For a moment, Nigeria has not been corruption-free. Things are always absurd in this country. A day will not pass without hearing a sadden happening. In every sector, corruption has been the leading factor contributing to underdevelopment. No institution is safe from corruption’s trap. The new corruptible institution in Nigeria is the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
A few days ago, President Muhammad Buhari asked the House of Representatives to commence investigation on the agency. Acting upon the order, the House began the investigation by summoning the Acting MD of NDDC and the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs and developments have been recorded. During the probe, the acting MD of NDDC, Prof Pondei fainted while answering questions from the committee.
On the other hand, the minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godwin Akpabio, when providing answers to the questions he was being asked, alleged the lawmakers of being the topmost beneficiaries of contracts. Within a short period, his words circulated around the country caught peoples’ attention and generated mass comments. If Akpabio’s words are true, that means his probers are also recipients of the contracts
In the same vein, responding to the allegation, the leadership of House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila asked the minister to publish the names of lawmakers whom he said were the beneficiaries. This juncture marked the beginning of the tragicomedy between both parties. On this note, the masses expected the minister to spell out the names as ordered. After the expiration of the given ultimatum, the minister would later deny the accusation.
No doubt, the matter between Akpabio and the Reps is of two phases. The first insight depicts Akpabio as a man of his words but due to subjection to legal hands, he was coward. Secondly, the minister might have uttered the statement, at the first instance, just to free himself and as an escape route from the shackles of the probe unknowingly, he would later be accused. The accusation has now implicated him beyond his power.
Undeniably, Akpabio is an authority when it comes to NDDC. His political career began with his service as Governor of Akwa Ibom state. Before his current position, he was also a senator and one-time chairman of the Senate Committee on Niger Delta Affairs. In this sense, the minister is familiar with the nook and crony of Niger Delta. He understands all the planted roots in the Commission. He might be saying the truth but the days ahead of him are critical and severe. Considering how powerful the National Assembly is, his power limit, the minister later resolved to denial. This is the first phase of the saga.
On the other hand, having a trial with lawmakers, mostly, is not easy. It is a serious task. If the minister is right, the lawmakers might have been trying to use their power to bury the corruption and cover their members. In the content of the accusation, one can easily deduce a fact which the minister mentioned which is ignorance of the leadership of the National Assembly on the matter. As the speaker of the House, since there is a committee on the Commission, the leadership might not know what is burning under his roof. His members might have been sweeping the matter beneath the carpet. For the speaker, he might not involved but others might.
As the matter goes on, we shall open our eyes clearly. In furtherance, our patriotism will support the fight against corruption. On the bench, we shall seat, examine and watch carefully.
Disclaimer: Please note, opinion pieces published on CAMPUS REPORTER undergo minimal editing to preserve the writer’s original voice.
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