Delta State deputy governor, Deacon Kingsley Otuaro says the visit by the Niger Delta Affairs Minister, Senator Godswill Akpabio’s to Oporoza in Gbaramutu, kingdom, Delta State deflected another Niger Delta crisis cim national challenge.
Akpabio had visited Government Ekpemupolo aka Tompolo and other stakeholders in the Niger Delta to negotiate after the former had issued 7days ultimatum to the Minister to inaugurate board for the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, which has been run by a interim leadership and the Minister which against the Act that set up the commission.
The Deputy Governor who spoke to newsmen in Warri following the meeting in Oporoza, Gbaramatu kingdom between Senator Akpabio and Tompolo with other Niger Delta stakeholders over Tompolo’s recent 7-day ultimatum to inaugurate the NDDC Board long run on interim leadership against law, noted that the Niger Delta was inching towards possible oil infrastructure breaches like it happened in 2016.
He added that Delta State Government and traditional rulers spent sleepless nights so a resumed Niger Delta crisis would not add up to the other regional crises where the Federal Government was battling on all fronts to restore peace.
Otuaro said, “The visit here of our highly respected brother and Minister, Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Akpabio, has solved all possible problems that we would have had from about 3 days from expiration of the ultimatum. Your coming is a saving grace for all of us and I want to thank you for that.
“Our country is at the threshold of self-implosion. If you look at the six geopolitical zones in the country, other than the Niger Delta region where the Minister and all of us come from, everywhere else is in turmoil. Talk about Middle Belt, North East, North West, South West, South East,… everywhere is in turmoil. You can’t imagine crises everywhere in the country with the Federal Government fighting on all fronts. I don’t think it makes sense.”
He continues, “In 2016, to the effect that as a government, we weren’t able to pay net salaries of our civil servants,” adding: “It was so bad and God forbid us from returning to such situation and circumstances. So we want the substantive board of the NDDC inaugurated as soon as practicable.”
Speaking on forensic audit for the NDDC, the Deputy Governor said inauguration of the NDDC board won’t stop the forensic audit.
The Deputy Governor, who requested responses “beyond rhetorics” from the Niger Delta Minister, Senator Akpabio had lamented at Oporoza: “We cannot explain why an institution (NDDC), which is a product of an Act is being run in flagrant abuse of the power/law establishing it in the guise of a forensic audit”.
“There is no philosophy or phenomenon that forecloses a statutory organization for the sake of an audit. You cannot audit your today, you cannot audit your tomorrow. Forensic audit, in my opinion, is meant to look at errors of omission and commission, if any, hitherto committed, not the future. As I’m standing here today, can I audit my future? So the board should be in place”, Otuaro asserted.
Otuaro clarified that “my averments which represent the position of Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, Governor of Delta State, do not only reinforce the position of High Chief Government Ekpemupolo aka Tompolo but reflects the expressed position of the Ijaw National Congress, the Urhobos, Itsekiri, Isoko, Ndokwa and other stakeholders in the entire Niger Delta.
“In a representative democracy such as ours, the voice of the people should be listened to. There must be a substantive board for the NDDC for goodness sake”, Otuaro submitted.