Discrepancies at the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) headed by the Minister of Niger Delta affairs, Godswill Akpabio, and the yet-to-be reconstituted board of the commission has been decried by a former leader of the Niger Delta militia, Chief Government Ekpemupolo, also known as Tompolo.
Tompolo described the running of the commission by Akpabio as a “one-man show”, which, according to him, is not embraced by the people in the region.
He accused Akpabio of depriving contractors their full pay after “evaluation of work is done”.
The former leader questioned the silence of top politicians from the south-south region on the matter as, according to him, Akpabio’s dealings with contractors and the commission’s finances were “an open secret”.
He said, “It is in itself an act of corruption as the people of the region have lost so much resources in the process of the so-called forensic audit,” Tompolo said.
“No one can tell the amount of money that has been spent by Senator Akpabio in pursuing this divisive agenda. It is obvious that there will be another forensic audit to investigate the activities of Senator Akpabio by the time he let grip off the commission. This is disheartening and worrisome.
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“Senator Akpabio has refused to pay contractors even after evaluation of work done. He has selectively paid his cronies and those in the list of political patronage. It is an open secret that some contractors have been made to part with up to between 30% and 50% of the contract sum. I ask, where is the equity and probity of this sole administration?
“There is no way things will continue in this manner. I am surprised at the recent silence of highly placed persons from the region on this matter. Perhaps, Senator Akpabio is not alone on this NDDC ‘abduction’.
“This must be a product of high-wired conspiracy among persons from the Presidency, National Assembly, and Security Agencies to perpetually silence all well-meaning Nigerians in this strange deal. Senator Akpabio should know that it is time to end this barbaric act as it will be concertedly resisted in the days ahead.”
Tompolo accused the minister of utilising the forensic audit into the commission’s “past activities” as a tool to further his political ambition for 2023.
He proffered that the board of the commission should comprise representatives from each of the states that make up the south-south region.
He said, “The continuous running of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) by a sole administrator at the instance of the minister of Niger Delta Affairs Senator Akpabio, is undemocratic and anti-development, hence unacceptable to the people of the region.
“The people of the region are averse to a one-man show in a commission that is supposed to attend to the developmental needs of nine states, namely, Abia, Akwa-Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Edo, Imo, Ondo, and Rivers. It will likely set the region on fire, sooner than later.
“The act establishing the commission provided among other things that it will be administered by a board comprising of a Chairman, Managing Director, Executive Directors and Commissioners who will be drawn from the nine states that made up the region. However, this provision has been blatantly undermined by Senator Godswill Akpabio and his co-travellers in the Presidency.
“There is no provision for either interim management committee or sole administration in the act that establishes the NDDC. Common sense will tell you that the so called forensic audit that has been used by Senator Akpabio to strangle the commission could be best conducted with a substantive board that brings all representatives from the nine states and other parts of the country.
“As one from the region, Senator Akpabio’s initial mission to audit past activities of the commission was seen as welcome development, but later the people realised that it was a personal mission to feather the next of his 2023 political ambition.”