NDDC: IYC forum denies call to remove Akwa, Akpabio
Why they are against Akwa, by progressives
The zonal and chapter chairmen of the Ijaw Youths Council (IYC) Worldwide has denied calling for the removal of the newly appointed Sole Administrator, Niger Delta Develolment Commission (NDDC), Effiong Akwa and the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio.
In a protest letter purportedly addressed to President Muhammadu Buhari, the Forum of IYC Zonal and Chapter Chairmen (FIZCC) threatened to shut down the headquarters of the NDDC if the demand for the removal of Akwa and Akpabio was not met within seven days.
But the Chairman of FIZCC, Henry Oyobolo and the Secretary of the forum, James Tobin, who were said to have appended their signatures to the letter, denied it.
Oyobolo, who is also the Chairman, IYC Lagos zone and Tobin, who heads the Eastern zone, disassociated themselves from the call for immediate sacking of Akwa and Akpabio.
In a letter of disclaimer addressed to the office of the President, the duo said: “We hereby use this medium to disassociate ourselves ( Chairmen of IYC Zonal and Chapters Forum) from any publication being circulated by some persons or groups asking for the immediate sacking of the newly appointed Sole Administrator of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and the immediate removal of the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs Senator Godswill Akpabio”.
They, however, backed the council for asking the Federal Government to appoint a substantive managing director and a a board to run the affairs of the NDDC.
But the Watchdog for Progressive Ijaw (WPI) observed with dismay what it described as unnecessary and unwarranted protests in some sections of the Niger Delta region over Akwa’s appointment.
WPI in a statement signed by is Coordinator, Lambert Olambo said it was disturbing that most of the demonstrations including the recent blockade of the Mbiama axis of the East-West road emanated from the Ijaw-speaking part of the Niger Delta.
Olambo said while other ethnic nationalities in the region appeared to have aligned themselves with the decision of President Muhammadu Buhari to first clean up the NDDC before empanelling a new board, some Ijaw stakeholders had become a willing tool to frustrate the arrangement.
Olambo said: “Why is it that only a section of the Ijaw is opposed to Mr. President’s decision? Our investigations reveal that those opposed to Akwa’s appointment are doing so out of ethnic bias. They believe that they can only support such appointment if it comes from Ijaw.
“These same people supported Keme Pondei’s appointment to lead the dissolved Interim Management Committee (IMC) of NDDC without asking for a new board despite financial profligacy against that committee . They did so because they believe that Pondei is from Ijawland.
“WPI is opposed to this kind of nepotic and tribalistic thinking. As progressives, Niger Delta is not all about Ijaw alone. NDDC was not created for only Ijaw. We have many other ethnic nationalities in the region and we as Ijaw need to unite with all of them and build bridges across them for effective solidarity and better bargaining power.
“In any case, we have also discovered that Akwa is also an Ijaw man. He hails from Okobo in Oron Ethnic Nationality of Akwa Ibom State. Therefore, we expect the IYC and other Ijaw stakeholders to extend to him the kind of cooperation they gave to Pondei unless they are saying that there is a difference between a Bayelsa Ijaw and an Ijaw from Oron”.
Olambo urged persons arguing that the appointment of Akwa as a sole administrator violated the Act establishing the NDDC, to seek redress in court instead of threatening the peace of the Niger Delta.
He said: “We expect them to approach a court of competent jurisdiction to challenge such appointment and seek the interpretation of the Act. As progressives, we hold the opinion that anything that can be done and any step that can be taken to give us a brand new NDDC, that can satisfy the yearnings of the Niger Delta for development and poverty alleviation is worth our support.
“Besides, we have consistently had boards of NDDC, which acted against the Act establishing the commission by abandoning their mandates to pursue personal and selfish political interests. The inglorious reign of such boards is the reason we are having a forensic audit of the commission today.
“We stand with the decision and persistence of the President to first reposition the NDDC before appointing a new board because any attempt to inaugurate a board now will surely frustrate the ongoing forensic audit.
“It is also selfish, uncharitable and unwarranted for some Ijaw groups to be calling for the removal of the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, following the appointment of Akwa. We want to make it clear that Akwa was directly appointed by Mr. President and not by Akpabio. Therefore, those asking for Akpabio’s removal because of Akwa have clearly demonstrated their confusion and lack of knowledge. Ko
“We are calling on Akwa to adhere strictly to the mandates given to him by Mr. President. He must avoid the pitfalls of the dissolved IMC and resist the temptation of mismanaging the funds of the commission. The only time we will champion Akwa’s removal is when he misuses this golden opportunity”.