Following attacks on the appointment of Barr. Effiong Akwa as the Sole Administrator of NDDC particularly by some Ijaw youths, the Oku Ibom Ibibio and Chairman Akwa Ibom State Council of Chiefs, His Eminence, Nteyin (Dr.) Solomon Daniel Etuk has called for a ceasefire, saying that such protest is a threat to the unity, security and development of the Niger Delta region of Nigeria.
The Oku Ibom Ibibio, who stated this in a release, expressed worries over the uncharitable display of distrust, wrangling and throwing of brickbats against the decision of President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, in appointing an Interim Administrator for the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) in the person of Barr. Effiong Okon Akwa.
He observed that the protests by the agitated youths and some groups in the Niger Delta region was ill-informed and unhealthy, thereby depicting an exhibition of bad faith, brazenly displayed against a fellow Niger Deltan from Akwa Ibom State.
The release reads in part: “The action of the youths and some persons to openly challenge the authority of President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, to have appointed Barr. Effiong Okon Akwa, not even minding the wisdom behind his appointment and the widespread demand for a realistic forensic audit of NDDC is definitely illogical, selfish and uncalled for. We condemn it in its entirety.
“It can be seen that Barr. Effiong Okon Akwa possesses cognate experience backed with academic, administrative, managerial and professional expertise to deliver on the mandate set by the Presidency before a substantive board is constituted.
“It is on record that until his recent higher responsibility, the appointee was the Acting Executive Director, Finance and Administration of the Commission. He had also worked under one of the previous leaderships of the NDDC as a financial advisor. As a qualified accountant, he is therefore firmly rooted to oversee the affairs of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) till the end of the ongoing forensic auditing of the interventionist agency. We believe that his sound background must have guided the Presidency to appoint him and that decision should be respected.
“As traditional fathers, we are concerned, hence our decision to rise to the occasion and advise our agitated youths and groups in the Niger Delta to be mindful of our region’s corporate interests and welfare by allowing the thread of brotherhood to permeate.”
The Royal Father pointed out that as a bonafide indigene of Niger Delta from Akwa Ibom, Barr. Effiong Okon Akwa is eminently qualified to be so appointed by the Presidency, as records reveal that Akwa Ibom is the leading oil producing state in Nigeria with 504, 000 barrels of crude oil production daily, topping the chart with 31.4 % against eight (8) other states in the Niger Delta of Nigeria.
“Harbouring a sense of entitlement in the region by some sections against others in the Niger Delta should be jettisoned as it is capable of undermining and threatening the unity, security and development of our depraved region despite being the nation’s bastion of oil and gas wealth”, Oku Ibom Ibibio said.
He appealed to Royal Fathers across the Niger Delta as well as the South-South Monarchs’ Forum and the Association of Traditional Rulers of Oil Mineral Producing Communities of Nigeria (TROMPCON) to offer counsel to the youths and political leaders not to overheat the polity.
The Oku Ibom Ibibio also appealed to all stakeholders and politicians in the Niger Delta to put the interest of the region above self and avoid being drawn into unnecessary wrangling that can cause uproar in Niger Delta, which they have painstakingly worked to ensure peace and stability.
In his words: “As stakeholders, development is largely dependent on us. The overall interest of our region should be our major concern and not ethnic, tribal or primordial sentiment. Let us support the Interim Administrator for the period he is assigned to oversee the forensic audit. The successful accomplishment of the audit exercise will set a new pace for the commission and ensure that the objectives for its establishment are fully accomplished. We want to see an era where contracts are awarded and executed to the letter. When this renewal is achieved then the impact of NDDC will be felt across the region”.
The Ibibio Monarch used the medium to commend President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR for appointing an Akwa Ibom son, who is a capable hand towards fixing the NDDC and called for collective support on measures to reposition the NDDC and the Niger Delta region.
Nteyin Solomon Etuk also appealed to the Federal Government through the Ministry of Niger Delta Development Commission to complete the East West Road, effect the construction of the Calabar-Itu-Ikot Ekpene Highway, the Ogoni Clean Up exercise, the railway project for Niger Delta region and other key projects earmarked to accelerate development in the region being the goose that lays the golden eggs for the nation.
It could be recalled that Ijaw youths from the states of the Niger Delta region under the aegis of Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) had vowed to protest and shutdown the headquarters of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) located in Port Harcourt, Rivers State over what they termed as failure of the Federal Government to address the issue of “wrongful appointment” of a sole administrator for the commission.