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This is a bridge to Nigeria
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This Is A Powerful Country
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The jaw-dropping revelations on the quantum of corruption that has become the trademark of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), and the alleged involvement of lawmakers may be sordid and disgraceful, but it is pertinent to admit that the scandalous extra-budgetary and financial malfeasance to the tune of N81.5 billion currently rocking the NDDC has been masterminded by a son of the Niger Delta region in the person of the talkative and eccentric Niger Delta Affairs Minister, Godswill Akpabio; who must be held accountable for the stench of corruption oozing out of the embattled agency. The belated attempt to shift responsibility to lawmakers, alleged to have benefitted from NDDC contracts is a well-contrived distraction by Akpabio, who is yet to explain how a whooping N81.5 billion was spent in four months under his watch; whereas no new contract was awarded. How can the minister convince any well-meaning Nigerian that he was unaware of the scandalous and suffocating perquisites appropriated by NDDC staff and their cronies? Granted that there is no honor among thieves, Akpabio cannot exonerate himself simply by blaming lawmakers for his own profligacy. As the supervisory minister of the NDDC, the buck stops on his desk!
The controversial decision by the House of Representatives to sue the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio, for criminal perjury and civil defamation, was bizarre and laughable to say the least; and certainly a sad commentary on the Nigerian legislature; to which much has been entrusted and from which much is expected. Shortly after House Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, announced Thursday, that he has instructed the Clerk to retain lawyers to commence perjury proceedings against Akpabio for ignoring the House’s request to name lawmakers in the 9th National Assembly he alleged were beneficiaries of 60% of contracts in the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), the Minister backpedaled on his claims, stating in a letter to lawmakers that he was misquoted. Public confidence in the legislature has been on the decline and it appears to have reached the nadir as lawmakers can no longer be trusted with oversight of the executive branch, let alone act in the public interest. It is an open secret that lawmakers routinely deploy their oversight powers as weapons of blackmail and intimidation against Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) with which they have an incestuous relationship. This is a textbook definition of corruption - abuse of public office for personal gain. This gluttony by lawmakers is an unbelievable shame that qualifies as a case study in selfishness. Nigeria is now a victim of her corrupt, avaricious, inept, clueless and lawless legislooters.

Editorial: Godswill Akpabio and his uncontrollable libido

Some stories are best told straight. True or not, the allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct against the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio by Ms. Joi Gbene Nunieh, former acting managing director of the Interim Management Committee (IMC) of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) is most embarrassing to Akpabio’s image as a cabinet minister, the Federal Executive Council as an institution and the entire country. In a series of naming and shaming interviews granted by Ms. Nunieh amid the ongoing public slanging match with Akpabio, she repeatedly insisted that she slapped Akpabio to fend off his uninvited sexual advances at his guesthouse in Apo, Abuja. The incident is more than a personal embarrassment for the lecherous Akpabio; it is now a public affair because Akpabio abused his official position as supervisory minister of NDDC to solicit sexual favors from his victim. This blight on the toga of Akpabio is indeed lamentable, signposting as it does; the moral bankruptcy and a certain lack of character by Nigerian public officials; a challenge all Nigerians must confront. It is just as well that President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered a speedy and coordinated investigation of corruption and sundry allegations in NDDC. But for any such probe to be credible, Akpabio must recuse himself or be removed; to prevent any undue interference with the investigation. Such is the essence of due process and the rule of law; you cannot be judge and jury in your own case!

Editorial: Ibrahim Magu – How art the mighty fallen?

After five years as the public face of the federal government’s anti-graft crusade, the suspension and arrest of Ibrahim Magu, acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), who is being investigated for corruption is a major blight on the toga of President Muhammadu Buhari’s war on corruption that reinforces public perception that the whole anti-graft war is just a smokescreen to harass and intimidate perceived opponents of the regime. Notwithstanding his offence, the public drama in which a combined team of policemen and officers of the Department of State Services (DSS) invaded the office of the EFCC to arrest Magu; whisked him off manu militari to face a presidential panel investigating allegations of corruption against him is shameful and most embarrassing to Nigerians. It is a debasement of Nigerian democracy and a sad manifestation of the rule of force over the rule of law. Although the Presidency touted the incident as affirmation that no one under the Buhari administration is above the law, such brigandage lowers the country’s image before the comity of nations. This is the tragedy of Nigeria.
Even as Nigerians revel in the public spectacle of allegations and counter-allegations between Niger Delta Minister, Godswill Akpabio and the former acting managing director of the Interim Management Committee (IMC) of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), the tantalizing revelation by the Senate ad-hoc committee that a whooping N81.5 billion has been misappropriated at the NDDC from October 2019 to May 2020 was a damning appraisal of President Muhammadu Buhari’s hollow pledge to combat corruption and another reminder, if any was needed, that Buhari’s anti-graft war has been an unmitigated failure. It is indeed pathetic that while the average Nigerian buckles under the yoke of poverty; unemployment and the failure of government to discharge its statutory responsibility to its citizens, some individuals would have so much leeway on profligacy and massive theft of public resources from the NDDC which, in the opinion of Vice-president Yemi Osinbajo, has become Corruption Inc. Sadly, Buhari made a curious endorsement of this pervasive corruption by supporting the creation of the IMC without any clear mandate; and further muddied the waters with a circuitous rigmarole called forensic audit which is a phantom exercise. This is a sad commentary on how Nigerians conduct public affairs. The president must rectify the situation without delay by doing the right thing and inaugurating the NDDC Board screened and approved by the Senate.
The ongoing crisis in the Ondo State House of Assembly rooted in the bid to remove the Deputy Governor, Agboola Ajayi, who defected from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has once again highlighted the incontrovertible diagnosis that there can be no democracy without democrats. The crisis has already consumed the majority leader Suleiman Maito, who resigned his position in protest against the move to remove the deputy governor. Three other casualties - Deputy Speaker, Ogundeji Iroju (Odigbo 1), Adewale Williams (Ondo West II) and Semilore Tomomewo (Ilaje II) have been suspended. The APC also expelled Success Torukerijoh (Ese Odo) for opposing the planned sack of Ajayi. Many more heads are expected to roll as the crisis unfolds.

Don’t cry, Mr. Godwin - by Sam Omatseye.

THE Yoruba folk tale reminds one of Godwin Obaseki and his court jesters. It is about a swaggering elephant and the choir behind him. They tickle him with their songs of praise, the drum rolls and the dances. His head dizzy, he feels like deity in the confetti of flattery. The elephant swings right and left forward in slow, majestic strides.