For as many who have been following the National Assembly probe of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) probe which has the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio at the centre stage, the latest update will certainly come as an interesting twist to the entire saga.
Former Acting Managing Director for the NDDC, Joi Nunieh, set the tone for the revelations on high level corruption plaguing the NDDC in a hearing at the National Assembly on the alleged mismanagement of N81.5 billion. Appearing before the panel, she denied that such amount was spent under her watch while accusing the Minister as the mastermind behind the corrupt practices at the commission.
Further investigation by the House of Representatives Committee on the Niger Delta indicted the interim Managing Director of the commission, Pondei Kemebradikumo and the Minister in an N81.5billion embezzlement scandal.
While undergoing questioning, Akpabio however, revealed that his Ministry had documents to show that members of the National Assembly were major beneficiaries of contracts awarded at the commission. He appeared to have backtracked eventually, following his explanation in a letter written to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, who had given Akpabio a 48-hour ultimatum to publish the names of lawmakers who were awarded contracts at the NDDC.
Akpabio Fires Back, Lists Senators, House Members Awarded NDDC Contracts https://t.co/ejxtPTZBs4
— THISDAY LIVE (@THISDAYLIVE) July 27, 2020
In an interesting turn of events, it has been gathered that the Minister did release names of some lawmakers who inserted contracts into the 2019 budget of the commission in the said letter,
The names allegedly listed by Akpabio include the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Niger Delta Affairs, Peter Nwaoboshi (Delta-North), with 53 projects, Senator Matthew Urhoghide (representing Edo-South) with 6 projects; Senator James Manager (represnting Delta-South),with 6 projects; Senator Samuel Anyanwu (who represented Imo-West in the 8th Senate) with 19 projects as well as others simply identified as Ondo and Edo Reps.
A former NDDC Committee Chairman in the House of Representatives, Nicholas Mutu, who represents Bomadi/Patani Federal Constituency of Delta State, is also among those listed by the minister with about 74 projects, including various emergency road projects in Delta, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa and Rivers states.
Judging from similar probe exercises in the past, the findings and revelations no matter damning amount to nothing because no action is taken at the end of the day. It is in light of this that Nigerians have taken to the various social media platforms to express concerns on the development, with majority of them demanding to know ‘what next?’
So, the list is out.
And the "is okay" people are on it…
Akpabio with the we go down together attitude, the #Nigerian mantra when it's not working in your favor.
But this is only going down in history
— Bint Deen (@DeenahN) July 27, 2020
He was trying to play to the gallery knowing the Nigerian media will spin anything against Buhari's government. Unfortunately, Akpabio is a former Senator who knows the game so well. He turned the tables. They previously came up with "60% of NDDC projects" to divert attention.
— El Commandante (@MrLekanAdigun) July 27, 2020
But you can't say they didn't know. You can't be a Nigerian and say this with your chest that Gbajabiamila and co didn't know this.
They just didn't think Akpabio will cast them. But the man did and now there's fire on the mountain. https://t.co/dacBjJU3eX
— Chima (@Chimamkpam_) July 27, 2020
An independent committee made up of people who have absolutely nothing to do with the allegations flying around should be set up.
And the speaker should release the full, unredacted Akpabio letter. Or Akpabio should release it to the public himself.
— Kelvin Odanz (@MrOdanz) July 27, 2020
I have always said it that nothing will change in Nigeria if we do not get the right people into the National Assembly. The president can do very little or nothing. National Assembly is where the power and corruption live.
— Mazi Olayinka Danladi (@MaziOlayinka) July 27, 2020
Rt. Hon. Gbajabiamila, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, has disappointed Nigerians badly! He can only regain his integrity, if he has any, by making real his threat to sue Sen. Akpabio, now that Akpabio has forwarded the list of NASS members looting the NDDC.
— Chris Etim (@chrisetim708085) July 27, 2020
It is noteworthy that some Nigerians are calling for an independent panel without ties to the Minister or the National Assembly, with the aim of unearthing the extent of rot in the commission while a full investigation should be carried out on the list of lawmakers indicted in the Akpabio letter.
A dreamer, thinker, and writer who is still exploring the nuances of life and being human. When I’m not writing, I’m out with friends or spending nice time alone watching movies or TV Shows.
Michael is available on Twitter and Instagram @TheMichaelFaya