By Edem Darlington
As Nigeria marks her 61st independence, Comrade Princewill Ebebi, President of Project Niger Delta, a frontline advocacy group for the development of the Niger Delta region has again called on the federal government of Nigeria to immediately Inaugurate the board of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, to stimulate and foster speedy socio-economic development of the region without further delay.
Comrade Ebebi decried a situation where the board continues to operate with an interim administrator even when such is alien to the laws establishing the board.
According to him the continuous delay in the Inauguration of the NDDC board is a disservice to the people of the region. He said a situation where the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs who is the supervising minister of NDDC appoints an administrator from his own state who continues to oversee the affairs of the commission for almost a year now to the detriment of other states is unacceptable.
“Today is Nigeria independence but the good people of the oil rich Niger Delta region are not happy with the way Sen. Godswill Akpabio, the honourable Minister for Niger Delta Affairs who is orchestrating delay of the Inauguration of a substantive NDDC board despite his promise of July ending 2021”
Mr Effiong Akwa was appointed interim administrator of the board on December 12th, 2020 by President Buhari. An action the group said it was through the lobby power of Sen. Akpabio.
Both Mr. Akwa and Sen. Akpabio hails from Akwa Ibom state.
The group said “since then, collective prosperity and federal government developmental incentives for the region have been managed by one lion family led by Sen. Godswill Akpabio.
Our resources are being used for personal gains, despite our consistent appeal and peaceful resolution for the Inauguration of the NDDC board, the minister has continued to pay less attention to this very pressing and important need of the region”
While urging the Minister not to take people of the region for granted, Comrade Ebebi called on prominent Indigenes and stakeholders from the region to rise up and speak in one voice against the delay.
“Project Niger Delta calls on the Ijaw Youth Council led by Comrade Timothy Igbifa, the Ijaw National Congress, led by Prof. Benjamin Okaba to continue to speak against the ungodly and evil delay as perpetrated by the honorable Minister for Niger Delta Affairs, Sen. Godswill Akpabio
“We also call on Chief Edwin Clark led Niger Delta forum PANDEF to speak out against Sen. Godswill Akpabio’s action as the Inauguration of the board will birth a new face of development of the region and the people of Niger Delta.