…warns Akpabio over playing politics with N’Delta devt
Odahiekwu Ogunde, Yenagoa
The Ijaw Youth Council Worldwide (IYC) has kicked against the decision of President Muhammadu Buhari to appoint a sole administrator to oversee the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
Though the IYC said Buhari had the prerogative to hire and fire, the decision to sack Prof. Kemebradikumo Pondei-led Interim Management Committee without setting up a susbstantive management board was defective and provocative.
The IYC, in a statement on Monday by its National Spokesman, Ebilade Ekerefe, said the decision to appoint Mr Effiong Akwa as the interim administrator of the NDDC without the appointment of Executive Director, Projects and Executive Director of Finance and administration in the commission, was a deliberate act of encouraging the re-looting of billions of naira recovered by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) from contractors.
Ekerefe noted that the decision of the President in appointing a sole administrator of the NDDC, had confirmed again that he was not up-to-date with the happenings in the Niger Delta region.
He said Buhari had not hearkened to the calls by the Southsouth stakeholders and governors in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, on the need for the appointment of a substantive management board for the NDDC which would accelerate developments in the region.
According to him, under the present administration of President Buhari, it has become a pattern that all apointments that is supposed to benefit the people of the region directly have been temporary, instead of substantive, whereas, in the North where the President comes from, the situation is not the same.
He said the attitude of undermining the region with contempt by the Federal Government was gradually signalling signs of disdain and obscurities.
He said if deliberate steps were not taken to renew the confidence and trust between the region and the government, the situation would spiral out of control and all the efforts that stakeholders had put in place to stabilise the region would be defeated.
The spokesman said the IYC had also observed that the same reservations were also expressed by the National Assembly Minority Caucus, the Reformed Niger Delta Avengers and many other stakeholders from the region.
Ekerefe said: “We have credible intelligence that suggests that N3.5 billion was spent around key aides of the President to ensure that the appointment of the Executive Director of Finance and Administration, Mr Akwa Efiong Okon, a brother and kinsman to the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs scaled through as the sole administrator to oversee the NDDC and ignorantly endorsed by the President.
“This is a President who talks about fighting corruption, but right under his nose, appointments are given to the highest bidder without his knowledge.
“It is becoming a dangerous precedence for the President’s continued decisions of appointing interim and sole administrators to oversee sensitive institutions within the region just like the Presidential Amnesty Programme rather than appointing substantive persons.
“This particular appointment of sole administrator of the NDDC is annoying and it is sending provocative signals to agitating groups and the people of the region. The President should reverse this unpopular and unconstitutional decision and appoint a substantive board made up of credible individuals for the commission which is long overdue.”