Notable leaders in the Niger Delta on Sunday urged President Muhammadu Buhari to accept the need for a new board for the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
“The board is needed to assure the nine states interests in the region’s development process,” they said.
The leaders in a statement in Port Harcourt urged the president not to dally with the Niger Delta problem.
‘’Fundamental to the forensic audit report is the question of implementation. The evidence so far is that the Federal Government is not rising to the occasion admirably’’
The statement signed by the Chairman of Niger Delta Front (NDF), Chief John Harry, suggested that if Buhari cared so much about developing the region and making the government wide-ranging, he should quickly constitute a new board for the commission.
“The Niger Delta people have suffered in silence from the hardship deriving from the advice of interim committee promoters.”
The leaders commended the Federal Government for the forensic audit, the advantage being that the people of the region has been galvanised into lending full support to President Buhari in his campaign to curtail corruption in the region’s development agency.
“Three issues likely to have negative effects on government plans for the region are the personnel audit, delay in constituting a new board and moves to put in place another interim committee to run the commission.”
They described the ploy to constitute another interim committee as impractical and unnecessary.
‘’It is a matter of sorrow and regret to see a man or woman betray his region and people. The proposed interim committee will not only make NDDC a weak but scrappy agency’’
Specifically, the leaders referred disdainfully to individuals and groups urging Buhari not to constitute the commission’s board.
‘’In order to avoid a repetition of our recent past experience whereby government engaged in all sorts of interim strategies, the commission’s board should be constituted’’
The leaders expressively proclaimed sympathy for the workers, describing the proposed personnel audit as a moment of total aberration.
‘’For purposes of implementing the personnel audit, the agenda will present enormous problems’’
The statement called for rapid departure from past concepts.
The leaders commended the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Umana Okon Umana for his largeness of vision.
They also applauded NDDC Sole Administrator, Mr Effiong Akwa for playing his part creditably.
The statement underscored the people’s unexpected qualities of endurance, the fear of dismissal and Umana’s energy, knowledge and dedication to public service.
‘’We must act, and act quickly. We have to plan our way out from this mud hole and that must be done by the Commission’s board’’ the men and women of intellectual and financial abilities said.