By Emma Amaize
FORMER National Executive Chairman, Traditional Rulers of Oil Minerals Producing Communities of Nigeria, TROMPCON, HM (Dr.) Charles Ayemi-Botu, aka Lion of the Niger, Tuesday, lashed out at the Minister of Niger Delta Affair, Obong Godswill Akpabio, saying he was bamboozling President Muhammadu Buhari to destroy the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC.
HM Ayemi-Botu, who is the paramount ruler of Seimbiri Kingdom in Delta State, told Vanguard: ”Exactly a year ago, President Buhari was misled by the Minister of Niger Delta, Senator Godswill Akpabio to jettison the new board of the NDDC that was screened by Senate and pending inauguration.”
“The board was scuttled and substituted with a three-man Interim Management Committee, IMC consisting of Acting Managing Director, MD, Executive Director, Finance and Administration, EDFA and Executive Director, Projects, EDP, on the pretext of overseeing the phantom forensic audit committee to last for six months.
“But after one year of forensic auditing without any cogent or tangible results, the master schemer had further misled Buhari to sack two out of the three-man IMC, leaving his crony, the EDFA, to act as an illegal sole administrator of the NDDC, thereby bamboozling President Buhari to shamefully and unsuspectingly dance to the whims and caprices of Senator Godswill Akpabio to the utter detriment and disregard of the oil-rich Niger Delta.
“It is absurd, a travesty of justice and against the principles of natural justice for the president to undermine the clarion calls of the vast majority of the good people of Niger Delta in particular nay the entire Nigerian populace on salient policy thrust and administrative issues that affect the electorate, which Mr. President defiantly ignores, but through wise counselling, he would be able to key into, than drifting the ship of the state to oblivion and total disaster.
“It is absolutely necessary to ask the President and his Minister of Niger Delta Affairs the rationale in sacking two out of three IMC members and making the remaining a saint and sole administrator.
“The big question is who is fooling who? Is it Niger -Delta or the country turning out to be a laughing stock in the comity of nations? It is, however, pertinent to ask why President Buhari is hesitant to inaugurate the substantive NDDC Board that he forwarded to the Senate for screening and subsequent clearance, but scuttled on the ill advice of the minister and for the second time, converted it to his family business.
“Niger- Deltans should wake up from their slumber, call a spade a spade and tell Buhari to live up to his civic and constitutional obligations to strictly adhere to the oath of office which he had sworn to on assumption of office by upholding justice, equity, fairness and above all the paramount interest of the electorate more than his personal benefits.
“Wise counselling suffices that in view of the prevalent peace in the volatile Niger Delta region, President Buhari should pluck up manly courage and in tandem with the NDDC Act and inaugurate the substantive Board to avoid resultant restiveness in the creeks of the region that will drastically torpedo the production quantum in this very challenging and unpredictable times,” the monarch advised.