We have watched with consternation, the open display of ignobility by some groups and individuals, who patently exhibit a sense of entitlement over others in the affairs of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and the region as a whole.
This charade manifested recently when President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, firmed up his resolve to clean the Augean stable in NDDC by appointing Effiong Okon Akwa, Esq., as the Interim Administrator to oversee the affairs of the Commission until the forensic audit exercise is completed and a substantive board appointed.
That decision remains quite logical. Not only is Effiong Okon Akwa eminently qualified as a lawyer and chartered accountant with in-depth administrative know-how; he is a noble Niger Delta son from the leading oil producing State of Akwa Ibom.
Most odious too is the extension of the protest against another Niger Delta son from Akwa Ibom State, the Honourable Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, His Excellency, Senator Godswill Obot Akpabio, CON. This is condemnable, irrational and lackadaisical.
For the record, as at November 2020 and after, the ratio of inputs by the nine (9) major oil producing States in Nigeria stood as follows: Akwa Ibom – 31.4% – 504,000 BPD; Delta – 21.56% – 346,000 BPD; Rivers – 21.43% – 344,000 BPD; Bayelsa -18.07% – 290,000 BPD; Ondo – 3.74% – 60,000 BPD; Lagos – 2.64% – 40,000 BPD; Edo – 2.06% – 33.000 BPD; Imo – 1.06 % – 17.000 BPD and Abia – 0.68% – 11.000 BPD.
So where did President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR err by appointing Effiong Okon Akwa, Esq., to oversee the Commission? Clearly, that appointment remains incontrovertible. As often said in Latin, “Sana arbitrium esse irrevocabile” (sound decision is irreversible).
We therefore view the reported protests by Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) and some other elements in the region against the appointment of Effiong Okon Akwa, Esq., and Senator Godswill Obot Akpabio, CON, as dumbfounding and a monstrous obtrusion of equity and brotherhood in the Niger Delta Region. This overbearing superiority claims to privileges, opportunities and benefits in the affairs of the region can no longer stand.
Ibom Patriots aligns with progressive minds in the region to resist these devious tendencies as well as condemns the tirade of disapproval reportedly championed by a group postulating as Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) either for themselves or for others, against these Akwa Ibom sons.
While applauding Mr. President on the appointment of Effiong Okon Akwa, Esq., we equally support his holistic drive for a forensic auditing of NDDC, for the sole intention of ensuring that the aims and objectives of the Commission as conceptualized at inception is effectively realized. Accordingly, we urge all dissenting voices to let peace reign in the region.
The aphorism that “What is good for the goose is also good for the gander” resonates under this circumstance. As a region, we have to federate communally to maximize the opportunities granted us by God in our environment rather than engage in mindless ethnic-infused struggles and pull-him-down syndrome.
Since the establishment of NDDC under the then President Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration, all the component units, have held appropriate offices in the Commission as laid down under the principle of oil production ratio and other indices of accommodation in statutory employment and appointments. It therefore sounds morally reprehensible for the President’s appointment of Effiong Okon Akwa, Esq., as the Interim Administrator to be trailed by bogus attacks.
That this same angst is stretched to the Honourable Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, His Excellency, Senator Godswill Obot Akpabio, CON, raises a concern as to whether Akwa Ibom sons are now easy targets. We will refuse to believe this. Niger Delta belongs to all component states in the region.
There are prevalent challenges that we should collectively champion for the region. As oil producing states, it is principally our God given natural resources that enable our nation, Nigeria to drive the economy and service the country.
We should therefore constantly champion the development of the region by demanding the Federal Government and oil majors operating in the region to deepen their impacts.
To this end, the completion of the East West Road project, construction of inter-linking federal roads and the relocation of headquarters of Oil majors to the region should be implemented without delay. The Niger Delta master plan, the Ogoni clean-up exercise and Rail Line project should be brought to realization. These and others are the glaring issues of concern before us and not the dissipation of energy on incongruous matters.
It is our candid opinion that for the effective derivation of our benefits, Niger Delta region must stand on equity and brotherhood. We must cherish each other and avoid self-distrust. It should be uppermost in our minds that strength lies in the whole and not in pieces.
We therefore call on the entire people of Niger Delta Region to support all our sons and daughters in the present administration and work with them to bring development to the region. We also call on those appointed to consult regularly with the leaders of the region to get our inputs and convey same to the Federal Government for implementation.
Obong Bassey Inuaeyen
Rt. Hon. Barr. Usenobong Akpabio