- Asks S-South Governors To Back Board’s Inauguration
Ijaw youths, under the aegis of the Ijaw Youths Council (IYC) worldwide, have berated the minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio over the delay in inaugurating the board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
According to the group, the extension of the tenure of the sole administrator of the NDDC, Efiong Akwa is illegitimate and unacceptable.
Recall that in December 2020, President Muhammadu Buhari had appointed Akwa as the interim Sole Administrator at the commission, following the sack of Prof. Daniel Pondei as the Head of Interim Management Committee of NDDC.
The NDDC board was initially dissolved in 2019 over allegations of funds’ mismanagement at the commission.
Following the dissolution, Buhari had written to the Senate, seeking confirmation for his nominees as members of the governing board of the NDDC.
Chief Bernard Okumagba, who was nominated as Managing Director of the Commission has since been screened by the Senate and confirmed for the position alongside other 14 members of the governing board. Also, Dr. Pius Odubu was confirmed as Chairman of the board by the Senate.
However, rather than inaugurate the substantive board as confirmed by the Senate, an interim Sole Administrator was appointed to manage the commission with many allegedly fingering Akpabio in the appointment by the President.
Reacting to the development, the IYC described the tenure extension as illegal, alleging that Akpabio has turned the forensic audit to an unending exercise to frustrate the inauguration of a substantive board of the commission as stipulated by the NDDC Act
According to IYC spokesman, Ebilade Ekerefe, the group no longer trust the intention of Akpabio on the forensic audit, alleging that it is a “mere ploy to pocket the NDDC under the whims and caprices of the Minister.”
The group further called on the south-south governors to immediately demand the inauguration of the NDDC board by sending a strong delegation to Buhari.
This was contained in a statement released in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State.
The statement reads, “We no longer have confidence in the forensic audit because it is a mere ploy to pocket the NDDC under the whims and caprices of the minister in perpetuity.
“We note that the governors of the South South, under the chairmanship of Ifeanyi Okowa, should send a strong delegation to President Buhari and restate the position of the region over our displeasure and warn of the impending danger of not appointing a substantive board at a time other parts of the country are facing serious security crisis.
“From the beginning, we knew of the antics of the minister which was why we embarked on a peaceful protest last December on the East-West Road to express our concerns, but fifth columnist because of selfish interest within the region emboldened the minister to legitimise the illegitimate and today, they are all disappointed and now ready to join us in solidarity to resume the mother of all protest to the NDDC headquarters and other strategic Federal Government agencies in the Niger Delta to demand a governing board.”