It is said that the greatest enemy of a lier is a man with a good and unforgettable memomry.
Such is the case of the accusers of the honourable minister of Niger Delta Goodswill Akpabio.
First and foremost lets get back to history lane to understand a little about the Niger Delta Development Commission(NDDC)
The Commission was one of several interventionist agencies established by Obasanjo governments in 2000 with the mission of facilitating the rapid, even and sustainable development of the Niger Delta into a region that is economically prosperous, socially stable, ecologically regenerative and politically peaceful.
The NDDC was mandated to carry out the following functions by the Act setting it up. They are: “Formulation of policies and guidelines for the development of the Niger Delta area; conception, planning and implementation, in accordance with set rules and regulations, of projects and programmes for sustainable development of the Niger Delta area in the field of transportation including roads, jetties and waterways, health, employment, industrialisation, agriculture and fisheries, housing and urban development, water supply, electricity and telecommunications; surveying the Niger Delta in order to ascertain measures necessary to promote its physical and socio-economic development and preparing master plans and schemes designed to promote the physical development of the Niger Delta region and the estimation of the member states of the commission.”
Others are: “Implementation of all the measures approved for the development of the Niger Delta region by the Federal Government and the states of the commission; identify factors inhibiting the development of the Niger Delta region and assist the member states in the formulation and implementation of policies to ensure sound and efficient management of the resources of the Niger Delta region and assessing and reporting on any project being funded or carried out in the region by oil and gas companies and any other company, including non-governmental organisations, as well as ensuring that funds released for such projects are properly utilised.”
Not only that, the NDDC is saddled with the responsibility of “tackling ecological and environmental problems that arise from the exploration of oil mineral in the Niger Delta region and advising the Federal Government and the member states on the prevention and control of oil spillages, gas flaring and environmental pollution; liaising with the various oil mineral and gas prospecting and producing companies on all matters of pollution, prevention and control as well as executing such other works and performing such other functions, which in the option of the commission are required for the sustainable development of the Niger Delta region and its people.
Nineteen years on, what is the scorecard of the NDDC? Abysmal! The commission is almost always in the news for the wrong reasons. The agency is simply a cesspool of corruption. At least, that is the impression many Niger Deltans and indeed Nigerians have about the commission. Below are some of the corruption allegations against the agency. In August 2008, President Umaru Yar’Adua ordered an investigation into allegations that the then Chairman of the agency, Ambassador Sam Edem, spent N1bn to secure the services of a sorcerer to employ spiritual means to enable him get contracts from the Akwa Ibom State Government. In August 2015, the then Auditor General of the Federation, Samuel Ukura, said that at least N183bn that was meant for the development of the Niger Delta was diverted by those put in charge of the commission.
In July 2017, a former Managing Director, Nsima Ekere, announced the revocation of over 600 contracts worth N200bn. According to him, the rationale behind the action was because the management discovered that some of the contracts were either not properly awarded or some of them were awarded but the contractors had not yet gone to site. Hear him, “Some of the contracts were awarded as late as 2002 with some of the contractors collecting advance payments from the commission with zero work done at the sites. So, we terminated these contracts worth about N200bn, which is the first phase of our restructuring the commission’s balance sheet,” he said.
Just in October, the Senate said it was probing the award of the Water Hyacinth Emergency and Desilting Contracts awarded by the agency from 2017 to 2019. The Chairman, Senate Committee on Public Accounts, Senator Matthew Urhoghide, made this known when the Director, Special Duties of the NDDC, Nosakhare Agbongiasede, appeared before the committee in Abuja. Urhoghide said investigation became imperative because the initial cost of the contract at N2.5bn was allegedly increased to N65bn.
On Saturday, October 26, 2019 on the Nigerian Television Authority, the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio, said corruption and political interference had disrupted the original purpose of setting up the commission. He said the NDDC was noted for substandard and abandoned projects. He said inter alia, “We currently have about 12,000 abandoned projects across the nine states of the Niger Delta. If those things were completed, you can imagine that the area would have been turned into an Eldorado… I think people were treating the place as an ATM, where you just walk in there to go and pluck money and go away. I don’t think they were looking at it as an interventionist agency.”
When Godswill Akpabio was announced as minister of Niger Delta affairs ofcourse that sent a strong message to the enemies of the region and Nigeria as a whole, people who had turn the commission into ATM as stated clearly by the Minister knew that it was never going to be business as usual.
When you fight corruption get ready for corruption must fight back. Here are a few questions to ask those who are all of a sudden protesting against the Minister alleging him to be corrupt.
1) Who was the head of the commission when all the above listed corruption cases in NDDC were recorded? The answer is simple ,Certainly not Godswill Akpabio.
2) Where were the powerful over night PETITION writers for 20years of ransom by the cabal of OMPADIC ?
3) Where were the paid youths and untrained detective appearing on stage with strange facts and figures of anticipated fraud by the new messiah dislodged from the pinnacle of powers?
4) Where were the present gang up LEADERS when the only manifestos on ground in NDDC was how to sponsor VIOLENCE to supress any voice rising against UNDEVELOPMENT of NIGER DELTA?
5) Where were they when billions of Naira was paid as RENTS into private hands at the expense of nine Niger Delta states?
6) If AKPABIO WAS corrupt why did he not colaborate with those he met there?
When you want to lie please it shouldnt be around one who have good memory and one who dosent forget history easily.
Akpabio is the Man who is changing the story of NDDC for good.
A shocking revelation had it that a Director in the Finance Department owns a Plastic Factory from where school desks and chairs are produced and he can afford to make approvals to the tune of N40bn in a year? Worse is that these plastic school desks and chairs are not durable and can only last a few months.
But the man in question who was affected by the recent transfers of Senior members of Staff is allegedly one of the sponsors of the series of petitions against the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs.
He and others involved in milking the commission have a huge financial war chest to prosecute their media attacks against whoever stands in their way, or tries to step on their toes, coupled with the backing of the powerful party cabal who allegedly paid their way to control the Committees in charge of the NDDC and the Niger Delta at the National Assembly.
This has lead recently to the Global Peace Movement international UK to show interest in coming to Nigeria after the pandemic for tour and assessment of NIGER DELTA.
It is worthy to note that Senator Akpabio had always handled any assignment given to him with courage and forthrightness and this was why his stride in Akwa Ibom State was described as uncommon transformation as he completely transformed the landscape of the state with landmarks projects like the Godswill Akpabio Stadium also known as the Nest of Champions and several roads network in the state capital and across the entire state when he was the governor of the state.
I want to conclude that the agenda to render useless, the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, MNDA as well as the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC both engines with which the federal government drives its developmental agenda can no longer be overemphasized.
The orchestrated plan by agents within the region working in connivance with other external conspirators, Senator Godswill Akpabio is leaving no stone unturned, his desire to get these development engines grinding again until the Niger Delta region experiences uncommon development commensurate with her resources.
*Dr. Mike Uyi is President General Global Peace International Movement (UK) based in London.
Unseating Bayelsa Governor, Deputy, and Timi Alaibe’s Love for Legal Suicide – By William Jumbo
Former boss of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) Chief Timi Alaibe’s bid to use the Supreme Court to unseat the Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri and his Deputy, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo is a legal exercise certain to end in futility, if his trajectory in the courts is anything to go by.
Recall that Timi Alaibe’s latest legal Oddessy began when he dragged the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Senator Douye Diri, then PDP Governorship candidate, to the Federal High Court, Yenagoa, challenging
the legality of the party’s primary election held on 3rd September, 2019. His disagreement was with the conduct of the adhoc delegates’ election which produced the three-man delegates. He also challenged the inclusion of
the then newly elected councilors, chairmen and their deputies as delegates.
However, after a Federal High
Court sitting in Port Harcourt and a Bayelsa State High Court declined jurisdiction and dashed his hopes of stopping the primary election, left in the cold like a rain-beaten chicken, Alaibe decided to participate in the election.
Sadly, after spending millions of dollars to buy up the delegates, Alaibe still lost.
After his monumental loss at the PDP primaries, Alaibe, quite unfortunately, joined forces with the All Progressives Congress (APC) a party he dumped less than a year earlier, to rejoin PDP for the sake of winning her governorship ticket.
Interestingly, after teaming up with APC, Alaibe yet again returned to the Federal High Court, urging the court to nullify the same PDP primary election he lost.
Shortly after filing the suit in September 2019, he abandoned same and began working with opposition elements in the PDP to rig the governorship election in favour of APC. Chief Timi Alaibe was among the many PDP chieftains, including some former deputy governors of the state, who on February 13, 2020, stormed Yenegoa as “Special Guests of Honour” for the swearing-in of the APC-led government of David Lyon slated for the following day.
Their joy and celebration was, however, cut short when the Almighty God
the ruler of the universe, performed the greatest miracle of the century by using the Supreme Court to give victory to the PDP.
Overwhelmed by shame and ignominy, and with tail between legs, Alaibe in March resuscitated the same case he abandoned at the Federal High Court, Owerri. He prayed the court to nullify the PDP primary election to pave way for conduct of a fresh election or that any of the several mushroom parties they’re sponsoring in the Bayelsa governorship election tribunal in Abuja, be declared winner.
Expectedly, Alaibe yet again lost at the Federal High Court, Owerri. Typically dissatisfied with Justice Ringim’s judgment, he rushed to the Owerri Division of the Court
At the Court of Appeal, Owerri, Alaibe engaged in a legal sommersault. Instead of demanding the nullification of the PDP primary he lost, he, curiously, prayed the court to order fresh primary elections in PDP! This clearly exposed his desperation, mala-fide and treachery.
Already in celebration mood with sponsor – Petro-dollar Junior Minister of Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, three ex-Bayelsa Deputy Governors, and certain
prominent traditional rulers from Ogbia – the Nigeria judiciary again rose to the occasion. Not only did the court dismiss his appeal, but unanimously upheld the cross appeal of the three
Respondents which included the PDP, Governor Douye Diri and representatives of the adhoc
Acting like a dog destined for perdition that will not heed the hunter’s whistle, Alaibe has lodged an appeal at the Supreme
Court. Obnoxiously, maliciously and deceitfully, he’s done another Volte-face, seeking entirely fresh reliefs different from the ones he sought at the High Court and the Appeal Court.
Out of malice, he’s praying the Supreme Court to declare him winner of the
PDP primaries and consequently, declare him winner of the Bayelsa State Governorship election
held on November 16, 2019. This is clearly a case of committing legal suicide- and by Ijaw
customs and tradition, whoever commits such sacrilege deserves to be buried in the evil forest. In fact, with this kind of legal rigmarole and inconsistency, even without any defence by the Respondents, Timi Alaibe is most likely going to lose his appeal at the Supreme Court for the following reasons:
First, it is a settled principle of law that parties must be consistent with their claims and case from
the beginning at the trial court to the end at the Supreme Court. Once a party becomes a legal
chameleon – like Chief Timi Alaibe – and allows its case change colour at every stage, the case automatically suffers a dismissal. In the case of ALHAJI IBRAHIM SHEKA Vs ALHAJI
UMARU BASHARI (2003) where his Lordship Justice Abiru JCA, stated that a party is therefore not
permitted to do a total volte-face at the Appeal Court from his case at the trial court. He must be
consistent from the trial court to the last stage of the appeal. This settled principle of the law was
upheld in the case of OZOMGBACHI Vs AMADI ORS. where the erudite Supreme Court Justice
Ejembi Eko JSC. held that the law is settled that a party must be consistent in the case he presents
at the trial court and in the appellate court – his appeal being a continuation on the case at the trial
court. He is not permitted to chop and change his case from one stage to another.
Equally, parties are bound by their pleadings and cannot in the middle of a trial or any stage of the
case change such pleadings. The changes in Timi Alaibe’s reliefs at the Court of Appeal and now,
the Supreme Court which automatically has led to a change of his pleadings, has again dealt a
deadly blow to his case. In fact, the little legal breath left in his case – if there was any – has been
snuffed out by this action of inconsistent reliefs and pleadings.
In the case of LADO & ANOTHER Vs
RT. HON. AMINU BELLO MASARI & 2 ORS (2019), it was held that it is an elementary principle
of law that parties are bound by their pleadings and evidence on matters not pleaded goes to no
issue. Equally see the case of OZOMGBACHI Vs AMADI & ORS where JUSTICE MARY PETER ODILI
JSC. held that it needs be reiterated that parties are bound by their pleadings and no party is allowed
to make a different case from what is set out from inception. So, for the appellants to seek to
depart from their pleadings and embark on a brand new case
is an act in futility. The obvious reason is that a case maintains its original nature from
commencement and the colour cannot change because it is on appeal since an Appeal or appeals are
merely a continuum of that matter that entered for the first time at the court of first instance. Based on the
above settled principles of law, even the most unenlightened Nigerian knows and will agree that
Chief Timi Alaibe’s case at the Supreme court is not only a exercise in futility but a nullity. As the
Nigerian Supreme Court is too erudite and incorruptible to be induced with pecuniary gains to jettison
this long-standing settled principle of Law set by her and has been maintained over the years.
Moreover, it is also a settled principle of equity that a man who has acquiesced can never be heard. Timi Alaibe who complained at the trial court that the ad-hoc delegates who participated in the primary election were illegal, and yet participated, has waived his right to complain about the purported illegality in the exercise.
This principle of law was well established in the case of Sylva VS Dickson, where the Supreme Court stated that a party who has participated in a particular act with the ultimate aim of benefiting cannot come back to complain if the anticipated benefits no longer accrued to him.
Also, the law does not permit blowing hot and cold at the same time. Alaibe cannot complain at the trial court that the primary election was illegal, complain at the Court of Appeal that the exercise be declared a nullity, only to come to the Supreme Court to ask to be declared the winner of the same primary election and be declared governor. That does not only amount to blowing hot and cold, but also chopping and changing his case which has no legal stand as the foundation is inconsistent.
Moreover, with the fourth alteration of the 1999 Constitution as amended, a party who did not
participate in all the stages of an election cannot be awarded an electoral victory by the court. See
the case of MODIBO Vs INEC (2019),where it was held that a party must participate in all the stages
of the election for him to be awarded an electoral victory in the court. In Alaibe’s case, though, he participated in the primaries and lost woefully. However, he did not participate in the general
election as a PDP candidate and therefore cannot be granted the reliefs being sought in that he
be declared winner of the Bayelsa State Governorship election and returned as
Therefore, all those gathering money for Alaibe and buying cartons of champagne and charging their
glasses to clink with the wild goose chase hope that the Supreme Court will decide in his favour should realize that Alaibe and his legal team have committed legal suicide. As far
as this case and the law is concerned, it is close to impossibility for the Timi Alaibe case to succeed.
In fact, with the current erudite status of the Supreme Court Justices, they are most likely going to dismiss the appeal without even considering
any defence by the Respondents.
A word, they say, is enough for the wise.
The sponsors of Chief Timi Alaibe should realize that wishes are not horses. Otherwise, beggars would ride.
Jumbo writes from Warri
RUGA: Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje kept to his Promise – By Dr. Mike Uyi
The neglection of Grazing Reserves Law of 1965 by the succeeding governments after the First Republic in Nigeria has led to farmers and herders clashes/conflicts due to struggle over limited scarce resources such as lands, water, crops and grasses.
The clashes/conflicts made the incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari to approve the introduction of Ruga settlements plan in Nigeria.
Governor Abudullahi Umar Ganduje in his wisdom said the country cannot afford to continue to witness senseless killings in the name of Fulani herdsmen and farmers clash over lack of grazing land while we have a place like the Falgore Game Reserve underutilised.
Governor Ganduje made it a priority to ensure that Fulani, notwithstanding their origin, do not face stigmatisation or outright rejection on the basis of their nomadic exploits.
The Kano State government under the able leadership of Governor Abdullahi Ganduje took the lead knowing fully that Ruga settlements plan will increase income generation to people of the area, Kano state and the country at large.
Governor Ganduje has worked tirelessly to make Kano State more attractive to investors and launch initiatives to improve the economy, infrastructure, and unemployment in the state and in his generosity invited herdsmen from across Nigeria to come to Kano and enjoy the benefits of the state government’s new Ruga Settlements.
In September 2019, when other northern govs adopted the National Livestock Transformation Plan (NLTP), Ganduje said apart from tackling insecurity, the RUGA settlement project will change the socio-economic status of Fulani herdsmen and open new revenue outflow to government.
Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, in July 2019 constituted a 16-man committee for the establishment of Rural Grazing Area (RUGA) to look at the possibility of creating Milk Market for the teeming wives of Fulani herders who face difficulties selling their milk, because of lack of storage facilities, adding that already some private investors have indicated interest to partner with the state government on the establishment of the market.
Gov. Abdullahi Ganduje deserves an applause for keeping his promises in inaugurating 200 Ruga Housing Settlements at Dansoshiya village in Kiru Local Government Area of the state for Fulani cattle herdsmen.
The establishment of RUGA by Ganduje is a clear indication that the governor feels Nigeria at heart. This singular act sends hope to the Fulani communities across Nigeria and Africa in general that Kano meant very well for Fulani herdsmen.
In his efforts to keep this dream alive, Ganduje’s administration has sponsored 74 Fulani children to Turkey to study cow milk processing.
In keeping to his promise, Dr. Abdullahi Ganduje on June 6, 2020 launched the first Ruga settlement situated at the Dansoshiya forest in Kiru Local Government Area of the state.
The settlement will be a total of 200 units of houses, schools, hospital, police station, earth dam for cattle rearing among others.
He explained that “We engage in this project for three fundamental reasons, first and foremost is to avoid clashes between farmers and herders, secondly to avoid movement of herders which is the source of conflict and to avoid cattle rustling.”
He added that “It is absolutely necessary to improve and modernize the breeding system for Fulani cattle. As it is clear that a gallon of milk is more expensive than one gallon of petrol, it is, therefore, necessary for us to utilize this great opportunity.
He noted that “the second RUGA project will be in Falgore forest where we have recently inaugurated military training ground.”
He called on the federal government to put a halt to the movement of herdsmen from other African countries to the country.
We at the Global Peace Movement International (GPMI) UK commend Dr. Abdullahi Ganduje for taking the leading position in setting the pace for developing all communities in the state and in the country. Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje is indeed an exemplary leader, who is focused and determined to bring development to his people irrespective of social status.
GPMI congratulates Ganduje for the way and manner he took up this matter by way of changing the approach of the cattle rearing industry, from socio-cultural to socio-economic, with vast economic opportunities.
His approach is highly commendable and exemplary, which calls for replication by other states, particularly Northern states of Nigeria.
With this magnanimous gesture of Governor Ganduje, we at the GPMI are calling on the Federal Government of Nigeria and other stakeholders to as a matter of urgency encourage all Fulani’s in Nigeria to move to Kano to benefit from this historic project by Governor Abudullahi Umar Ganduje.
Dr. Uyi is the President General Global Peace Movement International World Wide Based In United Kingdom, London.
Bayelsa Dep Gov NYSC Certificate Saga, Sylva And DSS Credibility Crisis – By William Jumbo
Since its creation 34 years ago, on 5th June 1986, the credibility of the Department of State Security (DSS) has never been called to question as it currently is, especially concerning the unfolding drama and Shakespearen movie on the alleged forgery of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) exemption certificate of the Bayelsa State deputy Governor, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo.
It is common knowledge that the DSS was the last man standing in terms of credibility among the investigative security agencies. However, recent reports of alleged financial inducement of some of her officials by PetrolDollar-Minister of State for Petroleum, Chief Timipre Sylva, to manipulate the investigation report on the Deputy Governor, leaves much to be desired.
In fact, this singular act has dealt a huge blow on the credibility of the DSS that citizens no longer trust the agency.
Although the testimony of the DSS Director of Legal Services in court was understandably manipulated by the All Progressives Congress (APC) propaganda machine (The Nation) the fact remains that the DSS was everything except being professional in their role in the whole drama. The reason, facts revealed, is that the DSS that appeared and claimed to have conducted an investigation on the alleged certificate forgery, never invited Deputy Governor Ewhrudjakpo for questioning.
Aside this amounting to shaving a man’s head in his absence, the DSS testimony was a clear abdication of professional responsibility, a breach of the right to fair hearing, and giving a dog a bad mame in order to hang it.
Even as ineffective as the Nigerian Police is perceived by many, there’s no way they would have conducted and concluded an investigation without inviting the suspect to hear his own side as demanded by the rule of natural justice.
Equally, it has been revealed that the DSS investigation is not only illegal but a clear case of straying from their investigative role assigned by the law setting it up. The law setting up the DSS does not cloak it with the powers to investigate forgery.
Similarly, the Area Court, on whose order the DSS claimed to have conducted the investigation, lacks the locus to order such investigation because it doesn’t have criminal jurisdiction. Besides, its proceedings with regards the alleged certificate forgery has been declared a nullity by the FCT High Court. In fact, contempt of court proceedings has already been filed against the said Area Court Judge before he issued the order.
Furthermore, investigations revealed that the NYSC had in a letter dated 10th March, 2020 with reference number NYSC/DHQ/CCD/GEN/01/Vol. 11/316, and said to have been received by the DSS on the 18th March, 2020, clearly exonerated the Bayelsa State Deputy Governor of any forgery.
Unfortunately, some compromised officials of the DSS are attempting to ruin the otherwise sterling reputation of the investigation agency by writing another report three months after the NYSC’s and after being served with a subpoena by the tribunal in May.
But for compromise, mischief, and mala fide, how can an agency as respected as the DSS write a report dated 27th May, 2020- just two days after receiving a subpoena to testify in this case? It should be brought to the attention of President Muhammadu Buhari and Chief Timipre Sylva that their inordinate ambition, avarice and greed to control one of the oil-rich states of the Niger Delta – at all cost – shouldn’t make them destroy sacred and reputable state institutions like the DSS.
Every discerning mind, and even the least enlightened, would agree that the purported report of the DSS after two days of being served a subpoena to testify is nothing but a smokescreen to deceive the general public and the tribunal. It is rather disheartening that some officials of the DSS would so easily collect money and do sordid things, not minding the backlash on the reputation of their agency.
They should realize that politics will cone and go. What should be constant is an overriding need to preserve our sacred national institutions.
That said, the appearance of the Deputy Governor, Sen. Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, whom his accusers never allowed to testify, has further tarnished the reputation of the DSS and shredded the credibility of their report.
There’s no man who, fully aware that he’s guilty of an offence he’s being accused of, would so brazenly appear and display in open court the same documents he’s alleged to have forged.
It is unheard of in the history of democracy in Africa, and Nigeria in particular, that a serving government officer who enjoys immunity will waive such immunity and present himself for cross examination in an open court. The practice has been to hide behind such immunity and even go to court to get judgement to protect such officials from appearing.
This again reinforces the claim that Vijah Opuama, and his sponsors, particularly Chief Timi Alaibe and the two former Deputy Governors of Bayelsa State had no case at the tribunal. All along, they had been revelling in media trial and defaming Deputy Governor Ewhrudjakpo.
The humility and obedience to court order displayed by Deputy Governor Ewhrudjakpo, defying the odds and the elements, and the risks associated with COVID-19, to travel by road from Yenagoa to Abuja for a tribunal session should not only serve as a lesson to other leaders, but also clear all doubt and show the world that, indeed, he has no skeleton in his cupboard.
Finally, we hope the tribunal and the entire Nigerian judiciary have properly discerned and learned great lessons from this saga where a man’s accuser absconded at sighting him. It is a settled principle of law that once an accuser cannot accuse and confront the accused in his presence, then the accuser has no accusation and there’s no accusation.
A clear conscience, they say, fears no accusation.
Jumbo writes from Warri
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