Akpabio, Nunieh brickbats: Why Buhari must step in to ensure sanity
By Oludare Mayowa
The ongoing brickbats between the minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio and the immediate past acting chief executive of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Joi Nunieh is sickening and perhaps symptomatic of the going on and biggest troubles in the present administration of President Mohammadu Buhari.
First, it was the arrest and suspension of the acting chairman of the Economic And Financial Crime Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu over allegations of financial wrongdoing and malpractices.
While the presidential panel investigating the allegations of malpractices against Magu is still ongoing and yet to disclose the details of the offences of the anti-graft cars, the stench of corruption allegations that flowing out from the NDDC under the watch of Akpabio is morbid and could sink the ship of this government if nothing concrete is not done about it.
The fact that the minister of the Niger Delta Affairs could not respond appropriately to all the allegations against him by the ex-NDDC boss is alarming and sure a signal to the depth of the rot in the intervention agency that was established to provide development for the people of the oil producing region.
This government, which set out to fight corruption may eventually be drowned by corruption if the president does not take urgent measures to carry out surgical measures to extricate the dreaded menace from his government.
Apart from the Magu and Akpabio saga, the nation’s Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami is also enmeshed in various allegations of corrupt practices as a fall out from his battle to see the back of Magu from the anti-graft commission.
It was not enough for all the personalities to merely wave aside those critical allegations against them, there must be decisive actions by the government to reassure Nigerians that this government is not populated by rebrobate minds who are there to serve their selfish interest and not the interest of the people.
The government must set up a transparent process to unravel all the sinister practices of some of his appointees and rid the system of the misdeeds if he wants people to take his anti-corruption fight seriously and his image of a strong and an incorruptible leader not with a pinch of salt.
The show of shame Nigerians are presently witnessing does not do his government any good and his personal acclaimed integrity is being dragged in the mud.
For instance, Akpabio has been accused of trying to manipulate the system for the purpose of personal gain by the ex-NDDC CEO at the ongoing investigations into the sleaze going on in the intervention agency at the National Assembly. Similar allegations of malpractices have been leveled against the AGF on many grounds.
Nigerians and the whole world would like to see the president rising up to the occasion and by ordering comprehensive investigations into the activities of his key appointees to either expose or clear them of any wrongdoings.
It is not enough to claim that the investigations into the actions of the ex-acting chairman of the EFCC, for instance, was evidence of the government’s commitment to fighting corruption, the government must be seen to be doing the right thing in its efforts to expose and punish corrupt practices in the country and within his appointees.
The presidential panel currently interrogating Magu was not the right path to take if indeed, the government is serious about its claim of fighting corruption and desirous of unearthing the various corruption allegations against the ex-EFCC boss and even others involved in the alleged crime.
To get to the root of any corruption allegations, the proper thing the government should do is to order a comprehensive audit of the accounts of the agencies involved by reputable and competent accounting and audit firms.
Setting up a presidential panel presided over by a reputable jurist, to me is not a sufficient method to get to the bottom of the case; what that could do is a mere fact-finding approach, which may not really achieve much.
Considered the fact that the government is yet to take any concrete steps to respond to the report of the Auditor General of the Federations, which accused some public officials of stolen about N300 billion from the nation’s Treasury.
The progress of the country will depend on the ability of the leaders to harness all resources for the betterment of the nation and its citizens and not on those who parade themselves as leaders but rather choose to loot the commonwealth to the detriment of all.
The government must ensure that it is intentional in its approach to rid the nation of corruption and its agents, otherwise, the government may continue to dance in a circle and deceiving itself that it was fighting the menace of corruption.