gullible audience to the risk of choking on the mendacious gibberish that has become Jibrin’s biggest capital in recent times.In the publication crawling with deliberate misrepresentations and wilful lies designed to rope in any person within reach, Jibrin who referred to me as ‘Chairman, House Committee on Health’ open-endedly accused me of ‘moving massive amount of money that made the exercise look like a big joke’.
Jibrin neither said where the money was moved from nor where it was moved to. When you have been around and about in fiscal circles you will know the signs when you see them – Jibrin is merely grasping for straws and clearly cuts a picture of a man who has reached the end of his tethers in a desperate bid to hide his smear in the crowd of imaginary culprits he conjures ‘daily’ with such voodoo-vibrancy, one begins to wonder where he left his honour.
He accused me of unilaterally working the budget on health; my ‘personal estate’ he called it. And I really wondered- Has this man really been with us in the House of Representatives in body or in hologram?
Even if his senses fail him, his eyes and ears should have told him that we have three committees of Health that oversight the Ministry of Health namely: Committee on Health Institutions; Committee on Aids Tuberculosis & Malaria and Committee on Healthcare Services which I am the Chairman.
For clarity, I wish to state that the three committees often meet jointly with the minister and on the budget preparation; we jointly met with the minister and unanimously came to agreement that the ministry was barely meeting its obligations with the resources allocated to it. Having duly considered the nature and sensitivity of the Health Ministry, we easily understood the need to sustain the budget proposal as submitted.
In any case, the proposed 2016 health budget which accounts for 4.23% of the 2016 annual budget, is not only inadequate but also a far cry from the 15 percent stipulated at the “Abuja declaration” in April 2001, when heads of state of African Union countries met in Abuja and pledged to prioritize the development of the health sector by allocating at least 15% of their annual budgets to improve the sector.
So without any ambiguity whatsoever, we clearly understood the uniqueness of the health ministry with more than six agencies and 55 parastatals under it; with multiple health and health-related programmes involving donor agencies and global partners, any of which could jeopardize healthcare delivery in the country if tinkered.
The Honourable Minister for Health also communicated same to the Senate committee. So I challenge Jibrin and anyone who stands with him in this voyage to infamy, to scrutinize the health budget and check under my constituency: Ehime Mbano, IhitteUboma and Obowo Federal constituency if there is any extraneous project added to my constituency and of course I make bold to say the same for the two other committee chairmen oversighting the Health Ministry. It was within our purview to propose projects for our constituencies but we didn’t have to because we fully appreciate the prevailing realities and peculiarities of the health ministry.
Much as we desire as representatives of a people to bring some developmental projects to our constituency, the Ministry of health budget is unique in its way and not exactly the place for the kind of fiscal manoeuvringJibrin is used to.
As a matter of fact, if there was any insertion in the health budget, it would have been done at the appropriation stage like the N500 Million hospital project that was unilaterally inserted by Jibrin during appropriation.
It is no longer news that Hon. AbdulmuminJibrin was removed from the appropriation committee for fraud-related issues. The public had expected a sane and sobering reaction and not this misadventure of a drowning man trying so desperately to tear down everything in his path to ‘self preservation’.
Jibrin should be told that attempting to scandalize honourable members with baseless and sensationalized allegations, cannot repudiate his misdeeds. And like a famed Nigerian poet would say to him, “Nakedness won’t offer you clothes”.
The change mantra of our party, APC starts from the mind; reflects on our daily lives and quality of our service. I will advise Hon. AbdulmuminJibrin to re-evaluate his interests and priorities. He may find a need for a re-wiring as a yawning flaw has become glaring in his present configuration.
Nevertheless, I will gladly take criticisms from my colleagues but it must be limited to truth and not blackmail. The rascally name calling and blanket allegations levelled against me and a few other honourable members is and would remain a grave disservice to good conscience and I will ask AbdulmuminJibrin to speak truth to himself and restore his honour while its yet day.
HON. Dcn. CHIKE JOHN OKAFOR
(Chairman, House Committee on Healthcare Services)