By Maxim Ugwu
This may well be a majorÂ twist in the tale of the controversy generated by the interruption of the bidding process for the 2.3GHz spectrum. Recent claims by the Chairman of A3&O Ltd, Mr. Wale Adeyinka that his company did not write the purported petition upon which the Information and Communications Minister, Professor Dora Akunyili, based his castigation of the Nigerian Communications Commission over the bidding for the 2.3GHz national frequency spectrum may raise more questions about how government business is conducted in Nigeria.
Mr. Adeyinkaâ€™s call for a thorough investigation over the matter as reported in some newspapers needs to be taken up swiftly by government to douse the tension generated by controversies over the bidding process for the 2.3GHz spectrum by the Nigerian Communications Commission. It is pertinent to note that the alleged forged documents formed the basis for the decision of the Minister, and in turn formed the basis for reporting the matter to President Umar Musa Yarâ€™Adua, and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, leading to the invitation of Engr. Ndukwe by the EFCC.
Galaxy Wireless Ltd, one of the companies, which actually bided and lost in the process, was all along speculated to have been one of the alleged petitioners over theÂ spectrum bid process. About a fortnight ago, the company came with a press statement by its public relations department, washing its hands off any petition against the licensing round.
The claim the Chairman of A3&O Ltd, Mr. Adeyinka that the letter to the Minister must have been forged as he is not privy to it, makes the investigation necessary and urgent as the name of the company is the only name left in the Ministry as having protested the bidding round. The details reported in the media are very weighty to be ignored.
According to the report which quoted Mr. Adeyinka, the RC Number 600743 in the purported petition belongs to a construction company, Lapeng Integrated Nigeria Ltd, and not a telecom firm, and the address which it quoted as its base at Nurses House, 43, AfriBank Street , Victoria Island , was visited and there was no sign of the company.
Meanwhile the investigations at the Corporate Affairs Commission showed that Mr. Adeyinkaâ€™s A3&O Ltd, is RC RC45355, and operates from a known verifiable address at 14 Kayode Abraham, Street, VI, Lagos .
There was another case of the type of document upon which the petition was written as it was reported to be every inch a computer generated letterhead without the actual logo of A3&O Ltd. Instead of the usual practice of using the letter head on the first page of the petition document, the letterhead was repeated in all the three pages of the document, creating doubts about how the Minister and her aides will not be able to discover such an alleged poor job of a forgery.
There is no doubt that Mr. Adeyinka was shocked last weekend when he came across a newspaper report that mentioned the name of his company as the petitioner since the controversy raged. His reaction in demanding for an inquiry into the matter in order to unravel how the name of his company is being fraudulently used to cause confusion in the industry where he plies his trade is expected.Â If such investigation proves that the letter to Professor Akunyili was forged, then the Minister must answer several questions to the Nigerian public and the government as this would not present a very important ministry of government responsible for information management in good light.
Was the purported petition a premeditated special arrangement to enable the Minister implement an already outlined action? Why will the Minister fail to investigate the authenticity of such a weighty petition with which she in turn petitioned the Presidency requesting the cancellation of a long drawn licensing process? Was the contrived petition premeditated to cause the controversy in the industry that has been the most stable and most performing sector of the economy?
Did the actors consider the international reputation that the Nigerian telecom sector and the dramatis personae of the industry gained for the nation? Was the cancellation of the frequency sale which fetched more than N4 Billion to the Federal Government coffers designed to ruin the expected fortunes derivable from future sales? Why was a company which did not bid, and was not interested in bidding, be used to implement the nefarious action of those who forged the petition. Shouldnâ€™t the Minister have exercised further caution in taking the action that she took?
It is evident that if these answers are provided through a thorough investigation, the true enemies of this nation would emerge as the nation is fast turning into a hall of petition writers, encouraged by government officials who may wish to capitalize on such faceless petition writers to achieve their nefarious motives.Maximus Ugwu is a staff of a member company of the Association of Licensed Telecom Companies of Nigeria, ALTON.