…say Buhari has violated the Commission’s establishment Act
…urge the President to inaugurate a substantive board
By Festus Ahon
ANIOMA Youths Forum, (Worldwide), AYF-W, Tuesday, rejected the appointment of a Sole Administrator to run the affairs of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, insisting that the appointment of a Sole Administrator was in violation of the Act establishing the Commission.
AYF in a statement issued by its National President, Comrade Nnamdi Ofonye and National Publicity Secretary, Mr ElvisEkwukwo, said they were concerned by “the way and manner the development of the Niger Delta is being continuously threatened under the present administration of President Muhammadu Buhari through his actions that smacks of total disregard to the dictates of the act establishing the NDDC.
“The NDDC, although all through its life span since 2000 when it came into existence has suffered massive raping and looting by successive boards leaving nothing tangible on the ground to show for the massive funding it has received over these years, the present situation of President Buhari’s preference for the unconstitutional management team in the guise of Interim Management Committee, IMC and the most recently announced Sole Administrator is alien to us and we reject it.
“While we do not contest the powers vested on Mr President by the Nigerian Constitution to hire and fire, we are surprised and indeed appalled that President Muhammadu Buhari led federal government has elected to remain or turn deaf ear to the calls by the majority of Niger Deltans; comprising of critical stakeholders in the region and the Governors of the South-South zone who recently met and resolved to add their voice to the call for a substantive management board for the NDDC to be appointed and inaugurated and do away with interim management teams or any Sole Administrator whose constitutionality is still a subject of legal contestation in courts.
“AYF-W, without any iota of doubt believes that the hiring and firing must be in tandem with the laws of the land which only supports the appointment and inauguration of a substantive board that can be fired at anytime it is found wanting by the President in line with such powers but should be immediately replaced by another team to finish off the term of that board.
“It is in the light of this that AYF-W became shocked that a Sole Administrator was again announced in replacement of the IMC which the newly announced Sole Administrator, Mr Effiong Okon Akwa served. We view this as an aberration of the highest order that should be rejected by all Niger Deltans.
“The call for the immediate appointment of a substantive board can not be overemphasised at a critical time like this when the youths of Niger Delta, in particular, have become very conscious of the sickening neglect and underdevelopment of the region and have come to understand that if adequately monitored for accountability, the NDDC, in line with its mandate and irrespective of its dark days of mismanagement of the past can initiate and supervise the rapid transformation of the region.
“AYF-W is further concerned that like the NDDC whose mandate is to initiate and develop the nine states that have continuously suffered degradation owing to long years of oil exploration, its counterpart commission in the North East is carrying out its mandate unhindered whereas ours has become a tool for political settlement and manipulations with some of our Niger Delta leaders as willing tools. Their escapade of misinforming the President on the true position of things in the region for selfish aggrandisement is not a secret but this has to end as enough has become enough.
“Consequently, we hereby call on Mr President to without any further delay constitute a substantive management board for the interventionist agency. We strongly insist that If for any reason the President views the board already screened by the Senate to fall short of his expected team to run the board, the constitution also empowers him to recall the list, nominate and forward a fresh one to the Senate for screening and subsequent inauguration than exposing the entire commission and the good people of Niger Delta to political recklessness and avoidable stagnation.
“Furthermore, we call and appeal to the good conscience of Mr President to adhere strictly to the dictates of the NDDC Act as it concerns the rotation of the leadership of the board among the member states. This is envisaged to engender unity, equity and mutual respect among the states and such atmosphere is the only panacea for peace and oneness. We frown and reject any ploy by any single or particular state to continue to be reappointed into the MD position while others are left empty-handed against the dictates of the constitution and Act of the Commission.
“It is also imperative to state here that AYF-W is fully in support of the forensic audit initiated and empowered by the President to carry out a total audit of the commission from its inception till date. We also call that the process should be expedited to come to its conclusion and the report made public so that all those found culpable irrespective of their status and political leaning will not only be brought to book but will be shamed by their own people to serve as a deterrent to the incoming boards both now and in the future.
“We are now further convinced beyond all reasonable doubts that the unending appointments and sacking of interim management boards is a deliberate ploy orchestrated by some greedy politicians in Niger Delta in connivance with some other interests outside the region to deprive Niger Deltans the full benefits of NDDC, a supposed interventionist agency designed to bridge the developmental gap in the Niger Delta region but has remained dormant and largely unproductive for years.
“The AYF-W, seizes this medium to passionately appeal to the Federal government led by President Muhammadu Buhari not to jeopardize the peace the Niger Delta region currently enjoys by actions that go contrary to demands of Niger Deltans. There is no better time for the presidency to put a substantive board in place to manage the NDDC than now.”