Committed Niger Deltans of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Tuesday, implored President Muhammadu Buhari and the leadership of the party to save Niger Delta region from its sorry state by inaugurating the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC Board of Dr Pius Odubu and Olorogun Bernard Okumagba, which was confirmed by the Senate since November 2019 so as to win back the trust of the people of the region.
The APC members in a letter to President Muhammadu Buhari and leadership of the APC signed by Ebibomo Akpoebide, Menegbo Nwinuamene and Itam Edem, urged President Muhammadu Buhari to comply with the law setting up the NDDC, insisting that inauguration of a substantive Board for the Commission would “ensure accountability, checks and balances, probity and equitable representation of the nine constituent states”.
The people in the letter, said; “Mr President, we implore you to now rise to the occasion to save the Niger Delta region from this sorry state, from those who have deliberately decided to exacerbate the palpable tension in the region.
“Kindly heed the call of Niger Delta leaders, governors, youths, women, traditional rulers, civil society organisations, and other stakeholders, comply with the law setting up NDDC, and also fulfill your own promise of June 24, 2021, and inaugurate the board of the Commission to ensure accountability, checks and balances, probity and equitable representation of the nine constituent states.
“This, Mr. President, is the minimum your government and the APC can do to win back the trust of the Niger Delta people. A first step, Mr. President, is to immediately reset the leadership at the NDDC to conform with the law by inaugurating the Governing Board of the Commission, which has been confirmed by the Senate and has been on standby since 2019 following Akpabio’s endless shenanigans.
“As Niger Deltans and committed members of the APC we write to express our disappointment with how the Niger Delta has been treated by our APC government since 2019 when Senator Godswill Akpabio was appointed as Minister of Niger Delta Affairs.
“We dare say that Chief Godswill Akpabio, a two-time governor of Akwa Ibom State and Senator until 2018 under the PDP, came to our party as a fifth columnist to destroy the APC and reverse the bold moves to cement the party in the Niger Delta states.
“He has set the party back in many respects but we are hopeful that with concerted efforts by stakeholders we can regain our footholds before the next general election, which is very crucial. This is why we are glad that his resignation offers a chance to correct the ills and win back the trust of our people.
“The resignation of the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Akpabio, offers your administration the opportunity to reboot and reclaim its connection with the Niger Delta people after three years of the former Minister’s disastrous manipulation of the NDDC, which has angered all stakeholders in the region.
“His tenure has been the most disastrous for the people of the oil producing states who make up the NDDC. He has been especially disagreeable even in advancing the interests of the people of our region, not to talk of the damage he has done to your reputation and the APC among the people, especially the voting population.
“Mr. President, please reboot and correct the ills committed by Chief Akpabio and make amends for the damage done to the APC in the region. As it stands, the APC cannot win an election in the region except these missteps are remedied.
“Matter of fact, a group, The Niger Delta Rescue Movement (NDRM) has already vowed not to back the APC in the 2023 elections following the delay to inaugurate a substantive board of the NDDC. The spokesman of NRDM, Jonathan Okwa, speaking in Yenagoa, Bayelsa state, stated that following the prolonged delay of President Buhari to give the Niger Delta people what is rightfully theirs, in accordance with the law, the NDDC Act, the group would ensure the mobilisation of the people of Niger Delta region to vote against the APC in the 2023 presidential and general elections if the board is not inaugurated. Chief Akpabio’s actions have indeed imperilled our party in the Niger Delta States.
“May we remind you of the trajectory of Akpabio’s mischief. In October 2019, in exercise of your powers as spelt out in the NDDC Act of 2000, you, President Buhari appointed a Board for the NDDC which was duly confirmed by the Nigerian Senate on November 5, 2019. Through subterfuge, before the board could be inaugurated, Akpabio came up with the idea of an audit to be supervised by an interim management, so the Board was asked to be on standby for inauguration after a forensic audit originally planned to last three months.
“Akpabio then ill-advised you and came up with a grand scheme to suspend the inauguration of the board which was confirmed by the Nigerian Senate on November 5, 2019 and instead employed some interim officials in breach of the NDDC Act, people he relied on to fleece the NDDC of its resources and the NDDC nine constituent states of their commonwealth through an orchestrated scheme to conjure an unending audit of the Commission.