The least may not have been heard about the battle of wits currently going on in the Niger Delta Development Commission NDDC, between a group of principalities and powers who have continued to claim patent right over NDDC and another who seek to stop the continued plundering of the commission and reposition her into delivering on its original mandate. Don’t you ever wondered why the NDDC is always in the news for the wrong reasons, you’re about to find out why a group of individual will stop at nothing to make NDDC remain their cash cow. This article will help you understand why after 19 years since NDDC was established; it has remained largely unproductive when put side by side with resources within its disposal.
PETITIONS; A TOOL TO UNSETTLE ANY BOARD
It is no longer news that both chambers of the national assembly, the senate and house of representative did set up committees to probe alleged misappropriation of 40 billion naira perpetuated by Prof. Pondei-led Interim Management Committee IMC of Niger Delta Development Commission NDDC. A closer look at the actors involved in this recent petition against the IMC, you’ll discover it emanated from the usual quarters, some faceless youth organizations, elders and stakeholders forums, who claim to be representing the interest of Niger Delta but with no known address in the entire region, they enjoy heavy financial backings from senior management staffs of the who were recently transferred out of the commissions headquarters to allow for swift access to documents that will enable the forensic audit team carry out their assignment in the commission.
This faceless groups have hundreds of spurious petitions already written down and waiting to be deployed against any board appointed by the president, and should incase the board refuses to do their bidding, they strike just as they’re doing presently. I for one don’t expect that they’ll seat aloof and watch, while their hundreds of billion Naira secret dealings are brought to light. And since President Buhari matched his word with action by giving bite to the Interim Management Committee, this group of senior management staff has continued to scuttle the much needed forensic audit, thereby covering their atrocities in the commission.
MEDIA: A TOOL TO BLACKMAIL ANY BOARD
The understanding of the role media (electronic, print and social) play in information dissemination is one thing, knowing how to use the same media as a manipulative tool for disinformation is another, while the former is appropriate, the later has consistently been deployed without hesitation by this aggrieved owners of NDDC, the fascinating and shocking thing about their modus operandi is that they deployed this manipulative media tool to misinform Nigerians whenever they realize their inglorious and unproductive reign at the commission’s headquarters is put on the spotlight like it is being done presently by an independent forensic audit, , shocked by their with their transfer out of the Harold Dappa Biriye House, headquarters of NDDC they’re left with no option than engage the services of social media propagandist, morally bereaved Newspaper columnist, and even secured airtime on popular radio and TV programs for their paid activist with no track record of activism whatsoever to go misinform Nigerians. Despite their unsuccessful blackmail, campaign of calumny and false accusation aimed at maligning the integrity of the Minister for Niger Delta Affairs, Sen Godswill Akpabio, President Buhari last week extended the tenure of the IMC till December to enable it conclude the forensic investigation at the commission, but those on the other side don’t want the forensic audit see the light of the day.
NASS PROBE: A TOOL TO UNDERMINE PRESIDENT BUHARI ANTI-CORRUPTION FIGHT
The alleged 40 billion Naira misappropriation probe called by both chambers of the national assembly reminds me of the Igbo adage that says “A witch cried in the night, a child dies in the morning”, if not how else can you explain their action? Probing an interim management committee set up by the president to probe the activities of NDDC in the last 19 years, why can’t they allow for a completion the forensic audit before going about their probe of the IMC, if indeed there is evidence of allege infractions against them? Why are some members of the national assembly especially Sen Thompson Sekibo keen on being part of the probe? Is he on a vendetta mission of having his pound of flesh back at Sen Akpabio after the later outsmarted him to clinching the position of minority leader of PDP in the eight senate? Had Sen. Sekibo and members of his committee been carrying out proper oversight function, the NDDC won’t be as corrupt as it is today, are members of NASS committees part of the sleeve going on in NDDC, to which they’re ready to sacrifices anything to defend even if it means scuttling the work of an independent forensic audit?
That the leadership of the national assembly will allow itself to be dragged into another round of unfounded petition brought by some of its members especially those in the NDDC oversight committee speaks volume. Is the national assembly leadership also aware that members of the committee on NDDC are working hand in hand with those recently suspended senior management staffs? Are these senators and honorable members threatened that the forensic investigation of the president will expose their underhand dealings of settlement with inflated contract to the tune of billions of Naira by this same suspended senior management staffs? Why allow faceless individuals masquerading themselves as stakeholders of the Niger delta region smuggle in petitions riddled with baseless allegations, brandishing of false figures and outright smear campaign aimed at painting the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs Sen Godswill Akpabio as well as the IMC in bad light while also undermining the person of President Muhammadu Buhari who set up the committee to look into activities of the commission since inception.
ON FORENSIC AUDIT OF NDDC 19 YEARS WE STAND
Soon after the Federal Executive council approved Lead Consultant for the forensic audit of Niger Delta Development Commission NDDC, we have be inundated with series of claims and counter claims from different interest groups on why the forensic audit should be discontinued. Their interest is not for development to get to the nook and cranny of region but to further expand their personal estate at any course necessary. While president Buhari has given his nod for the forensic audit to commence, it behooves on the APC leadership in the national assembly to ensure that the needed support is given to the Prof. Pondi led-IMC and suspend the recently constituted probe committee forthwith; allow the Interim Management Committee carry out this all important task of overseeing the day to day running of NDDC while the forensic audit be allowed to continued unhindered. This is not time to jeopardize the president’s effort to reposition the NDDC back to its core mandate and objective.
Obiaruko Christie Ndukwe
Citizens Quest For Truth Initiative