By Enaibo Asiayei
The Minister of Niger-Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio has promised to commence the process of NDDC’s new board and fast track it, so that everybody in the region will know that we have a listening government.
He said they have agreed that his office will fast track the process of the Constitution of the NDDC’s new board.
Following the 7-day ultimatum on NDDC board reconstitution, issued last Sunday by ex- militant leader, Government Ekpemupolo alias Tompolo to the Nigerian government, the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Akpabio hurriedly embarked on a trip to the hometown of the ex-militant leader, Oporoza, headquarters of Gbaramatu Kingdom, Delta State, to hold talks with stakeholders.
The Minister said there have been a process set in place. Noting that the process will begins Immediately he gets to Abuja tomorrow. He stressed that his ministry will also looked at the challenges of the region and the completion of the NDDC office.
“Our youths want to see employment opportunities, they want to have a feel of the NDDC development commission touching their lives and also bringing developmental projects to them from Abuja.
“It is not a function of ultimatum, but it is a function of facts, it was a call for government to react to the aspiration of the people and I have just told you that the government through me is going to work very hard for my office to fast track the aspirations for the people.
“The issue of ultimatum is not something I can speak on, even though you said, one day ultimatum, or three days ultimatum, you know it is a process and that process is going to start with me it has to start with the Minister of Niger Delta and thereafter it will get to my brothers in the national assembly.
“So don’t worry about whether is going to be four days or three days but the major thing is that we have given commitment to work together and ensure results.”
The President of Ijaw National Congress, Professor Benjamin Okada said “as regard to the issues, just like the minister said, there is a commitment to commence the process right now, and I will say I am a witness. I want to believe that we will show sincerity in that commitment and there is assurance too that within the particular period, we will get to that promise Land.”
Delta State Deputy Governor, Barr. Kingsley Otuaro appreciated the Hon. Minister of Niger Delta Affairs for making himself available for the consultative meeting which he described as critical that prevent the region again in tumult.
“I want add Just like Minister and INC president have said, there have been a process set in place. The process is such that a critical set of people are meant to work very closely with him just like he has said. The processes are on, immediately he gets to Abuja tomorrow, we will be working side by side to ensuring that the processes are expedited.
There will be a communique from the leaders that will also meet, and is going to speak the volume of the inside decisions to resolving this matter.
“To the time frame, the important thing is that we had a meeting and reach a consensus that the process should kick start as soon as he gets to his office Tomorrow. And a selected number of people are met to work with him to ensure that they review the time frame with which to get this achieved.”
AKPABIO’S MEETING WITH NIGER DELTA STAKEHOLDERS
He arrived 3pm., affirming that the list of board members was ready but indicated that board inauguration could not be within the period of the ultimatum, as the forensic audit was yet to be completed.
OTUARO STRONG MESSAGE TO FG
Deputy Governor of Delta State, Barr. Kingsley Otuaro, who welcomed the minister and his entourage at Osubi airstrip, Effurun, near Warri, urged Akpabio to listen to the voice of the people, saying the ethnic nationalities were unanimous that NDDC board should be inaugurated.
“We cannot explain why an institution as the NDDC, that is a product of an act, is being run in flagrant abuse of the so powers that established it on the guise of a forensic order. There must be a substantive board. The voice of the people should be listened to.”
The Fiyewei of Gbaramatu Kingdom, Chief Godspower Gbenekama, who spoke for the ethnic nationalities, told him that they could not guarantee what would happen if the board was not inaugurated within the period of the ultimatum.
“The people sitted here are not IYC executives that you can just call to Abuja, the presence of soldiers in our region is not the reason for peace, it is because of our resolve. We want that board to be constituted, the ultimatum stands, after the ultimatum and nothing is done, don’t blame anybody. The substantive board must be inaugurated immediately.”
All the ethnic nationalities present endorsed Gbenekama’s statement as their position.
National President of Ijaw National Congress (INC), apex organisation of Ijaw ethnic nationality, Prof Benjamin Okaba, advised the minister to respect the ultimatum.
He met privately met with Tompolo at a different venue, which was the main reason for his going there.