A group, Watchdog for Progressive Ijaw has urged all stakeholders in Ijaw ethnic nationality opposed to the appointment of Mr. Effiong Akwa as the Interim Administrator of the Niger Delta Development Commission to sheathe their swords.
Coordinator, WPI, Lambart Olambo, said the Ijaw nation was not opposed to the appointment of Akwa having understood the reasons behind the decision of President Muhammadu Buhari to opt for a sole administration for the NDDC instead of constituting a new board for the commission.
Olambo in a statement he signed in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, on Thursday, said President Buhari desired to give the NDDC a new beginning, which would take effect after the ongoing forensic audit of the commission.
He said, “Contrary to claims in some quarters, Akwa was not appointed by the Minister of the Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio. He was directly given the job by President Muhammadu Buhari.
“Our inquiries revealed that Buhari believes in cleaning up the NDDC and giving it a fresh and new beginning. It was for this reason the President initiated the forensic audit of the commission.
“The President initially appointed an Interim Management Committee (IMC), which depended on the Ministry of Niger Delta to access the funds reserved for NDDC. Following allegations of graft and other issues of mismanagement against the IMC, the President dissolved it.
“But since the objectives of appointing the IMC could not be realised, the President opted for the appointment of a sole administrator to conclude the forensic audit. After the conclusion of the audit, the President will immediately revert to the traditional method of administering the NDDC by constituting a new board”
Olambo said unlike the disbanded IMC, the sole administrator had the right to operate the budget of the NDDC, to source and deploy funds for the operations of the commission without the approval of the ministry.
He said, “The Ijaw cannot be seen as fighting against Akwa because he hails from a non-Ijaw speaking part of Akwa Ibom. As Ijaw, we believe in building bridges not only across the Niger Delta region but also across the country.
“We treat others in the Niger Delta region as one because all we seek is the peace of the region and collective actions to actualise our pursuit for equity, fairness and justice anchored on resource control, self-determinism and restructuring.
“We are calling on all Ijaw stakeholders to support Akwa. We cannot afford to create an impression that our region is not united or that we only support an appointment of an Ijaw person to positions designed for the Niger Delta region”.
Olambo commended Buhari for Akwa’s appointment and urged the new administrator to positively change the image of the commission and reposition it to achieve its mandates in the region.