From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The chairman of the board of Projects Development Institute, Enugu, Daniel Onjeh, has called for the resignation of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, for lacking what he called “the moral rectitude to continue” in office.
Addressing a press conference on Monday, tagged “My position on the National Assembly’s powerplay/PRODA 2020 procurement exercise and matters arising” the former president of National Students of Nigerian Students (NANS), also asked that the House Committee on Public Procurement investigating the PRODA 2020 Procurement Exercise be disbanded immediately.
Onjeh, it will be recalled had in a February 11, 2021 open letter to Gbajabiamila accused some unnamed members of the National Assembly of allegedly working against national development.
He accused the federal lawmakers of mounting pressure on the management of the institute to pay their preferred contractors, who are demanding payment for services they did not render to the agency.
At the Sunday press briefing, Onjeh alleged that the members of the House of Representatives have been making him the target of their “vitriolic media attacks.”
The PRODA accused the legislators of doing so for their personal pecuniary interests and the interests of their contractors.
He described the allegation of forgery and impersonation of the chairman of PRODA levelled against him was infantile, petty and ludicrous.
He explained that what the lawmakers termed forgery and impersonation was what he wrote in the letterhead, in response to an invitation they had earlier extended to him, which they addressed to him in his capacity as the chairman of the Governing Board of PRODA.
Onjeh, further faulted the House of Representatives’ claim of his alleged interference with the 2020 procurement process of the institute.
He alleged that Gbajabiamila, who had earlier directed the institute’s acting DG to go and pay some contractors alleged handling “some spurious contracts,” had at a particular time, called him (Onjeh) to ask why he was stopping acting DG from paying the “contractors of honourable members.”
“The Speaker’s vested interest became pronounced when he commissioned (sic) the institute’s Wi-Fi project in selected tertiary institutions in Lagos State for over N100m each, when in actual sense, the contractor handling the project had no Bills of Quantities and Scope of Work; and with the illegal award letter signed by Mr. Nathan Abia-Bassey,” he claimed.
He also disclosed that Henry Nwawuba, representing Mbaitoli/Ikeduru Federal Constituency of Imo State, who is also the Deputy Chairman of the House Committee on Niger Delta Affairs, has vested interest in a PRODA contractor, as evident in his letter titled, “Letter of Job Completion,” which he wrote to the Director General of PRODA on September 18, 2020.
He added, “Consequently, I am calling for the immediate resignation of the Speaker. He should honourably resign his exalted position, as he lacks the moral rectitude to continue to preside over the House.
“Furthermore, Henry Nwawuba who moved the motion, aside being biased, should apologise to Nigerians for attempting to deceive them, and should also be reprimanded to refrain from further attempts at misleading Nigerians and the hallowed Green Chamber of the National Assembly.
“Also, the House Committee on Public Procurement investigating the PRODA 2020 Procurement Exercise must be disbanded immediately, as it is evidently programmed for an expected end, hence lacks legitimacy.
“It is instructive for me to add that I led the board that recommended the suspension of the former DG of PRODA on corruption related issues, amongst others.
“To the best of my knowledge, there is no shred of allegation against me anywhere. However, since I was the one who spearheaded the preliminary investigation of the suspended DG of PRODA, my being asked to step-aside as Board Chairman, is a normal administrative procedure authorities take sometimes so that the investigation of the accused can go on unfettered.”