Key aides of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, have disregarded his instruction against soliciting funds from members of the House to publish the maiden edition of “Reps Speaker”, a quarterly in-house journal. Among the aides, who flouted the speaker, are the Deputy Chief of Staff (DCOS) Mr. CID Maduabum, and Special Adviser on Media and Public Affairs,Turaki Hassan.
Reports say that the magazine was the brainchild of Maduabum who, exploiting the inadequacies of Turaki as spokesman, persuaded a reluctant Dogara to approve its publication. But Dogara’s approval, said an insider, was accompanied by a caveat: “Do not solicit funds from any quarters, especially members of the House.”
Reliable sources confirmed that the Director-General of the National Assembly-owned Institute of Legislative Studies (NILS), Dr. Ladi Hamalai, offered to fund the publication, a move warmly received by the Speaker.
But the aides ignored Dogara’s warning by going ahead to solicit funds from some political figures with whom the Speaker is close. Among these are Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal of Sokoto State and members of the House..
House members reluctant to provide funds were pressured into placing advertisements at a unit cost of N250,000. This was kept away from the Speaker and his Chief of Staff.
But Maduabum and Turaki were perpetually gripped by fear of being exposed, especially in the media, after the magazine was launched. The duo took the preventive step of bribing members of the Speaker’s media team, who were similarly kept in the dark, about the publication of the magazine.
However, two of the Speaker’s media assistants, Yakubu Musa Fagge and Ilya Habila, handed the N50,000 each received from Turaki to Dogara’s Chief of Staff, with letters explaining their action.
In his letter, Fagge said he was handing over the money, received in two instalments of 25,000, because he did not know the source of the money, considering that the magazine in question was printed free.
Habila’s explanation was that he could not understand how N3million raised at the the magazine launch was expended and demanded an explanation.
The letters got Dogara’s Chief of Staff to demand from Turaki a response to the issues raised by the media team members in their letters.