Israel Eshanekpe Akpodoro is an ex-militant leader who is a core supporter of the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.
In this exclusive interview with 247ureports.com, he explains the gains of the All Progressives Congress (APC) government. He accused the Project Director of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Engr. Sam Adjogbe, of funding the opposition using his office, and other issues of corruption, anti-party.
What is your take on the popularity of the APC administration in the country?
I tell you most sincerely that the popularity of this government grows by the seconds because of its achievements which are too many to mention in a swoop. Take for instance, the war against corruption in all facets of our national life which had hitherto impeded the progress of the country. In the area of infrastructure, we can see how well this administration is doing.
The second Niger Bridge, Lagos -Ibadan express way, Kaduna -Mokwa-Ilorin road, our airports and the developmental tsunamis that would soon sweep through our power system amongst many others are pointers to the reasons for the popularity and goodwill enjoyed by this APC government.
Furthermore, that career looters in Nigeria are on the edge is another proof to the wise decision made by Nigerians in 2015 in their massive support which culminated into the mandate freely given to the arrowhead of a new Nigeria – President Muhammadu Buhari.
We can see reprobates, never-do – wells, reactionary elements kicking every day in their perpetually failed attempts at undermining this administration in their evil wishes for the President and by extension the people of Nigeria.
In the Niger Delta region that is your base, how do you assess the president’s acceptability?
Just like I earlier stated, we are no fools in the Delta region, we have conscience and our region is preponderated by men and women of good conscience. The president is highly esteemed in the region by the youth population, men and women of goodwill. Therefore, I rate the president high in popularity in the region but save for some questionable characters who found their ways through the backdoor into this government using their commercial political godfathers.
One of them and a major culprit in this bunch is the Project Director, NDDC, Engr. Sam Adjogbe. He was and remains a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) faithful who was brought in by a politician legendary in electoral failure with the propensity to shortchange the system.
Can you throw more light into his activities for the benefit of the people of the region?
Why not? Adjogbe contested the primaries for the seat of Ughelli North constituency I, for the Delta State House of Assembly on the platform of the PDP. An urchin who is notable for hopping around political personalities in the state currently lurking around Adjogbe without an official portfolio as lately discovered, is Jaro Egbo, who contested the primaries for constituency II, in same LGA on the platform of PDP but they both failed in their bids for the Delta house of assembly. To the best of my knowledge, none of the duo publicly renounced their membership of PDP before the appointment of Adjogbe as the Executive Director of Project (EDP) for NDDC and consequently Egbo’s fraternity.
Are you saying that being a member of PDP reduces his ability to perform?
For being a member of the party rejected by the people of Nigeria for award winning corruption, Adjogbe is not fit for that office because he’s in the commission to spread the gospel of corruption. He is lacking in character to effectively manage that office. Adjogbe lacks the needed regional interest to effect changes as project director. He is petty and engages in underhand dealings.
What are the allegedly underhand dealings you think the EDP is engaged in?
They are many. For instance, when the commission mandated me to anchor a meeting between the commission and the ex-militants and youth coalition, he (Adjogbe) told me to use the meeting to cause chaos in the region so that the commission could dole out emergency funds. I refused and told him in my language that the MD trusted me so much and because of that I was going to successfully deliver on the mandate for president Buhari-APC led federal government.
My position didn’t go down well with him and I went ahead and succeeded in steering the ship of the largest congregation of the region’s youth to safety to the anger of Adjogbe. I deduced from him that the he commits fraud when there’s crisis in the region under emergency budget.
Secondly, when advertisement was placed early this year by the commission for expression of interest for jobs (contracts) most conditions stated by Adjogbe were alien to contractors which drew flaks from the masses of the region but for my intervention, only for Adjogbe to take advantage of that to hoard tender certificate whereas people bided and paid all charges in full. Till date, tenders are yet to be issued for want of stealing whereas he gives contracts to his cronies on daily basis.
But, we saw the advertisement placed early this year in the national dailies calling for contractors to bid and it was adjudged credible, how come same process is being faulted?
People bided for the contracts, paid all the dues but till date the tenders are being hoarded and jobs awarded to Adjogbe’s cronies. For instance, an APC Chairman in one of the LGAs died over this issue in Port Harcourt where he went to collect his tender. He was arrogantly ignored by the EDP at whose instance he went to the commission. If Adjogbe was good as he makes futile efforts to claim, why was he suspended by the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs over issues bothering on corruption?
How do you mean?
Yes, he was suspended over sharp practices, high handedness, arrogance, gross abuse of office and anti-party activities but his suspension after the efforts of inglorious godfather whom the people of Delta State consistently reject at the polls through some political jobbers in the corridor of power waded in and had the suspension commuted to query. That alone is a testimony to all I’ve stated.
You mentioned an aide of EDP in allegation of forgery and defamation of character, can you throw more light on this?
Jaro Egbo, made a publication against me alleging that security agencies declared me wanted for sundry crimes. Incidentally, I am yet to know when Egbo became the Spokesperson to an office called Security Agencies yet he claimed to be a lawyer. That dimwit does not know in his craze for sycophancy that he has infringed on my human rights but I’ve told my lawyers to file a case against him. Egbo is a lowlife errand boy who hops from one personality in the state to the other and a purveyor through which monies are stolen from the establishment. Officially, Egbo is not an appointee of the commission but a tout who hovers around the EDP in joint efforts to perpetrate sleaze. We shall meet in court soon.
Why are you in the centre of the storm now having been hands-in-glove with management of the commission?
The reason is that I refuse to do the bidding of the EDP; I declined doing bad jobs for him particularly to cause trouble using the youths of the region for him to harp on to syphon money in the name of emergency votes. I told him to be loyal to the party – APC that appointed him into office and ensure he shores up the support of our party but being a loyal member of the PDP my advice drew his anger and the desperation to demonize me in the region.
He wanted me to precipitate crisis for him in the region against the administration I toiled to bring on board while he and his cohorts fought hard for the PDP. The irony is that while we worked for APC, this opportunist who is reaping from where he didn’t sow was in the PDP where he contested the primaries of his party but today, the tail now wags the dog.