DANIEL ABIA, P/Harcourt
Niger Delta ex-militant “Generals” and some members of the Civil Society Organisations have passed a vote of confidence in the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Obong Umana Okon Umana, for re-setting the template for the development of the region.
Both groups expressed appreciation to the Minister for finding time to visit the region and interface with staff of the Niger Delta Development Commission, where he promised that things would be done in the Commission differently.
Addressing journalists in Port Harcourt, Rivers State capital, weekend after their joint meeting, the National Secretary of First Phase Ex-Agitators, Comrade Nature Dumale Kieghe, said the vote of confidence in the Minister was in appreciation of the three major road projects he had approved to be constructed across the Niger Delta by the NDDC under his supervision.
Kieghe explained that for the Minister to personally travel down to the NDDC headquarters in Port Harcourt and engage staff on their welfare and other key issues for the first time, would go a long way to boost their morale and would lead to optimal productivity.
The ex-militant leader also commended the Niger Delta Minister for promising that a white paper on the forensic audit report would be published and anybody or company found culpable of short-changing the Commission would be brought to book.
He said, “We appreciate the Minister of the Niger Delta Affairs, Obong Umana Okon Umana for the youth empowerment Programmes he has started in the region. He has boosted the confidence of the Niger Delta people again by looking into those issues which have been drawbacks to the effectiveness of the NDDC.
“The Minister has also promised that the white paper on the forensic audit would soon be out and that so many people and companies have been blacklisted. We cannot wait for that report to be made public. We are giving him our total support.
“It is on record that we in the Niger Delta have not been able to manage our institutions very well for the development of the region. We believe that a leader like Umana Okon Umana would lead us well as we begin a transition to a new government in the next seven months.”
Comrade Kieghe, who is also the Chairman, Strategic Communications Committee of Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP), said “the three major roads of over N400billion that have been programmed for execution, would turn the fortunes of the Niger Delta region around for good.
“The fact that either Julius Berger or Setraco have been listed as companies that would handle the projects gladdens our heart because the Minister is looking for quality and not to appease any politician. We all know that Umana was behind the designs of all the road projects in Akwa Ibom State when he served as Secretary to the State Government under former governor Godswill Akpabio.
“We are very sure that he will correct the unfortunate narratives in the Niger Delta region within the short period he will serve as a Minister. We believe that he would march his words with action.”