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The Litigious Fight Against Corruption In Delta State: Comrade Kpokpogri, ICPC And The Rest Of Us

By Ephraim Okwuosa
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Fighting corruption in a nation like Nigeria is certainly a complex phenomenon but it remains a very necessary ingredient that would help strengthen democracy because a victory over financial sleaze in governance will ensure that the collective wealth of citizens are properly utilized for common good.

However, when emotions and falsehoods are introduced to misguide interpretations of reality in the fight against corruption, such depletes any good motive and may even create an atmosphere in which could foster great doubts over a society’s morale in curbing corruption.

Specifically, at the state government level, the on going call on the

Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission

(ICPC) by an implied NGO, ‘Delta State Youth for Good Governance

(YFGG)’ to institute a probe on the activities of Dr. Emmanuel

Uduaghan, the immediate past governor of Delta State is exceedingly

commendable. Nevertheless, on accusations against Dr. Uduaghan by

YFGG, even without a valid formal guilty verdict, the truth is that if

really there is anyone or group to blame, it should realistically be

the Delta State political class and the good men that kept mute over

Dr. Uduaghan’s assumed huge financial misdeeds as presented by his

petitioners.
Be that as it may, it is very important to state that the emergence of

opportunistic groups like the so called ’Delta State Youth for Good

Governance’ and its sister organisation, ’Anti Corruption and

Integrity Forum’ as led by one Comrade Prince Kpokpogri serving as

mouth piece of Nigerian anti corruption crusaders is not only

ludicrous, dangerous but most unfortunate. This is especially so

because the known behaviour and antecedent of these two groups and

their leadership approach regarding corruption fight are largely

inconsistent with the duties associated with focused NGOs for the very

simple reason that both organisations have verifiable records that

portray them as poisoned by politics and money.
For avoidance of doubt, this writer does not in any way oppose the

views of those that believe that most state governors in Nigeria

engage in many untoward financial malpractices especially given the

broad public's conception that state governors under the cover of the

iniquitous immunity clause run their administrations like Emperors

with colossus status that allows them to single handedly conduct the

financial affairs of their state with self interest and greed as top

priority. Besides these conjectures of financial misdemeanor which are

best left for proper constituted authorities to determine because of

the necessity of upholding the presumption of innocence accorded

accused persons, however, it will be an inexcusable betrayal for any

fair minded person to dismiss any constructive petition that suggests

the possibility of Dr. Uduaghan’s membership of this fold of alleged

treasury looters without rationalization.
Whilst it should be the desire of every well meaning Deltan to support

a fair probe of the Dr. Uduaghan’s administration for the specific

purpose of returning any alleged looted fund to the Delta State

treasury which will be very useful to the new administration of the

Governor. Ifeanyi Okowa especially in this period of dwindling

financial resources to state governments, it is however very

unfortunate to observe that the past activities and conduct of the

two organisations under reference that have dragged Dr Uduaghan to the

ICPC which are led by one man have not only demonstrated phony

objectivity in the fight against fraud in Delta State but are well

noted to be working in conflict with set standards on anti corruption.

This is why their connection in championing corruption fight in Delta

state should be viewed with great suspicion. A clear instance that

these purported NGOs on anti corruption have been operating under

false pretexts is visible from the remarks and unprofessional actions

of the leader of both groups, Comrade Prince Kpokpogri. For emphasis,

in two recent similar public petitions by these NGOs to the Chairman

of the ICPC, vide a letter dated 20th November 2015, captioned “RE:

Demand for immediate probe of outgoing (sic) Governor of Delta State,

Dr. Emmanuel Eweta Uduaghan and some Delta State Government officials

including Mr. Oritsuwa Kpogho, Mr. Kenneth Okpara, Mr. Daniel Mayuku,

Mr. C.C. Agbele and Mr. Peter Onwunsanya over the embezzlement of

N225,616,712 (sic) billion funds meant for Delta State Oil Producing

Areas Development Commission (DESOPADEC)’, the author of the

petitions, Comrade Prince Kpokpogri drew up a long list of yet to be

substantiated accusations on how Dr. Uduaghan allegedly ran Delta

state as a Banana Republic and looted its treasury. On the surface,

these may be considered as very good information for any financial

crime fighting agency but in reality, it may just be a pretense of

corruption fight with a bag full of fictitious claims because on the

converse, in an earlier edition of Pointer newspapers captioned

“We Need to Celebrate Uduaghan’s Performance –Prince Kpokpogri

http://thepointernewsonline.com/?p=22005”, the same Comrade Kpokpogri

tumbled over the edge when he stated that “the governor’s performance

should be celebrated rather than castigating him”. He even commented

that “every Deltan should celebrate and pray for him for a job well

done because the state capital is now destination for foreign

investors and tourists due to the peaceful atmosphere coupled with

hard work and foresight of Governor Uduaghan”. Quite ridiculous, you

may say! One question, with what and when has Asaba become global

attraction if not for Kpokpogri’s greed and blindness to truth.

To any objective analyst, the above comments by Comrade Kpokpogri are

obvious paradoxes that will lead anyone to be skeptical of his

involvement in corruption fight. His volte-face in asking for probe of

the same government he praised to high heaven is a sham and dismal

example of his self styled anti corruption engagement especially given

that the accused Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan has even disclosed that this

entire Kpokpogri’s epistle is borne out of a failed blackmail attempt

to extort two billion naira from him. Without necessarily holding

brief for Dr. Uduaghan or exonerating him from any of the allegations,

the fact is that Kpokpogri’s activities in Delta state exemplifies the

perilous existence of fake anti corruption crusaders in our midst and

it is sadly obvious that anyone that follows Kpokpogri must be sure

that he is taking the wrong turn as it is very certain that his

intentions on anti corruption are only of selfish ends.

In fact, a man with an antecedent that connotes the use of deception

for personal gains should have no justification finger pointing.

Simply put, what this really does show is that at times, life presents

itself as a phenomenal process of long list of strange events that are

most times too difficult to comprehend. Otherwise, how can someone

even imagine that the basic pretence all along by Kpokpogri in

cunningly orchestrating media outings that project his anti corruption

endeavours as an activity that would benefit the society was just a

farce to make money for himself. Furthermore, the issue of blackmail

and extortion associated with Kpokpogri as alleged by Dr. Uduaghan

raises significant issues of hypocrisy and deceit that should be of

substantial public interest and important for the attention of the

ICPC, otherwise, ignoring a thorough investigation on the activities

of Kpokpogri by the Nigerian Police will be a slap in the face that

may even portray the nation’s anti corruption war in a bad light.

Again, the aim of this write up is not to stop any investigation on

the allegations raised against Dr. Uduaghan but to halt Kpokpogri from

thrusting the ICPC’s credibility into his pit of delusion for self

enrichment. Already, across the internet and Delta political spectrum,

Kpokpogri has shown that he is not only cunning but highly

misrepresenting information with a dubious agenda. This is why the

crime fighting agencies which he claims to forge close ties with some

of its officials should not be blind to the many obvious inadequacies

and inconsistencies of petitions written by Kpokpogri and his cohorts.

Another faulty end of Kpokpogri’s misdeeds is on the long list of

officials of the Delta state government he claimed are guilty even

before any trial. Nevertheless, this is not surprising because

manufacturing accusations that are false or fabricating reports to

undermine most government officials is where Kpokpogri’s seeming

expertise in anti corruption lies. That he exploits the weakness and

timidity of innocent people that are baselessly afraid to face the

anti corruption agencies by demanding money from them is well known

because it is on record that where such persons reach a compromise

with him, he goes to the crime fighting agencies to withdraw his

petitions as reciprocal concessions. Perhaps, this may be the reason

why some media outfits have reported that Kpokpogri does not respond

to requests for clarifications or calls to authenticate his

accusations which points to the possibility that he may not be relying

on any credible evidence to back his petitions but on his ignorant

belief and opinion that once you are a government official, you must

be corrupt and a potential client for his antics.
In any case, such a false belief by Kpokpogri is clear indication of

his lack of knowledge, dishonesty, and all-round limited information

despite his self acclaimed status as an anti corruption crusader. In

fact, Kpokpogri’s attempt to criminalize everyone in Delta State

government by picking anyone that holds public office as corrupt

including some persons that were recently praised for their prudence

and sacrifice to protect the state treasury in the twilight of Dr.

Uduaghan’s administration shows his undesirable drift from corruption

battle. On this, it is common knowledge that many people have quietly

denounced the approach of Kpokpogri but out fear have remained

taciturn. However, the mounting complex web of allegations on

extortion against Kpokpogri has raised the need to put a fresh focus

on the way he castigates and accuses people with no shred of credible

evidence until they meet his terms or buy his friendship. This is

absurd and has the potential to wreck the nation’s corruption fight,

if left unaddressed because a man that portrays an anti corruption

image, yet embarks on a drive of intimidation against those that do

not conform to his terms is an implicit threat to the genuine efforts

of organisations like the ICPC.
Once again, I affirm that the need to probe the Uduaghan’s

administration is laudable and meets our collective quest to address

corruption, but with Kpokpogri, it will only produce some absurd

results except he is made to authenticate some of his accusations with

credible evidence before leading the ICPC into a wild goose chase. For

now, the narration of Kpokpogri as a corruption fighter is a

depressing one because his grotesque failures in the past to extort

money from people are well documented and these have taken corruption

fight in Delta state to a frightening landscape that lack the creed of

objectivity. Simply put, Kpokpogri is not far from the description of

a man that is desperate to blunt the truth in an attempt to achieve

his commercial interest. When EFCC does not listen to him, he turns to

the ICPC; a case in point is this petition under reference that was

initially directed to the EFCC but presumably discarded.

There are plenty unanswered but important questions surrounding

Kpokpogri’s involvement in corruption battle and these issues are no

doubt complicated and beyond the scope of this write up. Nevertheless,

one thing that is beyond all doubts is that Kpokpogri is a charlatan

aided and abetted by his two NGOs for extortion and his activities

reveals the complex twists in the fight against corruption in Nigeria.

This whole indescribably appalling episode is one major example that

the operations of the ICPC if not well managed can be abused with

impunity by people with ulterior motives.
The unabated irrelevance of Comrade Kpokpogri’s fight against

corruption in Delta state needs to be addressed as part of sustaining

President Buhari’s credibility in the fight against corruption.

Otherwise, the likes of Kpokpogri may in their warped logic and

conduct simply assume they are the smartest men around. Indeed, we

need not bow to his extortion tricks, otherwise very soon, we all

shall become his victims or be accused as co travelers in a fake

corruption fight. To state that Comrade Kpokpogri is dangerous for a

society in search of truth and redemption is an obvious reality and

the anti-graft agencies under President Buhari’s administration must

watch his activities more closely.
Dr. Ephraim Okwuosa
Co-ordinator, Anti Corruption Advocates, Area 11, Garki, Abuja

Disclaimer: "The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Ephraim Okwuosa and do not necessarily reflect those of The Nigerian Voice. The Nigerian Voice will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article."