Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio, is not enjoying the best of times. Having unceremoniously removed acting Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Joi Nunieh, his woes commenced. The victim lashed out, levelling allegations of corruption against him, which he deflected by attacking her virtue. She countered by alleging he was a lecher, who had made inappropriate advances towards her, which she rewarded with a slap. She had, however, put the country on the scent of his blood when she mentioned that he had forced her to award contracts illegally.
Her replacement, Professor Keme Pondei, finding things getting too warm for him during a resultant probe by legislators, outmatched her in thespian performance by promptly fainting, according to cynics. He has bought himself time; something no one is willing to sell to the embattled Mr Akpabio.
The minister is being tossed left, right and centre by both the people and their representatives with ultimata and the courts looming ominously large in his nightmares. He had let himself go while appearing before the House of Reps Committee on Niger Delta by alleging that 60 percent of NDDC contracts were awarded to lawmakers. He said he had the records to prove it. Since then, the cry on every lip and the voice in every mouth has pressured him to publish these names. He has half obliged everyone.
Reluctantly, he addressed a letter to the Clerk of the House of Representatives containingsome names, but mostly attempting to reseal the can of worms he had opened when he was overcome by his passions. The House has rejected the letter and warned him to desist from these diversionary tactics.
Mr Akpabio’s position is not an enviable one, and it is hard to see an imminent end to his woes.He clearly knows things he has deemed impolitic to reveal, and he will drag this drama on for as long as possible. It remains to be seen whether he will eventually cave in and make more damning revelations or if he will quietly submit to the hangman’s noose.