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MarketScreener Homepage  >  Equities  >  Nairobi Stock Exchange  >  Equity Group Holdings Plc    EQTY   KE0000000554

EQUITY GROUP HOLDINGS PLC

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Jibrin: Undisputed kingmaker of Nigeria's House of Reps

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06/24/2019 | 08:47am EDT

The story of the emergence of former Speaker Yakubu Dogara and his successor, Femi Gbajabiamila, will be incomplete without adequate mention of the exploits of Abdulmumuni Jibrin, an influential member of the House of Representatives from Kano State.

Jibrin has succeeded in 'installing' two different Speakers of the House of Representatives in two different circumstances, first through a rebellion against the establishment; and the other in enforcing the position of same establishment.

In 2015, the youthful Jibrin, who only joined the House in 2011, played prominent role in the leadership tussle between then 'Equity Group' headed by Yakubu Dogara and the 'Loyalist Group' headed by Femi Gbajabiamila. That struggle eventually produced Dogara as Speaker, thereby causing a major rift within the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

Fast forward to 2019, Jibrin, who served as the Campaign Director-General for the election of Gbajabiamila, like he did for Dogara in 2015, has also delivered the incumbent Speaker. This is a feat exclusive to him as no one person has delivered two Speakers consecutively in the history of Nigeria'sHouse of Representatives.

Who is Abdulmumuni Jibrin?

Abdulmumin Jibrin is a Nigerian politician and a third term member of the House of Representatives from Kofa, Bebeji Local Government Area, Kano State. He is 42 years of age. He was at various times Chairman, House Committee on Finance, Appropriation and Land Transport with oversight on Nigeria's revenue, expenditure, railways and rail projects respectively.

He is a globally trained business executive, academician turned politician. He holds a BSc, MSc and PhD in Politics, Diplomacy and International Relations from University of Abuja and Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. He was at various times trained at the London Business School, Harvard Business School and SBS- Swiss Business School- Zurich Switzerland where he obtained SEP, PLD and MBA respectively. He is an Alumnus of the Harvard, London and Swiss business schools.

Prior to joining politics, Abdulmumin was Chairman/ CEO Green Forest Group LTD, running a Nigerian conglomerate in diverse fields. He served as Chairman (Nigeria) of Turkish construction giant, Tasyapi and Chairman Abuja branch of Nigeria-British Chamber of Commerce. He also lectured at the university with publications to his credit.

A consummate mobiliser, Abdulmumin was the Director, Media and Strategic Communication of the Women and Youth Presidential Campaign Team and most recently, Director General of Femi Gbajabiamila for Speaker campaign council.

He is a Paul Harris fellow of Rotary international. He holds the traditional tittle of Jarman Bebeji conferred on him with the approval of the Kano Emirate Council. It is a tittle reserved for the courageous and generous.

Political Career:

Prior to his emergence on the federal parliamentary scene, Jibrin had been involved in national politics, especially during the presidential campaigns in 2003 and 2007. In 2011, Jibrin won election to represent Kiru/Bebeji Federal Constituency under the Platform of the PDP and later defected to the newly formed All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2014. It is worth noting that he led the first set of 37 lawmakers who defected in a massive swoop that shook the political landscape. Not surprisingly, he won re-election into the House under the new platform in 2015.

2015 Speakership Election

In 2015, the APC, just like in 2019, zoned the position of Senate President to the Northeast geo-political zone and specifically chose Ahmed Lawan while for the post of Speaker; the Southwest zone was favoured with Gbajabiamila anointed. However, the rebellion against the party's position, led by immediate past Senate President, Bukola Saraki, and the Equity Group in the House of Representatives where Jibrin played prominent roles, eventually led to a defeat of the choices of the party. Suffice to say that it was same Jibrin who nominated Dogara for the post on that historic day thereby culminating months of chaperoning an arduous campaign that eventually paid off.

In the political preambles to the election, Jibrin reportedly led a walkout of the mock primary organised by the party at the International Conference Centre, Abuja.

Jibrin and his group were able to garner votes across the two political parties to pave the way for Dogara to emerge Speaker. After the election, he was offered the chairmanship of the Appropriations Committee of the House, a position that became the springboard to the travails that bedeviled him for much of that 8th Assembly.

Budget controversy and suspension from the house…

Jibrin's journey into the wilderness kicked off with his resignation as the Chairman, House Committee on Appropriation, as announced by the Speaker on Wednesday, 20th July, 2016. He described the Speaker's speech announcing his exit as the chairman of the committee as 'a misrepresentation of the facts, false, mischievous, unfair and a calculated attempt' to bring his name to 'disrepute.' That disputation led to weeks if not months of rancorous exchanges between him and the leadership of the House.

Before he was eventually banished by the House, Jibrin was left in the cold as 10 principal officers of the House rallied in support of Dogara and denounced Mr. Jibrin.

On September 28, 2016 the grand finale of the Jibrin saga played out as the House Committee on Ethics, Privileges, and Public Petitions swiftly concluded its investigations and submitted its report a week after the commencement of the probe.

The Committee's recommendation that Jibrin be suspended for 180 legislative days was adopted by the House in plenary. He was also barred from positions of responsibility in the House till the end of the 8th Assembly. Like the fighter that he is, Jibrin filed an action in court to challenge his suspension.

Whistle-blower banished to the cold

Despite his suspension and subsequent 'relocation' to London, Jibrin refused to pipe down on his attacks on the leadership of the House and maintained forthrightness on the matter.

Even when Jibrin completed his suspension, he still could not resume his duties as a federal lawmaker as the House insisted on an apology which he bluntly refused to offer.

However, on Tuesday, 13th March, 2018 Jibrin finally decided to end his long drawn battle with the House leadership. The following day he was ushered into the green chamber in a manner that demonstrated conciliation and mutual forgiveness. He was subsequently appointed as Chairman of the House Committee on Land Transport and his entitlements hitherto withheld, paid in full.

2019 Elections and the parliamentary support group

Upon resumption at the House in 2018, Jibrin convened the Parliamentary Support Group (PSG), with the mandate of full loyalty to President Buhari. Notably, the group was already in existence in the Senate. It was seen as a demonstration of courage by his colleagues. Thus, Jibrin even led over 100 members of the House to pay solidarity to the President in 2018 at a time when the National Assembly Joint executive session issued a 13-point demand to the President. Jibrin had earlier described it as a 'PDP executive session' prompting a reproach from the House. Former member, Sunday Karimi moved a motion calling for sanction against Jibrin who just returned from suspension.

Interestingly, the new group also had a subtle leadership tussle with Gbajabiamila, who in his position as the Leader of the House, was automatically leader of the APC caucus. The PSG reportedly made attempts to undermine Gbajabiamila, even though jibrin, in a tweet attempted to diffuse the tension by saying: 'Against the back drop of the media reports, I wish to state that there is no crack in the APC caucus. We have internal issues, and there is nothing unusual about it. However, the issues will be resolved internally. We have one caucus, and Femi is the leader.'

2019 Election and Jibrin's declaration not to re-contest

Jibrin won his re-election in a resounding fashion. He took to Twitter to declare that he will not be re-contesting the post of House of Representatives member again, saying 'victory against all odds…the hardest in all elections I ran. Exhausted and utterly worn out! It's additionally an emotional exit as this shall be my final contest for the House of Representatives.'

The 2019 Speakership Election

Jibrin supported the aspiration of the current Speaker and was promptly offered the position of the Director-General of the Campaign, in recognition of his knack for political dexterity, hard work and antecedence of success. Off to work he went, canvassing, persuading, and deploying carefully crafted political strategies that eventually paid off on June 11, 2019.

Political Future

After the emergence of Gbajabiamila as Speaker, all eyes have been on Jibrin. What does he want? What will he be offered? Insiders in the Gbajabiamila camp revealed that everyone is confused about what to do with Jibrin.

The next few days or weeks will tell.

Omolabake, a public analyst, writes from Abuja

© Pakistan Press International, source Asianet-Pakistan

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