By Gift Chapi-Odekina and Myke Uzendu
A combination of reality and drama played out on Monday when the acting Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Prof Kenebradikumo Pondei, slumped while fielding questions frim the House of Representatives Committee on NDDC, on his stewardship at the Commission.
Prof. Kenebradikumo had four days, walked out on the comittee, accusing the Chairman of the committee of fraud against the NDDC and insisting he must resign from the committee before he could answer their questions.
That Thursday, July 16, Prof. Kenebradikumo and other members of the Interim Management Committee of NDDC, had while walking out, demanded that the Chairman, Hon. Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, must step down accusing him of being an interested party, and accusing him of allegedly being the chieftain corruption against the commission.
Kenebradikumo had stated last week: “Let me say that we are not comfortable with the Chairman of this committee presiding over a matter which he is an accused party.
“The NDDC has over the time, accused Hon. Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo of different crimes against the NDDC and its people, and he has responded.
“He is an interested party and we do not believe that the NDDC can have justice, because he cannot sit on his own case.
“We have no issues with appearing before the committee because we appeared before the Senate committee.
“And as long as he is the Chairman of this committee, the NDDC will not make any presentations here.”
This promoted the committee to overrule him after he had left the premises, invoking orders of the House and asking the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) to arrest him and any other official of the Commission that refuses to attend to the Committee.
However, before today’s incident, Hon. Tunji-Ojo announced that he was stepping aside from presiding over Monday’s hearing to give room for fair hearing, and to protect his integrity and prove to Nigerians that he was not on any revenge mission.
Shortly after Prof. Kenebradikumo took his turn to respond to some of the questions posed to him, he bent over his neck on the table and apparently fainted.
It took a struggle between him and his aides, who were forcing their fingers into his mouth to ensure he breathed and his biting some of them and grabbing the hand of another, pulling it away from severing off his jaws, before he appeared to get revived.
That was the end of his grilling for the day as Prof. Kenebradikumo was helped to his feet and led away from the Committee Room.