By Andrew Ossai Eke
On Tuesday, October 29, 2019, the list of nominees into the incoming board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) was read on the floor of the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Shortly thereafter, and to the utter amazement, shock, incredulity, confusion and indeed disgust of discerning Nigerians, a counter-list of a so-called steering committee for the same NDDC was released to the media.
Thus, as if in homage to unbridled rascality in governance, a list of appointees from no less an institution than the Presidency of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is read before the Senate only for that same list to be deliberately undermined by another list from the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, which is supposed to be under the Presidency!
Putting it simply, the President of our entire country presents his list, only for his list to be poo-pooed, denigrated and sought to be overruled by a list from one of his Ministers!
Even thus has a list drawn up by the President we voted for, Muhammadu Buhari, been most haughtily undermined by a Minister we never voted for called Godswill Akpabio!
Indeed, vide a blatant act of exceeding ministerial rascality exposing highly suspicious desperation on his part, Akpabio subverts the list of our President while delivering a direct insult to the Senate of the Federal Republic by giving the impression that their constitutionally imposed role to confirm the nominees in question will be of no consequence at the end of the day.
Surely, however, low we might have sunk in this country and whatever depths of political rascality might have become normalised in these climes, this utterly abominable category of political brigandage must not and will not be tolerated!
How dare any Minister so brazenly challenge his President and principal and in such a rascally manner?
Former senator or not, who is Godswill Akpabio to give the impression that our elected Senate going ahead to confirm the nominees will be of no consequence since he has already set up an illegal steering committee with the intent of emasculating the incoming board?
Mr. President’s letter to the Senate of the Federal Republic is read in the morning and before news of the event is sufficiently disseminated, some obviously incompetent character with no notion of respect for constituted authority, unilaterally sets up an illegal so-called steering committee to undermine the President of the Republic?
Who is Godswill Akpabio by the way, and when did he even join the APC?
Was he allowed to join the party and undeservedly awarded a ministerial post just for the purpose of humiliating Mr. President or what?
Our own President sends a list of his appointees into the NDDC Board to the Senate and as if to demonstrate that he is actually the one really in charge and not the President, Akpabio goes to town with a counter-list of a steering committee for the same commission?
On Akpabio’s extralegal steering committee are a medical doctor as acting Executive Director, Projects, and an Executive Director, Finance and Administration from his Akwa-Ibom enclave apparently for easy flow to only-God-knows-where!
With this sort of mentality it is quite clear that nothing meaningful will be forthcoming from the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs any time soon!
This legal orphan of a so-called steering committee is not intended to audit anything, unearth graft or fight corruption in the NDDC.
On the contrary, its sole purpose is for the further perpetration and entrenchment of corruption in the commission all because some desperados have foolishly lost all the money they stole from Akwa-Ibom and elsewhere and are now desperate to recoup their losses from the collective patrimony of the Niger Deltan Region.
It will not happen!
Unless we have committed ourselves to perennially lying to our ownselves in this country and in the APC in particular, it should be quite clear by now that the likes of Akpabio are completely out of place in a party whose face is President Muhammadu Buhari of all people!
Akpabio and his ilk are, by their own conduct, obviously incurable PDP types entirely removed from any hope of political reorientation or ideological redemption compatible with progressive governance.
These are people for whom government is really just another hustle and fitting into the Buhari methodology of governance is clearly beyond their depth.
Indeed, it is now beyond question that the NDDC is really just another cash cow for pathologically corrupt political hustlers still psychotically and spiritually in PDP while pretending to have become progressives in APC.
The entire purpose of this illegal joke of a steering committee constituted by a supposed lawyer who clearly does not know the law, is to pepertuate the wholesale looting of the commission as was the case with the immediate past board and the present interim management team!
There is no provision for a steering committee in the NDDC Act and its constitution by Akpabio and his co-travellers only serves to demonstrate the pitiable desperation that drives the avarice of the incurable hustlers giving this administration a bad name.
The NDDC is a commission of the Presidency of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and by no means just another department of the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs.
If Akpabio does not know that, he does not know anything.
We urge Mr. President to immediately require from Akpabio, vide a terse query, an explanation as to why he would undermine his authority while seeking to bring his administration into disrepute.
Mr. President has set up a board to be put in place vide Senate confirmation.
It is a board of tried and tested men and women without the taint of the past and should immediately be confirmed by the Senate to man the commission forthwith!
Going forward, the Presidency must ensure that this sort of highly embarrassing rascality does not arise, ever again.
***Mr. Eke, a member of the Coalition for Truth in Nigeria, wrote from Warri, Delta State