By Emma Amaize, ASABA
SECRETAY-GENERAL, Ijaw Youth Council, IYC, Mr Frank Pukon, yesterday, accused President Muhammadu Buhari administration of dividing Niger-Delta and bequeathing a strange legacy to the oil-rich region.
Pukon, in a statement challenging Mr President to openly declare his legacy to the region, stated: “The Niger Delta today has not been divided in any other time, then this time when you are the commander-in-chief with regard to the region’s socio-economic development and political advancement.”
“History will have it that it is during your presidency that Niger Delta parastatals started having strange names. Sole Administrator in the NDDC and Interim Administrator for the Presidential Amnesty Programme. We, in the Niger Delta, can only hope and pray to God when you finally sack the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio that you will not come up with a strange name for the ministry.
“It is painful to note that an accomplished Nigerian of your pedigree will still play into the political decoy of Senator Godswill Akpabio by flagrantly violating the Establishment Act of the NDDC.
“It is shameful today to note that the sole administrator and corruption in the NDDC have become a national and global discourse.
“Mr President it is time for you to do the needful for posterity to judge you well in the Niger Delta. Listen to the agitations of stakeholders and well-meaning Niger Deltans for a substantive board in the NDDC to be put in place.
“As the President of our democratic republic, you ought to respect the laws of the land, in this case, the NDDC Act is clear, you can only appoint a substantive board, doing anything contrary to that, is setting a wrong precedent, which will lead to anarchy and promote instability.
“This is the time for you, Mr President to listen to the various voices and sack Senator Akpabio and his political mentee: whom Senator Akpabio appointed as the Sole Administrator to perfect his selfish ambition, at the detriment of Niger Deltans.
“While I believe sacking Akpabio and his sole administrator will be the first approach to the issues in the Niger Delta on one hand. There should also be a full-fledge investigative panel devoid of politicians to investigate Senator Akpabio’s sole administrator and his former IMC, led by Professor Kemebradikumo Pondei on the other hand. That I believe will be a restorative theme to the too many injustices to one justice for the Niger Delta people.
“What is even more painful is the mind-blowing financial irregularities or misappropriation levelled against Senator Akpabio, which have made many to be inquisitive to the clear demonstration of contempt and disdain to the region by your administration.
“I believe everyone is innocent until proven guilty by the laws of competent jurisdiction. So I cannot drive a process if Senator Akpabio is guilty or corrupt by those allegations levelled against him. Therefore, what is expected of Mr President is to suspend and launch a full-fledged investigation to investigate Senator Akpabio.
“My concern Mr President is the legacy you intend to keep for the Niger Delta? Is it a legacy of the sole administratorship or a divided Niger Delta, politically and developmentally? Why do you keep deaf ears to things that have to do with the Niger Delta?
“Mr President you need not be told that the demands of the Niger Delta people, which is the mainstay to Nigeria’s economic growth and development should be your uttermost priority in the last years of your presidency.
“Pan-Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF outlined 16-point agenda as far back 2016, today we are in 2021, yet you have done nothing.
“Even recently South-South governors in Port-Harcourt, Rivers State, had given you demands for the Niger Delta physical and socioeconomic development, Mr President you still pay deaf ears to these very laudable demands,” he asserted.