Suddenly, no longer St. Godswill Akpabio

By Utibe Nwakanma

President Muhammadu Buhari’s extension of the tenure of the Interim Management Committee,IMC of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC days back must have rattled the recent collective of wailers who wanted  the worst for the Commission insofar as they individually and as a group reap from the fallouts.

In the presidency statement announcing the extension from May  1 through December 31, 2020,President Buhari said it would allow for enough time to cover the period of the forensic audit of the NDDC approved by the Federal Executive Council, FEC.

No doubt, the development has punctured the recent unholy bid by a few but noisy naysayers to rubbish selected members of the IMC to forestall the audit ordered by the President Buhari. And the minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio became the main target of recent adverse media publications.

Thus, there is an obvious diabolical agenda against the man Nigerians have long known as the epitome of uncommon meaningful development in state governance in Nigeria, Godswill Akpabio.

Especially, in the last many weeks beginning with an article published on his back page in The Nation, Sam Omatseye through many others of his ilk viz: Emmanuel Ekong, Ijaw Youths et al have devoted efforts at rubbishing the supervising minister of the Interim Management Committee, IMC of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, Senator Akpabio out of office.

To many discerning Nigerians including diverse stakeholders, the above is being orchestrated from a sitting state governor decidedly bent on destroying Akpabio and his legacy in his native Akwa Ibom state.

But first, hear what naysayers said about the minister:

A certain Emmanuel Ekong in an article published April 24, 2020 in online blog, thetelegramng.com

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thetelegramng.com and titled AKPABIO AND THE BRIBERY SCANDAL ON PAYMENTS AT NDDC wrote that President Buhari’s  “administration which parrots its primary achievement as the fight against corruption must wake up and live to its billing if global institutions of higher learning must cease from using us as country case-study of why nations fail. We must collectively or individually begin to call out high ranking officials of this government who have contributed in making us wear this badge of ignominy.”

But he sooner exposed his intention and target.

Again, hear him: “recently, there has been a barrage of publications detailing the sleaze going on at the all-important Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) where Senator Godswill Obot Akpabio is the supervising Minister.”

Ekong, like his cohorts in their unholy conspiracy against Akpabio choose to be blinded to the massive turnaround the former governor gave Akwa Ibom state when he was in office there as governor. Infrastructures that make the state one unique place to be today we’re his handiwork.

From theTropicana Entertainment Complex through the state-of-the-art stadium, Uyo to the specialist hospital and the first e-library remain landmark infrastructures the Akpabio legacy boasts of.

What about the several modern intrastate roads which connect major  towns in the state? Today, Ikot Ekpene easily connects Uyo, Abak, Itam and Eket among others giving the people needed relief while commuting across the state.

In those years, Akpabio was hailed as the best to happen to the state. The uncommon development of the state tempted many to hail him as St. Akpabio, the governor with uncommon knack for infrastructural development. That Akwa Ibom state became a major Nigerian tourists’ destination was not by happenstance.

Certainly, Akpabio possesses the zeal, zest and commitment to any project he sets out to do. He did it in Akwa Ibom state and was applauded by all. And in prosecuting his development agenda wherever and whenever duty calls, he never and will not brood incompetence and fraud. The foregoing may have instigated the bad blood from his haters as they prefer cutting corners to the detriment of the people for whose benefits positive developments are intended.

Which is why in his current beat at the Niger Delta Affairs ministry which gives him the impetus to superintendent over the NDDC, many are uncomfortable. For a man as courageous as he is, Akpabio has decidedly chosen to unearth the cogs that have stalled the vision of the founding fathers of the Commission viz speedy development of the Niger Delta region. To state the least, many Akpabio haters today from his native state to two others in the region would prefer that the budgetary allocations to the NDDC are shared leaving infrastructural development in the state’s of the region to suffer.

To such persons and their proxies who choose to write articles against the minister with pseudonyms, Akpabio must have way for them to continue their business-as-usual deals.

Pretentiously, Ekong wrote: “I cannot fathom how Senator Akpabio became an invaluable asset to the APC federal government.” When a man is blinded by his questionable ambition he hardly fathoms anything progressive. That must be the lot of people like the writer.

Even as the writer admits that Akpabio, whatever you say of him, is smart, he went off mark in castigating  the person and character of the minister on the issue the quest for forensic audit of NDDC. He didn’t mince similar insults on the members of the Interim Management Committee of the Commission.

From the Ag Executive Director of Projects through the Ag Executive Director of Finance to the Ag MD, whom he described as “men, assembled solely by Akpabio.”

Such assertion leaves one wondering if the presidency no longer knows what it wants and how to get it for NDDC. It smacks of ignorance or morbid desperation to give dogs bad names to hang them. Such is the stuff haters of progress for the Niger Delta region are made of.

To them, Akpabio the Saint of yesterday has become the opposite today. But who really cares about such arrant farrago of nonsensical effusion emitted by a band of desperate long-throated political jobbers? Nobody really.

. Nwakanma, a public policy analyst wrote from Port Harcourt, Rivers State.