Following the controversial contract award rocking the Ministry of Petroleum, the opposition Action Democratic Party (ADP) has asked President Muhammadu Buhari, to immediately resign as the presiding Minister in the Ministry.
The Party also demanded immediate suspension of the NNPC GMD, Maikanti Baru, to enable investigations commence, while the Minister of state for Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, “should come out bold and honourably resign his appointment.”
Recall that in a recent memo to the President, Kachikwu had alleged that the Group Managing Director of the NNPC awarded contracts amounting to $26 billion (Twenty Six Billion USD) without following due process, adding that the contract awards violated the provisions of the Public Procurement Act 2007.
While addressing a press conference on Sunday in Abuja, ADP National Secretary Dr. James Okoroma, who spoke on behalf of the party, described the scandal as a “national embarrassment in the oil sector, which remains the mainstay of our economy and the cauldron of corruption in Nigeria.”
According to Okoroma, government’s loud silence on these allegations is most worrisome. “It is also a clear indication that the APC-led Federal Government is paying lip service to its much-touted war against corruption, which has been largely selective.
“It is worrisome that this monumental fraud could be taking place on his watch (President). It is clear that there is collapse of leadership in the country. If he is incapable of providing leadership in that sector, we demand a change.
“There has been no official response. We expect the presidency to come out with a formal response to these allegations since he is the one presiding over the affairs of the Petroleum ministry, the buck stops at his table. The President should own up and address Nigerians on these monumental allegations of misappropriation of our national patrimony.
“This government has continued to deceive itself with a laughable and dishonest war against corruption when it has refused to clear serious cases of corruption involving its major functionaries.”
ADP believe that the leadership collapse in the country “can either be attributed to President Buhari’s ill-health or his inability to check the excesses of the cabal that is currently running his government. Obviously, this Nation cannot continue in this manner.
“The ADP has already written to the BPE and the NNPC management demanding for all the documents on the controversial contracts. This is in line with the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act. We have no option, but to go to Court if they fail to make the documents available within 14 days as stipulated in the FOI Act.
“The National Assembly should do the needful by engaging the President directly on this matter, since he is the substantive Minister of Petroleum. They should be guided by their oath of office and ensure that all those who are involved are not spared.
“Today in Nigeria, strikes have become common features of our national life as the government appears incapable of providing leadership and meeting up with the aspirations of Nigerians at all levels of governance. All sectors have virtually collapsed. They include: Health, Education, Transportation, Agriculture, Security etc.
“Petroleum is the live-wire of our economy. Infractions, breaches and corrupt practices have become common characteristics of this sector. Nigerians who are holding the short-end of the stick have continued to suffer while the managers of our common patrimony wallow in offensive opulence.”