Nuhu Ribadu and Steve Oronsaye
There was a mild drama Friday morning when the Nuhu Ribadu-led Special Task Force on Petroleum Revenue submitted its report at the State House, Abuja.
Blames were traded between Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, erstwhile Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and Mr Steve Oronsaye, former Head of Service of the Federation.
Oronsaye, who is also a deputy chairman of the committee raised an observation that the process of compiling the report was faulty and so the report cannot stand.
President Jonathan, who keenly listened to the exchanges, later tried to calm frayed nerves by saying that it is not unusual for committee members to have divergent opinions on the assignment they are handling.
He had encouraging words for both men noting that they are both patriots who are concerned about the future of the nation.
Visibly perturbed and perspiring slightly, Oronsaye told reporters after the submission that his take on the compilation of the report was that the process was skewed. According to him, it was agreed, as a ground rule that once the report is ready notice will be given to members to peruse it before it is finally compiled and submitted.
This, he noted was not done. Instead, he said Ribadu only gave him a short notice. Averring that he had not read the report, he explained that he couldn’t because he was busy chairing his own committee and didn’t have time to do so.
Ribadu, however, dismissed Oronsaye’s viewpoint. He told reporters that there were only two dissenting voices in his committee, alleging that both were compromised with government appointments.
“Mr Oronsaye… I weep for my country. I weep for Nigeria,” Ribadu said as he walked away from reporters after answering scores of questions.
The Minister of Petroleum, Mrs Diezani Allison-Madueke tried to diffuse the tension, saying that although both men disagreed, the job they did was fantastic. Noting that the committee still has two more weeks to smoothen the report, the minister tried to steer a middle course, advising that “a mountain should not be made out of a mole hill.”