By Osa Okhomina, Yenagoa
The Central Zone of the Ijaw Youths Council (IYC) Worldwide, has said it was not part of a recent protest by a faction of its national body following a tenure elongation controversy rocking the current board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
The Peretubo Oweilami-led national body of IYC stormed the NDDC headquarters in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, in the company of a Niger Delta activist, Ankio Briggs, and demanded the dissolution of the Senator Ndoma Egba-led board.
The faction claimed that the tenure of the current Managing Director of NDDC, Mr. Nsima Ekere, had expired insisting that it was the turn of Bayelsa to manage the interventionist agency.
But the Central zone of IYC comprising Bayelsa State and some parts of Rivers State distanced itself from the controversy.
The Chairman of the zone, Mr. Tare Porri, said the entire youths from Bayelsa had earlier taken a position not to distract the current management of NDDC to enable it deliver on its mandate.
He said the zone would never be involved in the politicization of NDDC management so far as the current board remained focused in giving Bayelsa its share of developmental projects.
He added that persons, who, arranged the Port-Harcourt protest failed to even consult the zone, which they claimed was supposed to produce the next management of the board.
Porri warned some Abuja-based politicians against hijacking the IYC to play dangerous politics insisting that Bayelsa remained the epicenter of the council.
He said: “We have said it before and we want to say it again. Count us out of this NDDC tenure controversy.
“The central zone of the IYC was not aware and was never part of whatever protest that had been done in Port-Harcourt. The zone was never consulted and we don’t know whatever that happened there.
“We are the epicenter of the IYC, the Jerusalem of the Ijaw nation. Nobody should use the IYC to play party politics in Abuja”.
Reiterating the zone’s position, he said: “Our position as a zone is that IYC is interested in an NDDC board; we are interested in a board that will bring developments to Bayelsa state and by extension, the central zone.
“We are interested in an NDDC board that will partner with the government of Bayelsa state in order to come up with priority projects for the overall good of our people.
“We will not accept a board that will destroy the foundation of the Ijaw people. We don’t want divide-and-rule board. So, the issues of tenure elongation or no tenure elongation, we are not interested.
“Our number one interest is that we want a NDDC board that will engage young people. We want NDDC board that will certainly partner with the government and people of Bayelsa state to come up with priority projects”.
Porri listed the Ekeremo-Sagbama road, the road leading from Yenagoa to Oporoma and the Ogbia-Brass road, as some of the priority projects NDDC could partner with the state government to deliver to the people.
He added: “We don’t want to be involved with the politics that is being played by whether somebody’s tenure has elapsed or not, we are not interested. Our interest is that by the virtue of law establishing the NDDC board, the President of Nigeria knows what to do and I don’t see reason why we should overflow the issue.
“People are already politicising it and that is why we are worried. Our concern as a zone is that if a particular state is entitled to two terms or one term, provided it is the position of the law, we do not have any problem”.
Porri noted that most of the people clamouring for the leadership of NDDC in Bayelsa were tested before, but failed the state
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