IJAW youths from the states of the Niger Delta have faulted the decision of President Muhammadu Buhari to appoint a Sole Administrator to oversee the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC.
The youths said though President Buhari has the prerogative to hire and fire, the decision to sack Prof Kemebradikumo Pondei-led Interim Management Committee (IMC) without setting up a substantive management board is defective, provocative and lacking in proper advice by aides and advisers of the president.
The youths under the aegis of Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) worldwide, in a statement issued on Monday by its National Spokesman, Comrade Ebilade Erekefe, said the decision to appoint Mr Effiong Okon Akwa as the Interim Administrator of the commission without the appointment of Executive Director Projects (EDP) and Executive Director of Finance and Administration(EDFA) in the commission “is a deliberate act of encouraging the re-looting of billions of naira recovered by the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) from contractors.”
Ekerefe noted that the action of the President has again confirmed that he is not up-to-date on the happenings in the Niger Delta region and have not hearkened to the calls by South-South stakeholders and governors in Port Harcourt in Rivers State on the need for the appointment of a substantive management board for the NDDC which will accelerate development in the region.
He said: “Under the present administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, it has become a pattern that all appointments that is supposed to benefit the people of the Niger Delta region directly have been temporal, instead of substantive, whereas, in the north where the president comes from, that is not the situation.
“This attitude of undermining the Niger Delta region with contempt by the Federal Government is gradually signalling signs of obscurities.
“Therefore if deliberate steps are not taking to renew the confidence of trust between the region and the Federal Government, the situation will spiral and get out of control and all the efforts that stakeholders have put in the stabilization of the region will be defeated.”
The IYC also observed that these reservations were also expressed by the National Assembly minority caucus, the Reformed Niger Delta Avengers and many other stakeholders from the region.
The IYC spokesman explained that credible intelligence report at the council disposal revealed that humongous amount of money was spent 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 scales through as the sole Administrator to oversee the NDDC and endorsed by the President.
“This is a president who talks about fighting corruption, but right under his nose, appointments are giving to the highest bidder without his knowledge.
“It is becoming a dangerous precedent for the president continued decisions of appointing interim and sole administrators to oversee sensitive institutions within the region just like the Presidential Amnesty Programme, PAP, rather than substantive.
“This particular appointment of a 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.”
It would be recalled that the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina on Saturday night announced the appointment of Mr Effiong Okon Akwa as the sole administrator of the NDDC.
Akwa, who was the Ag. Executive Director, Finance and Administration of the Commission is expected to oversee the affairs of the commission till the end of the ongoing forensic auditing of the interventionist agency.
Vanguard News Nigeria