Former Governor of Delta State, Chief James Onanefe Ibori, has denied reports of being a recipient of a multi-million naira contract from the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
While denying the allegations made by the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, Ibori declared that he is not interested to part of the “dancing in the market square” going on in the NDDC.
Akpabio, who alongside the Interim Management Committee of the NDDC is under investigation over alleged misappropriation of funds by the Commission had listed Ibori, Orji Kalu, Emmanuel Uduaghan amongst those who took contracts from the NDDC.
However, Ibori in a signed statement on Monday, denied the allegation, saying he has never received a contract from the interventional agency.
He emphasized that the NDDC was established through the personal sacrifices of his fellow governors and Niger Delta stakeholders.
He lamented that what is happening to the commission was far from the reasons behind the establishment of the agency.
The statement said, “Chief James Onanefe Ibori, on hearing the news of the alleged Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) contract award to him this morning, from the former Governor of Akwa-Ibom state, Senator Godswill Akpabio, as published by Punch newspapers and other online publications, he did not want to join in the “dancing in the market square” going on in the NDDC right now.
“He has decided to make this clarification for the records because friends and associates inundated him with phone calls this morning. So, he is stating categorically that he never solicited for, or was awarded, or indeed executed, any contract with NDDC or any government agency, at any time, for that matter.
“And in all he has been through in and out of public office, he has never been accused of being a government contractor, let alone a failed one hence he did not want to dignify the allegation with a response because it is ridiculous.
“So, Ibori is advising Akpabio, his brother, friend and member of the former Governors Forum, to please calm down and focus on the task at hand.”
“Ibori said that the NDDC we have today is a product of his personal sacrifice as well as those of his Niger Delta colleagues (1999 -2007) who rose to the occasion to override the veto of President Olusegun Obasanjo who refused to assent to the NDDC Bill at the time.
“If not for the exemplary courage some of us exhibited, there would have not been an NDDC to bicker about today.
“Watching the level the NDDC has degenerated to, is a tragedy. We owe it a duty to the people of the Niger Delta to make NDDC work to ameliorate the sufferings of the people of the region and realise the dream for which we fought for it to be set up. So, let everybody involved in the NDDC do their duties to the good people of the region.”
Recall that Ibori’s successor, Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan had also denied receiving contracts from the NDDC earlier in the day, while Senator Orji Uzor Kalu explained that the contracts he influenced were yet to be paid for by the commission.