A vibrant socio-political group Akwa Ibom Democratic Forum (ADF) has expressed dismay over the recent threat issued by Ijaw National Congress (INC) on the management of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), describing it as counterproductive and unsavoury to the objective of encouraging development in the region.
The Ijaw National Congress (INC) had in a press conference recently ordered President Muhammadu Buhari and the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, CON, to immediately constitute the NDDC’s Board within one month and threatened to shut down oil operations/activities in the Niger Delta region if their demand is not acceded to within the period.
However, ADF in a press statement emanating from its Media Directorate regretted that the INC in its action has ignored fundamental realities including appropriate communication with persuasive content that could make the appropriate organs of government to act on the request with kind cooperation.
According to ADF, “The group has also refused to appreciate the Buhari administration’s special attention to the Niger Delta region which has witnessed the completion of the over 25 years of the lingering headquarters building of NDDC and the earnest resumption of work on the East West road”.
ADF recalled that the governors of the Niger Delta had in their meeting with President Buhari requested that a Forensic Audit be conducted on the activities of NDDC to reposition her for optimal development of the region and the President being a listening President acceded to the request and ordered for a forensic audit of the Commission.
They further noted that while not relegating the importance of constituting the NDDC Board, “it is important to examine the circumstances that necessitated the delay and which has led to the present situation of non constitution of board”.
The group highlighted that the Forensic Audit is on-going and is on the verge of completing that novel assignment, having reached the stage of visiting each of the nine States to evaluate completed, on-going and abandoned projects with the intent of ensuring that all the projects are completed for the benefit of the people.
According to them, “It is therefore against the grain of rational thinking for INC to suddenly appear at this verge to give an ultimatum that has a seeming intent to frustrate and truncate the Forensic Audit,” they stated
ADF opined that it is open knowledge that every genuine Niger Deltan saw the need for the Forensic Audit and invested patience to see to its actualization, knowing that a repositioned Niger Delta would be in the interest and collective good of the region.
Lampooning the action of INC, the group acknowledged, “it seems the activities of INC is at variance with the interest of the region, giving vent to widespread suspicion that the body is enjoying the sponsorship of people whose vested interest has been the bane working against the development of the Niger Delta.
“While we may not share this position even as patent and obvious as it is , we wish to caution INC not to act in manners that would continue to give the people of Niger Delta reason to see them as saboteurs and number one public enemy of the region as currently being viewed”.
ADF urges the INC to allow the interest of Niger Delta to override all other considerations and review their stand in the interest of the Niger Delta region.
They further noted, “We wish to reiterate that the Niger Delta region belongs to us and we have a responsibility to guide, protect and ensure the development of the region without compromising these ideals with selfish people who are willing to sell the Niger Delta for a marsh of porridge”.
The group expressed gratitude to the people of Niger Delta who have continued to support Mr President and the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs for their steadfastness stressing that the duo have shown determination to change the narrative of the region.
“Mr President and the Minister are working round the clock to ensure that the Niger Delta breathes a fresh air of development with a consequential conviction that their era would build a template for the sustainable development of region” they concluded.