The Watchdog for Progressives Ijaw (WPI) has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately sack the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Mr. Godswill Akpabio, following his alleged interference in the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
WPI in a statement signed by its Coordinator, Lambart Olambo, said Akpabio was deliberately holding the region ransom and stalling the growth of the Niger Delta by frustrating all efforts to inaugurate a board of the NDDC in line with the Act establishing the commission.
Olambo said the Minister was riding a rough shod on the NDDC to advance his presidential ambition in 2023, insisting that Akpabio’s alleged deceitful and selfish tactics were geared towards actualising his ambition to either run as a presidential candidate or a running mate in 2023.
He said Akpabio was simply opting for stooges to run the NDDC illegally in order to have unchallenged control of the commission’s management without recourse to the overall interest of the Niger Delta while dropping the forensic audit as an excuse.
Olambo said: “It is time to stop the whims and caprices of the Minister of the Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, in NDDC.”
He continued, “We have monitored everything he has done so far and we have seen that the Niger Delta has never witnessed this level of retardation, retrogression and underdevelopment that had characterised the region since the minister took over the management of the affairs of this region, especially since he started dropping the forensic audit as an excuse to continue with the reign of abnormality and illegality in the management of the NDDC.
“Everything Akpabio is doing is to actualise his 2023 presidential ambition. He wants to run as a presidential candidate and he does not care if the Niger Delta burns to ashes.
“It is high time the Presidency investigated the real motive why Akpabio is against the formation of a substantive board for NDDC. It is time the President retrieved the NDDC from the stranglehold of Akpabio. Otherwise the Niger Delta will continue to suffer and remain tensed because the commission cannot leave up to its responsibility under the unbridled ambition of Akpabio.”
He warned the Presidency against allowing Akpabio to influence the nomination of board members for the NDDC, adding that the senator no longer had the mandate and support of critical stakeholders in the Niger Delta region.
“The best gift the Niger Delta region can receive from the Presidency is the immediate sacking of Senator Akpabio as the Minister of the Niger Delta.
He has given Buhari enough bad name following his selfish interest.
“Akpabio has lost the confidence of critical stakeholders in the Niger Delta and should be compelled to keep off from critical institutions of the region like the NDDC.
“We are also asking the President not to accept any new nomination of NDDC board from Akpabio. It is not for the interest of the Niger Delta. We will also resist any attempt by the current sole administration of NDDC to remain in office beyond March this year. We can’t continue to fold our hands and allow one man with an unbridled political ambition to keep messing with our common patrimony,” he said.
It is shameful that other political class in the region are quiet because they have one ambition or the other.