Why Acting NDDC MD, Pondei, Collapsed During Reps Probe
The Peoples Democratic Party has said that the acting Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission, Prof Kemebradikumo Pondei, fainted before a House of Representatives investigative panel as a result of the “weight and shame of overwhelming collective guilt brought on him by the exposure of massive corruption” in the commission.
Pondei had earlier today collapsed while being grilled by lawmakers investigating mismanagement of funds up to the tune of N81.5 bn in the NDDC.
In a statement titled ‘Collapse of NDDC MD Underlines Weight of Corruption in APC’ and signed by PDP National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, the party asked President Muhammadu Buhari, to suspend the supervising minister of the commission, Godswill Akpabio.
The statement partly read, “The Peoples Democratic Party says the dramatic collapse of while being grilled by the House of Representatives, further underscores the weight of corruption that has bedeviled the All Progressives Congress administration.
“The PDP said it was obvious that the embattled NDDC acting Managing Director collapsed under the weight and shame of overwhelming collective guilt brought on him by the exposure of massive corruption being perpetrated by NDDC officials and APC leaders.
“It is rather curious that Prof. Pondei slumped after lawmakers demanded that he offers explanations on the contentious payment of billions of naira, alleged unbudgeted sums, to certain companies by the NDDC.
“This is particularly as Nigerians recall that the embattled NDDC boss had, last week, stalled proceedings by challenging the legislators and walking out on the House of Representatives investigative panel.
“Our party restates our submission to President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately suspend the Minister of Niger Delta Affair, Akpabio, as well as disband the NDDC Interim Management Committee, if he indeed desires the coordinated probe he ordered to yield any credible results.”
This is not the first time an appearance by the NDDC MD before the lawmakers will come to a halt under dramatic circumstances.
The NDDC boss had walked out on the lawmakers on Thursday, last week, after accusing the Chairman of the Committee, Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, of being an interested party in the investigation.
He said as long as Tunji-Ojo presided over the investigation, the Commission would not get a fair hearing. He then refused to make presentations before the committee and walked out.
Angered by the move, the lawmakers resolved to issue a warrant of arrest compelling Professor Pondei to appear before the lawmakers and make a proper submission.
The lawmakers, however, decided to summon him again, and at the start of his appearance, he apologised for his action.
Although he said he “regretted” the incident which happened last week, before he was questioned by the lawmakers, the Chairman of the Committee recused himself from the session, leaving Hon. Thomas Ereyi-Tobi, the Deputy Chairman of the Committee to preside.