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Mr. President, Where Is The Substantive Board Of NDDC You Promised?

By Jesutega Onokpasa



NDDC President

I was on the verge of becoming convinced that somehow, Niger Delta Affairs Minister, Godswill Akpabio, might had surprisingly succeeded in compromising even the likes of High Chief Government Ekpemupolo, of all people, quite apart from silencing the Ijaw National Congress, IYC, when the IYC President, Professor Benjamin Okaba, made yet another most commendable intervention on the matter of the continued patently unlawful and brazenly unaccountable maladministration of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, by the Presidency of our country.

While no longer having any trust in the genuineness of the forensic audit of the NDDC and having completely lost confidence that President Muhammadu Buhari means well for our region, I am most gratified that not all of us have been compromised or intimidated into silence in the face of interests outside our region seizing control of the one interventionist agency we consider our own, over here, in the core Niger Delta.

Frankly, may God bless Tompolo and our Ijaw brethren for not selling us out over a mess of Akpabio’s very juicy but quite rotten porridge.

Thanks to the nauseating antics and relentless pranks of the likes of Akpabio, our President is made to look like some pathetic simpleton who cannot even compile a credible, coherent list of appointees to the board of a commission directly under his own presidency and, yet those closest to the President and who supposedly have his best interest at heart are quite happy to allow him to be thus further denigrated before a citizenry fast losing confidence in his ability to govern their country.

Truly saddening is the impression one gets that our President is made to look this way apparently because those who should know better and be minded to look out for his best interests, have, instead and, in concert with Akpabio become quite addicted to what properly belongs to the people of the Niger Delta and, are now secret partners in the wholesale forensic looting of the NDDC through the instrumentality of the one-man-show and similar ad-hoc arrangements they prefer for the commission, rather than for its governance by a substantive board as provided by law.

The entire Senate of the Federal Republic, the upper house of our National Assembly, no less, is, on its part, made to seem, by these same dramatis personae hellbent against the inauguration of the substantive board, as an agglomeration of clumsy misfits and cheap hustlers, masquerading as responsible legislators and competent oversighters, too impotent to assert themselves when a Minister and mere hireling of the President, treats their screening and confirmation of a board of eminently qualified appointees with utter contempt and goes ahead to superimpose his personal preferences over the clear and unambiguous stipulation of the law!

If anyone still had any doubts as to the shameful untowardness underpinning everything surrounding the NDDC in the wake of Akpabio’s emergence as Minister, those doubts should have been vacated by now; the bitter truth is that Akpabio and his partners in Aso Rock have forensically converted our NDDC for their purpose and, they are telling us there is nothing we can do about it!

It is no small matter for the President of a country that is supposedly not a banana republic, to solemnly assure his constituents that ‘‘based on the mismanagement that had previously bedeviled the NDDC, a forensic audit was set up and the result is expected by the end of July, 2021. I want to assure you that as soon as the forensic audit report is submitted and accepted, the NDDC Board will be inaugurated.” as he did to Professor Okaba and the leadership of the Ijaw National Congress.

When a President makes such a clear, direct and precise promise, his audience should feel entitled to go to sleep in the assurance that it is no one less than their First Citizen, President and Commander-in-Chief that had addressed them. Needless to say, it is, indeed, the most diabolical perfidy for the President to then be made to come across as some pathological liar who never meant even a word of the assurances he made!

Something truly terrible is clearly going on with our government. That in service to their avaricious designs on the NDDC, a bunch of money grubbers entrenched in the corridors of power, would prefer to give the impression that our President is just another con artist willing to tell any story to his constituents from the Niger Delta, rather than for him to fulfill his promise in dignity and honour as a respectable elder statesman, is a most needless and quite risky stunt for a government already faced with what is effectively a miserably failing state all around it.

The President promised to inaugurate the board he, himself, had chosen and which was then confirmed by the legislature by the end of July. It is now September and he still prefers to continue to treat the most peaceful region in the country with highly infuriating contempt. If this is a philosophy of governance, it is a most dreadful one, indeed!

Onokpasa, a lawyer, wrote from Warri.

Tel: +2347037212475.

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