Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Sen. Godswill Akpabio
By Douglas Dodiyi-Manuel
Indeed, times have changed, and the youth of this generation are learning and imbibing what may have easily been apostate to the youth of prior generations. In my recent article, The Pharaoh knows no Joseph in Forensic Audit, I quoted the legendary Malam Nuhu Ribadu, when he said, “When you fight corruption, corruption fights back”. Sadly, it is an unbelievable dawn of the apostate in our land.
These are times of blurry perspectives, when men can no longer differentiate between right and wrong. Our youth have gone commercial with a mind of negotiable commitment. They have no social or political persuasions, but are vacant and available for the crusade of corruption.
Upon the resumption of his second term, President Muhammadu Buhari ordered a forensic audit of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC – and hell vulcanized. In apparent global glare, corruption is fighting back. In certain instances, corruption fights with an allusion that what is good and honourable is in fact questionable.
It was before a global audience that the Point-Blank News alleged that the NDDC IMC has within two months disbursed Two Hundred Billion Naira (N200,000,000,000), whereas, the NDDC had only received less than fifteen percent (15%) of the said figure. The sad things, is that these tales of putative disbursements are not only false and misleading, but are also exacerbating ignorance.
Furthermore, sequel to the special request by the Government of Ondo State, and the Lassa Fever outbreak in Edo State, upon which on the 16th of April 2019, the NDDC entered into a contract pursuant to the Public Procurement Act of 2007 with a company for the supplies of Lassa Fever Protective Kits – the contract value was N2,425,242,248.00.
The company fulfilled their contractual obligations through the NDDC process, but the NDDC before the expiration of the Prof Brambaifa administration could not fulfil her own obligation of prompt payment.
Like what has become the culture of State Governments, where contractual obligations are treated with levity, more so those of a different administration, the Prof Pondei IMC could have easily ignored the contract, and exposed the NDDC to the consequences of ensuing litigations. But seeing that extant requirements have been fully complied with, they chose to honour the contractual agreement between the NDDC and the said company, and released the payment to the company – and believe me, more payments would be released to as many companies that have legitimate cause to be paid.
Seeing that payment has legitimately been made, the merchants of lies congregated again, and without thorough investigation, they took to the media to sensationalise the fact of payment with an allusion of corruption.
Something apparently remarkable in the Buhari administration is the rule of law, and that is what has curtailed the arrogance of impunity.
In terms of the Public Procurement Act, payments that exceeds 80 days should attract interest – owing to this, the contract was fully paid for.
It is also noteworthy that owing to the need to establish the dawn of a responsive administrative protocol, that will aid the efforts of the Buhari administration to entrench a culture of responsibility, patriotism and respect, the Honourable Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Sen. Godswill Akpabio has shown determination and capacity to raise a standard against the advancement of corruption and vested interest.
It is therefore immensely tragic that in an effort to frustrate the forensic audit of the NDDC, a commendable Interim Management Committee is daily vilified through the instrumentation of ignorance, joblessness and hunger – the poverty of our youth has thus become a tool of coercion to sustain the reign of mediocrity and ignominy – believe me, the tide will turn!
What President Buhari saw in Sen. Akpabio before appointing him as Chairman of the Presidential Monitoring Committee, is his doggedness, resilience, tenacity and the persuasion to make society work – NDDC will work!
May I therefore advise the traducers of IMC and the Honourable Minister for Niger Delta Affairs, to deploy their steam and strength shunning out legislative Bills that enjoy the coloration of contemporary developmental innovations.
With the ferocious advancement of corruption, Sen. Godswill Obot Akpabio is, and represents the standard raised to preserve the integrity of our society – the forensic audit will be exhaustive.
Douglas Dodiyi-Manuel is the General Coordinator and Chairman, Free River Social Media FRSM