Roy Nwabu Umezinwa
The recent spurious corruption allegation against the interim management of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) can be seen for what it is: it is nothing but the case of corruption fighting back those put in place to fight it. Those who have read Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala’s seminal book: Fighting Corruption is Dangerous; will be conversant with the difficulty of fighting corruption in Nigeria and indeed any other place in the world.
Therefore, anybody willing to fight corruption and wrestle it to the ground will be ready for a rough fight. He must be ready to be called names, utterly blackmailed and have insults hurled at him for his audacity and even temerity to venture to ask relevant questions that will uncover past corrupt practices in the commission. This is unfortunately the burden the Minister of the Niger Delta Affairs, Chief Godswill Akpabio and those currently in charge of the NDDC will bear for carrying out a national assignment to oversee the forensic probe of the activities of the commission as ordered by President Muhammadu Buhari some months ago.
The recent vehement and orchestrated media attacks against the person of Akpabio and the NDDC Iterim Management Committee (IMC), Chairman, Prof. Kemebradikumo Pondei, clearly illustrate how corruption fights back. The sponsors of these media tirades want to create confusion by tarring those in charge of the commission in black colours and make them unclean to sit in judgement against them.
Being masters of deceit, mischief and subterfuge, they will stop at nothing to drag the IMC of the agency in the mud. Their inordinate motive is to ensure that the hunter becomes the hunted so that they won’t have the strength to fight them. That is why they have deployed commissioned write-ups in the various newspapers and advertorials to make people believe their warped and disjointed tales of corruption and meddlesomeness in the management of the NDDC.
Their allegation of corruption against the current management of the NDDC is diversionary. It is a subtle manner to frustrate the ongoing forensic probe of the agency which they see as a cash cow and even their ATM. The smear campaign is specially devised to buy time and undue attention. It is also devised to create maximum confusion and distract those probing their nefarious activities in the agency.
There is no doubt that those engineering the propaganda cannot be different from those whose dirty transactions with the NDDC are being investigated. Because they want to deceive the unwary public, they are willing to dish out lies and fabrications garnished to look as truth to cover their evil deeds. They also believe that if they dish out the lies steadily that Nigerians will soon begin to believe them.
Apart from dominating the print media and the social media with their propaganda, they have also recruited some youths in the Niger Delta region to demonstrate and create media attention in their favour. Because of their huge war chest, they have seized the media space and social media in a frenzy and in a mood that suggest that they are saying everything but the truth. Their plan is to make sure that the ongoing probe is disrupted and even derailed.
Their agenda is to make sure that the IMC is sacked thereby making it possible for their surrogates to come in and be in charge. Once their aim is achieved, they will ensure that the forensic probe ordered by President Muhammadu Buhari will no longer see the light of the day. No doubt, they have the money and resources to really distract the interim management of the agency as well as derail the ongoing forensic probe as ordered by the federal government.
That is why the presidency should disregard their antics and campaign of calumny against the interim management of the NDDC. The presidency should disregard their shouts of corruption that cannot be proved and treat them as interlopers and mischief makers. What these hawks are doing is not novel. It has never been a hidden fact that the NDDC has for long served as a conduit pipe for easy money for many of them.
Therefore, they are vehemently bent to do anything possible to return to the status quo and continue their financial malfeasance in the commission. But since the change in the management of the commission, they have been restless and cashing every straw like a drowning man. Knowing that they will soon fall, they don’t want to fall alone. They are striving to ensure that some people fall with them. That is why they won’t like their dirty deeds to see the light of the day or become public knowledge.
Having made so much money from corruption, they still want to cover their evil deals with plenty lies and propaganda to discredit the new management of the commission and put it in bad light. As masters of deceit, their intendment is to seriously intimidate and psychologically harass those at the helm of affairs at the NDDC at the moment. The public is very much aware that their grand desire is to truncate the ongoing forensic probe through buying time and causing a lot of media distraction that will lead to nowhere.
The interim management committee of the NDDC should remain focused and disregard the antics of these distracters. They should not bother about these intruders who feast in fomenting trouble and finding faults where none exists. The ongoing forensic probe should not be derailed as planned by these distracters. Those who are used to opaque nature of things in the NDDC in the past are the ones sabotaging the forensic probe.
They are the ones attacking the minister of the Niger Delta Affairs as well as the current interim management of the commission. Good enough, Nigerians are clever to be deceived by these charlatans masquerading as whistle-blowers and anti-corruption activists. The federal government should ignore them and insist that the interim management of the commission must go on with its good work which is already yielding the intended good results.
Umezinwa writes from Abuja