Niger Delta leaders on Friday, May 31 rose from a meeting to vowed to take up the marginalisation issue of Delta State with the highest authority in Nigeria.
The leaders said, there was no reason whatsoever for Delta State to be so treated compared with Bayelsa, Akwa-Ibom and Cross River in the appointment of Chairman and Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
At a meeting in Abuja, the leaders said it was the turn of Delta State to produce the chairman and managing director of the Commission.
‘’The office of the chairman shall rotate amongst the member states of the commission in the following alphabetical order; Abia State, Akwa Ibom State, Bayelsa State, Cross River State, Delta State, Edo State, Imo State, Ondo State and Rivers State’’
‘Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, Alhaji Umaru Musa YarÁdua, Dr Goodluck Jonathan and President Muhammadu Buhari appointed Onyema Ugochukwu (Chairman 2001-2005) Abia State, Sam Edem (Chairman, 2005-2007), Akwa-Ibom, Dan Abia (Acting Chairman 2007-2009), Akwa-Ibom, Larry Koinyan (Chairman (2009-2011), Bayelsa State, Tarifa Tebepah (Chairman 2011-2013, Bayelsa State, Bassey Henshaw (Chairman 2013-2015), Cross River State and Ndoma Egba (Chairman 2016-2019), Cross River State.’’
Leader of the Niger Delta Front (NDF), Chief John Harry, who addressed journalists in Abuja said, the leaders urged Nigerians to impress on President Muhammadu Buhari to appoint Delta State indigenes as chairman and managing director of the commission.
‘’The NDDC Act requires that there shall be for the commission, a Managing Director and two Executive Directors who shall be indigenes of oil producing areas starting with the member states of the Commission with the highest production quantum of oil and shall rotate among member states in the order of production.’’
They said, Rivers State occupied the position of Executive Director (Finance and Administration) for years through Itonanen Ogiri (EDFA 2013-2015), Mene Derek (EDFA 2016-2019), and Chris Amadi (Transition Acting EDFA 2019-2019.
‘’The right thing to do is to appoint someone from Bayelsa or Akwa-Ibom as the Executive Director (Finance and Administration) of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).”
Viewed against the background of the provisions of the NDDC Act, the leaders urged the authorities not to compound the problems of the Niger Delta region or make absolute nonsense of the NDDC Act.
The leaders commended President Muhammadu Buhari for the effort he was making to develop the region.
They called on well-meaning people within and outside the Niger Delta region to prevail on President Buhari to appoint Delta State indigenes as chairman and managing director.
“We expect the President to use the next NDDC Board to correct the imbalances of previous appointments. We believe in Mr President’s sense of justice and fair play’’ the leaders added.