Niger Delta Governors

Niger Delta Governors are bracing up for possible confrontation with the Federal government over the recent appointment of members into Niger Delta Development Commission NDDC board.

The governors are reported to be peeved with the appointments as it was done without their consultation and inputs. Consequently, they are said to meet with President Buhari over the issue and possibly demand the suspension and dissolution of the board.

Meanwhile, the governors’ protest is facing serious challenges and scrutiny as many youths’ groups and leaders in the Niger Delta sympathetic to the appointees are attacking them and soliciting support for the beleaguered appointees.

One of such groups which are the Niger Delta Youth Council (NDYC) has openly chided governors of the region for criticizing President Muhammadu Buhari over the newly-constituted board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).

Media reports indicate that South-South governors had summoned an emergency meeting over the members-designate of the board of the NDDC made public on Tuesday by the presidency.

The governors, according to reports, claimed that politics was the only consideration used in selecting members of the new board adding that it runs contrary to the provisions of the NDDC Law.

The youth group, however, disagrees with the position of the governor. They insist that contrary to the assertion by the governors that they ought to have been consulted by President Buhari before the board members were appointed, the NDDC Act does not give them such privilege.

In a statement signed by its National Coordinator Jator Abido, Secretary, Kede Michael, and Chinedu Livinus, Rivers State Coordinator NDYC, challenged the governors of the region to give an account of their stewardship saying that they were responsible for the poor state of affairs in the region.

“We challenge the governors to individually and collectively give an account of their stewardship.

“It is sad that the governors have failed to embark on meaningful initiatives and projects that benefit the region over the years but have rather concentrated on building personal empires to the detriment of the region.

Buhari Made the Appointments

“We have been in the vanguard agitating for better deals for the region from the Federal Government and when consideration is given to the region the governors divert the proceeds to their private pockets.

“The Niger Delta produces the wealth of this nation but has remained the least developed no thanks to our governors. We have over the time called for a probe of the NDDC management right from its inception.

“Independent findings have revealed that the governors who influenced appointments in NDDC board in the past, apart from mismanaging state funds also partook in sharing funds of the commission meant for development.

“It is unfortunate that the governors now find it convenient to criticize the president for appointing people of impeccable characters that would oversee the development of the region.

“We challenge the governors to point out the part of the Act establishing NDDC that mandates the state governors to make inputs in the appointment of Boards in a federal system”, the statement added.

The group described the protest of the governors as the ranting of ants and desperate people while urging the president to totally disregard their demands.

The youth said they were confident that the members of the new Board would deliver on their mandate. They urged the newly appointed board members not to be distracted but to remain focus so as to deliver on the mandate given to them by the president.

The 16 member board has Dr. Pius Odubu from Edo State as Chairman and Mr. Bernard Okumagba from Delta State, as the Managing Director. Otobong Ndem from Akwa Ibom, who would serve as the Executive Director, Projects, and Aisha Muhammed from Kano State representing North-West on the board.

Others are Maxwell Okoh from Bayelsa State; Jones Erue from Delta State; Victor Ekhatar from Edo State; Joy Nunieh from Rivers State; Nwogu Nwogu from Abia State; Theodore Allison from Bayelsa State; Victor Antai from Akwa Ibom State; Maurice Effiwatt from Cross River State; Olugbenga Elema from Ondo State and Uchegbu Kyrian from Imo
State, (News Agency of Nigeria reports).