Curiously, the All Progressives Congress [APC] doesn’t seem worried about the image of the duo of Governor Bello Matawalle of Zamfara and Senator Peter Nwaoboshi, both of whom just joined the country’s ruling party from the main opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party [PDP]. Matawalle currently superintend over the farming state of Zamfara while Nwaoboshi represents Delta North District in the Senate. He is the Chairman of the Senate Committee on the Niger Delta and Niger Delta Development Commission [NDDC].
It is a measure of the party’s estimation of his value that the duo were presented to the President and the Party’s National Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee [CECPC] at the State House, Abuja. The duo were also warmly welcomed by party members, with a statement credited to have emanated from the presidential spokesperson, Garba Shehu in which the statement was claimed to have read: “You are welcome to the progressives family,” and credited to the President.
Let me clear the air that I am not in anyway averred to the porting of these men from their former party and now to the ruling party. The real issue for me here is the bad image that this move portends for the ruling party, particularly one that is perceived from the prism of: adopting sinners irrespective of the weight of their atrocities. Once they have resolved to port to the ruling party, then their baggage of atrocities are forgiven them. Time and space will not permit me to begin to make a listing of such incorrigible offenders. But they abound in their tons of tens and counting.
Governor Matawalle for a refresher swore with everything including invoking death on himself and his children if he ever decide to leave the opposition party in 2019. That was just less than two years ago. He has proved unworthy of such honour.
Nwaoboshi in the same ilk was the Senator at the centre of a scandal last year when his name was variously mentioned in connection with alleged corruption involving the NDDC in that popular sitcom of the now #Offyourmic in which Akpabio was spilling incorrigible beans during the Senate Committee Public Hearing. The agency’s spokesperson, Charles Odili, had said, in a statement, that Nwaoboshi used 11 companies as fronts to get for himself a N3.6 billion contact in September 2016. He said the contract was the “biggest single case of looting of the Commission’s resources.”
It was an apparent reaction to Nwaoboshi’s claim that Minister of Niger Delta Affairs Godswill Akpabio had inserted projects worth N500 million in the 2017 budget of the NDDC for his benefit while he was the Senate minority leader. Akpabio, a former governor of Akwa lbom state, represented Akwa lbom North-West in the eight Senate. He was a PDP member and a member of the Senate Committee on NDDC at the time. Interestingly, the two men are now in the ruling party.
The same brazen admission of Akpabio in spite of his baggage of malfeasance and which forced him to the ruling party is the same line that Nwaoboshi is toeing in cahooot. The party has also embraced Nwaoboshi after his exit from the PDP, not mindful of the corruption allegation against him by the NDDC spokesman. This puts a lot of question on the integrity of the PMB administration and the APC.
Yes, the disturbing allegations of corruption against the two men will always remain within the realm of allegations until same has been established and proven beyond reasonable doubts by a competent court of panel of enquiry. The NDDC is in the middle of a controversial forensic audit of its operations from 2001 to 2019 ordered by the Muhammadu Buhari administration. Perhaps, this might be adduced as an alibi. The public awaits the result of the audit and hoping the findings will be made public at the end of the session.
It is thought provoking that the ruling party which describes itself as progressive, continues to embrace characters that give it a bad image which for me is the depletion of its overall equity.
And if a statement credited to the President to shock Nigerians and like he has successfully done on the Mazi Nnamdi Kanu recent rearrest is his long term plan, then we can begin to look forward to a tinge of hope of the cleansing of the system beyond the perceived ‘ethnic’ cleansing that his administration is presently perceived as.
Time will tell.