A group, Niger Delta United Congress (NDUC) has berated the sole administrator of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Effiong Akwa, for saying there should be less agitation for a substantive Board for the commission and stakeholders should rather work with the current interim management of the NDDC.
NDUC described Akwa’s comment as “the height of impunity, disrespect, and affront on President Muhammadu Buhari who personally promised to inaugurate the substantive board of NDDC on completion of the forensic audit.”
The group also remarked that the current interim management Akwa was referring to, was just a one-man show with only him administering the commission as Sole Administrator and thereby combining all the roles of Managing Director; Executive Director of Finance and Administration; and Executive Director of Projects; respectively, which are meant to be separated to ensure the required checks and balances as stipulated in the NDDC establishment Act.
In a statement jointly signed by Ebizomor Brisibe and Edem Archibong, president and secretary of NDUC respectively, the group also flayed Akwa for what it described as his “well-orchestrated subterfuge of strenuously striving to try and perpetuate the ongoing illegality that he represents by impetuously dropping the name and revered office of president Buhari to speak on matters of government policy that are clearly beyond him.”
The group also berated Akwa for what it described as a “contrived phantom ‘webinar’ with non-existent youths to arrogate to himself an illusory authority to speak for the Niger Delta, a region he and his masters have consistently denigrated, deprived of much-needed development and equitable representation in NDDC in the past three years of illegality in the commission.”
As was reported in many national dailies on June 6, under the headline “Trust Buhari On Niger Delta Devt, NDDC Boss Urges Stakeholders,” the group lamented that “in an unrestrained show of disregard for the office of the president, Akwa had the effrontery to state that “the Act establishing the commission was undergoing required reviews, we can no longer rely on the existing Act,” and that “people should reduce the agitation on board and work with the current management of the NDDC.”
Brisibe and Archibong recalled that Buhari, on June 24, 2021, while receiving the leadership of Ijaw National Congress (INC) at the State House in Abuja, promised that the NDDC Board would be inaugurated as soon as the forensic audit report was submitted.
Continuing, they recounted that at that occasion, Buhari said that ‘‘based on the mismanagement that had previously bedeviled the NDDC, a forensic audit was set up and the result is expected by the end of July, 2021. I want to assure you that as soon as the forensic audit report is submitted and accepted, the NDDC board will be inaugurated.”
NDUC stated that the president has not only not fulfilled his promise nine months after, the Ijaw National Congress (INC), an “authentic stakeholder in Niger Delta, which he received in audience when he made the above promise to Nigerians has been compelled to describe the delay in the inauguration of the NDDC Board as a “clear betrayal of trust and display of state insensitivity on the Ijaw nation and Niger Delta region.”
According to the group, “this represents the collective position of Niger Deltans, not the subterfuge from a puppet and beneficiary of the current illegality in NDDC who unabashedly sings the deleterious tunes of his paymasters to suppress Niger Deltans and deprive them of the benefits accruing from their God-given natural resources.”
“NDDC is regulated by its establishment Act which clearly stipulates how the agency should be governed. The ongoing contraption of administering the commission by a Sole Administrator is a violation of the NDDC Act. What the NDDC Act provides is that the Board and Management (Managing Director and two Executive Directors) of the NDDC at any point in time should follow the provisions of the law which states that the Board and management is to be appointed by the President, subject to confirmation by the Senate.
“In effect, the current Sole Administrator (Akwa), who is not recognized by the law setting up NDDC, the NDDC Act, therefore lacks the authority, and even moral standing to begin to pontificate on the ‘required reviews’ of a subsisting law which he currently violates by administering the NDDC as a Sole Administrator.”