How Chibuzor Ugwoha's Coup against P.Z. Aginighan Backfired
For about one month now, there has been a rumble in the Niger Delta Development Commission about controversial issues of unethical transactions. The Managing Director of the NDDC, Mr. Chibuzor Ugwoha, in what most people could describe as a coup, went to the press with propaganda about the money legitimately transferred by the Executive Director, Finance and Administration, Pastor P.Z Aginighan. From investigations, it does appear that the coup hatched by the MD against Pastor Aginighan (aka) Odudu has backfired.
The story line is that in 2009 when P.Z was Ag. Managing Director, the sum of ($40m), N5.6Billion, was transferred from an offshore account of the Niger Delta Development Commission, (NDDC) in the United Kingdom, to two local branches in Nigeria. This according to investigations was done to make money available to pay local contractors since there was no Board in place at that time. It was further revealed that even though he ordered the transfer of the money on August 5, the funds became active in the Commissions account On August 10, 2009, when a new Board had been inaugurated, with Chibuzor Ugwoha as the MD/CEO. So while it is true that Aginighan ordered the transfer of the funds, it was Mr. Ugwoha that managed the funds. The story was first published by an online medium Pointblanknews.com, which later investigated and made a retraction of the false version of the story.
Presented in the preceding paragraphs are the reactions and comments expressed by the people based on their perceptions of the story and their rating of the personalities after the story was published in Pointblanknews.com.
A commentator said thus 'My advice to Pastor P. Z. Aginghan is to beware of CHIBUZOR UGWOHA; he is wicked and wants to destroy your political light since he sees he is finished politically in Nigeria….the man Ugwoha messed up at Totalfina Elf. Governor Amaechi Please distance yourself from Ugwoha. Another person comments 'Why should a man in his right senses accuse Power Aginighan as the brain behind the mischief making the rounds in the public domain? Was he the one who sponsored the faceless Society for Good Governance to accuse himself of illegally withdrawing the sum of $40m from NDDC account and stealing same as reported in the earlier Pointblanknews story? No man who leaves in a glass house should throw stones. A commentator by name Ibiwari said enough is enough, let ICPC and EFCC investigate all these allegations.
One comment attacked the ethnic sentiments whipped up by Mr. Ugwoha and his supporters. The comment reads 'It has become obvious that the MD had no defense for his misdeeds when he was invited to EFCC and ICPC so like many other Nigerian cases he wanted someone to sink with him. That informed his sponsor with the commission's resources that baseless and ethnocentric article. I know if PZ ever transferred the fund as claimed by Ogwuoha and his co-travelers it must have been through wise and genuine counseling.
Another impression the faceless authors of that smear article portrayed was that PZ called a Board meetings without the consent of Mr Oguoha. Yet he left that issue only to discuss it on pages of Newspapers. That shows the hollowness of this man. Ijaw agenda in deed. From the inception of NDDC that inherited the structures of OMPADEC, how many other ethnic groups in Rivers State has benefited from appointments than his Ogba clan. Indeed after late Dr Ndegwe an Ogoni the next representative in OMPADEC was Ahiakwo and Ogbaman. The first Representative of Rivers in NDDC was Shadrack Akaloku (Ogba). The nex Executive Director Projects; Ojums B is also an Ogba. Therefore if anybody should cry foul of ethnic bias in appointments into this organization it certainly shouldn't be an Ogbaman. Chibuzor should note that his article is exposing other ethnic nationalities in Rivers State to protest this lopsidedness'
One Akpogena lamented 'Mr.Ugowha let d truth be. Too many allegations against ur leadership. Come out clean rather than drag Pastor P. Z. Aginighan into d mess take appropriate step to explanation ur actions. Don'tt let the work of NDDC suffer setback in ur tenure. Get God involved' One Benjamin avers 'Why does Mr. Chibuzor Ugwoha think that blackmailing President Goodluck Jonathan by orchestrating an Ijaw agenda as being responsible for his travails in NDDC will free him from facing the wrath of the law. It was not President Jonathan who appointed the so called Ijaw people into NDDC Board…. he is only ignorantly expressing his avid hatred for the Ijaws whose sweat and sacrifices culminated in the establishment of the NDDC in the first place…'
One Eghosa pointedly said 'Mr.Chibuzor Ugwoha has always been like that. His antecedent from TOTAL ELP is there. What he did with one Mr. Okon, an estate valuer who was assigned by TOTAL ELP to evaluate the Obite Gas Plant (OGP) Upgrade site at Obite Town in Ogba Egbema Ndoni Local Government of Rivers State. Where he connived with Mr. Okon to cheat the landlords and deny them their birth rights during the evaluation process of the land. At the end, the landlords got peanuts while Ugwoha and Mr. Okon smiled to the banks. The EFCC and ICPC should prosecute him and jail him for life' One Peter expressed a rather optimistic view about P.Z. He said 'Those of us who vouched the integrity of Pastor Aginighan have been vindicated. Darkness can never comprehend light. This is indeed a return to sender. We hope Chibuzor Ugwoha should have the courage to apologize to Pastor Aginighan'.
A concerned Niger Deltan said 'What an irony of life? I commend Pointblank for this further dig; it shows you are following up the monumental scandal in the NDDC. Can you now imagine the temptation PZ surmounted as an Acting MD with full powers as there was no Board in place? In any case, let the ICPC do its job without fear or favour so that Nigerians can know who the real thief is. Mr. Ugwoha should apologize to Pastor P.A Aginighan, the NDDC Board and resign. His sack is imminent. What manner of a liar is Ugwoha?
While the comments and reactions of people cannot be exhausted, some salient issues were revealed. The petition was orchestrated by Mr. Chibuzor Ugwoha, but the views expressed showed that the coup actually back-fired against the petitioner. Most of the reactions passed a vote of confidence on The Executive Director, Finance & Administration, Pastor P.Z.Aginighan for two reasons. First, throughout his working life, he has never been associated with corrupt enrichment. Secondly, he had acted as Managing Director of NDDC without a Board, yet there were no such allegations against him. He had also worked as EDF & A with the previous Board without wrangling. Pointblanknews.com's retraction of the earlier story is sufficient vindication for Aginighan.
On the contrary, investigations revealed that Mr. Ugwoha actually has a dirty past at Totalfina Elf. Besides, if the MD of NDDC has had quarreled with virtually everybody: the Board, and other executive Directors, it means something is fundamentally wrong with him. It is against this background that people may want to investigate further allegations such as the violation of the Public procurement Act and the NDDC Act. Mr. Ugwoha's attempt to wipe up ethnic sentiments also backfired because it has been proved by one commentator that the Ogba people have benefitted more than others in Rivers State. Already, the facts are before the anti-graft agencies that the MD has a disharmonious working relationship with the Board and this stifled policy implementation. He rules the Commission as a sole administrator, some State Reps disclosed. The MD is also alleged to have been awarding contracts to his fronts and cronies without recourse to the Board, and he has virtually killed the efficacy of the Board.
In the greater interest of the development of the Region, the Niger Delta people now look up to President Goodluck Jonathan to take a swift decision to cleanse the Commission before it is privatized by the powers that be. Mr. President has to act fast in tandem with his promise to re-invigorate development in the Region. Niger Deltans trust the judgment of Mr. President because he had once worked in the defunct OMPADEC. For most eager watchers, they take solace in the fact that 'A stitch in time will save the NDDC'.
Dr. Theophilus Ebikebina, wrote in from Lagos