The last may not have been heard about the curious appointment of Effiong Okon Akwa as Sole Administrator for the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), as Pointblanknews.com just uncovered some dark deals that made such possible.
According to our investigations, the players behind this deal are Niger Delta Affairs minister, Godswill Akpabio, Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, the powerful Personal Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari, Sabiu ‘Tunde’ Yusuf and First Lady Aisha Buhari’s brother, Mahmud Halilu Ahmad.
Despite the Tsunami of opposition to the appointment by stakeholders including the Senate, they pulled the appointment through, granting Akpabio an unfettered hold on the NDDC.
Reliable sources within the presidency told Pointblanknews.com that in the desperation to get the Sole Administrator for the NDDC approved, Akpabio promised to support Attorney General with N25billion from the N453billion 2020 budget of the NDDC towards his governorship ambition.
Malami, a notoriously corrupt Attorney General, is desperately mobilizing resources to run for the Governorship of Kebbi State in 2023
According to our sources, Akpabio also allegedly paid $5million to Malami to secure legal note backing the appointment of a Sole Administrator NDDC and another $5million to Sabiu “Tunde” Yusuf to push the file and have Buhari sign off on the appointment of Akwa, even though a Board had been constituted.
Some stakeholders have consistently contended that the decision to appoint Akwa as Sole Administrator to ‘oversee the ongoing forensic audit of the Commission to its completion’ is alien, illegal, void and seriously offends the fine provisions of Sections 2, 3 and 4 of the NDDC (Establishment) Act, 2000.
One of the stakeholders, Timi Frank had queried “Why is Akpabio and his cohorts in the presidency refusing to appoint a substantive Board for the NDDC, but instead, they have moved from an Interim Management Committee to a Sole Administrator that is not known by the Act establishing the NDDC?
“If Akpabio is honest, transparent and has no skeleton or ulterior notions, why appoint a Sole Administrator from Akwa Ibom state that is against the extant Act which clearly states that the Managing Director of the NDDC must come from either Delta or Bayelsa states?”
Sources at the Presidency and Akpabio’s office hinted further that, Part of the loot Tunde collected, was used to purchase a property in Palm Spring Estate for over N1billion. Ambassador Lawan kazaure, the State Chief of protocol also owns a property in the same estate. The estate is regarded as one of the most expensive in Abuja.
Tunde is said to be the defacto president. Sources said “anyone within the government who wants approval for anything from the president, pays Tunde. Without paying, memos are killed, appointments withheld”
Sources told Pointblanknews.com that Akpabio also paid an undisclosed sum to Mahmud Halilu Ahmad, a brother to First lady Aisha Buhari to help to lobby the first lady to ensure the idea of a Sole Administrator for NDDC scaled through.
According to our source “Malami argued that he was misled into approving the Sole Administrator for NDDC, but he has not withdrawn the approval or advised the President to sack the Sole Administrator. The money he collected to do the dirty job is reason he cannot go back to the President to ask for the removal of the NDDC Sole Administrator”.
Sources also said Akpabio’s payments to the trio is to ensure he gets complete control of the NDDC and the Niger Delta Ministry.
Frank, a Political activist and former Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressive Congress, had instituted a case against Akpabio led cartel in the NDDC following its refusal to rescind its appointment of a Sole Administrator to pilot the affairs of the Commission.
A former Governor of Bayelsa State, Senator Henry Seriake Dickson, had also condemned the appointment of a Sole Administrator for the NDDC describing it as an illegality which should be corrected immediately. Dickson also suggested that the capital budget of the Niger Delta Development Commission shouldn’t be implemented by the sole administrator who is unknown to the law.
As a fallout of his observation, the Senate rejected the appointment of a sole administrator for the commission and resolved to prevail on the Federal Government to ensure immediate constitution of the board of the NDDC.The Senate agreed that the appointment of a sole administrator for the NDDC was illegal and indeed an aberration and should be corrected immediately.
The National Coordinator of People’s Democratic Party Coalition, Chief Dr Emeka Kalu, had described as worrisome, the total silence of all the Governors from the NDDC States over the plot by Akpabio and the Presidency to sabotage the role of NDDC Agency to the oil producing region by appointing a sole Administrator that will make it expressly possible to embezzle the N453.2B 2020 budget of the Agency without recourse to the suffering masses of the area. (Pointblanknews.com)