There are indications that Godswill Akpabio, Minister of Niger Delta Ministry is lobbying some senators and presidency officials to extend the tenure of the faltering Interim Management Committee, (IMC) of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
According to Presidency and National Assembly sources with knowledge of the goings-on, the Niger Delta Minister has been lobbying some of his former colleagues in the senate and friends at the Aso Villa to extend the Professor Pondei led team for another six months. Their term is supposed to end in December 2020.
The IMC was inaugurated in February 2020 following the sack of Ms Joi Nunieh as acting managing director of NDDC.
“I can tell you that a lot of money has been offered and accepted by people in the National Assembly and even in the Villa. These guys are really desperate to hang on to power and they are ready to pay anything.”
Recall that a few months ago, the IMC and Sen. Akpabio appeared before the Senate and House Committees on Niger Delta. Accusations and counter-accusations were levelled against both sides.
Akpabio had alleged that Committee chairmen and members were major contractors to the NDDC.
Members of the Committees accused the IMC of graft and profligacy. The IMC was also accused of making very suspicious and questionable payments as COVID-19 palliatives to themselves and some corporate organisations.
The dramatic sittings came to an end following the fainting of Professor Pondei, the acting managing the director during questioning by the House Committee in July 2020.
Professor Pondei is a secondary school mate of Sen. Godswill Akpabio. While Pondei served as House Prefect, Akpabio was Senior Prefect of Federal Government College, Port Harcourt in the early 80’s.
There are also indications that Akpabio has been frustrating efforts to form a permanent board
for the NDDC to replace the IMC.
According to a presidency source, “Akpabio does not want a new board for the NDDC except if it is appointed by him.
He has done so much to frustrate the formation of the board but I can tell you that one will be announced very soon.”