By: Ahmed Oluwasanjo
The mismanagement of the sum of N40billion between January to March this year by top officials of Niger Delta Development Commission, (NDDC), is the issue.
The marital antecedent of ex-Managing Director of NDDC, Dr. Joi Nunieh, shameless imported into the debate by Godswill Akpabio should not deflect our attention.
Likewise, the echo of the deafening slap that left Akpabio groping at his Apo guest house in the daylight should not shift our attention from the real issue – massive corruption in Niger Delta Development Commission.
I agree the Akpabio Vs Nunieh media faceoff is a good comic relief in a world overshadowed by the darkness of COVID-19 pandemic and it negative disruption.
But while we are having a good laugh, let’s return to the scene of the crime. The real issue is: how was N40billion squandered in three months? Where are the projects executed with the funds? How has the N40billion impacted the lives of ordinary people in the region?
These are questions begging for answers and that Nunieh married 36 husbands in the past or Akpabio attempted to bed Nunieh in the oza room does not in any way answer them.
N40billion Naria is no small money. With it, 40,000 start ups can be supported with N1million each or 80 thousand start ups with 500,000 each.
If a Uber worthy car cost N2million, with N40billion, 20,000 young men and women who are not crazy about working in oil companies can be employed.
In a region where majority of petty traders have less than N50,000 as capital, one could imagine the impact of injecting N40billion into strategic youth and women empowerment scheme.
Forget the lies that Niger Delta States are rich. They are oil rich states, where the majority swim in abounding poverty and sqaulor. Life is not in any way better for majority in the Niger Delta region than it is for people in other parts of the country.
It is true that Nigeria has not been fair to Niger Delta, the country’s fat cash cow and even a 50 percent derivation/federal allocation cannot make up for the huge environmental damage caused by oil exploration in the region.
But the story of how the region has remained underdeveloped and poor cannot be complete without mentioning how a selected few sons and daughters of Niger Delta have continued to enrich themselves with funds meant for the masses in the region. In fact, it is no exaggeration to say they are the real devourers and cankaworm destroying the region from within.
This is the reason militants drive the swankiest cars, live in the biggest mansions and are in control of resources in the region, while hard working, honest and law abiding citizens are living in misery simply because they cannot carry guns.
Of course, hypocrites in Niger Delta will never tell the truth of the of marginalisation they suffer in the hands of their corrupt, selfish and predatory political leaders and so called freedom fighters – militants.
But as long as they look way from grand corruption perpetrated by their kinsmen like the one in NDDC to blame “awusa” for their underdevelopment, the region will remain in penury.
Not even resource control will positively impact the lives of people in the region. Resource control can only make the greedy politicians and their foot soldiers, militants, richer except the people wake up.
The mismanagement of N40billion might be a tip of an iceberg when a thorough forensic audit of NDDC is done.
Ahmed Oluwasanjo writes from We No Go Gree Ministry…
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