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NDDC BOARD: Akpabio’s Response To Women, Youths, Irresponsible – CSO

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Civil Society Organisation known as Niger Delta Peoples’ Forum, Monday, condemned Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, for asking Niger Delta women and youths to channel their grievances to President Buhari concerning the inauguration of NDDC Board.

Describing the Minister’s reply to the women and youths demand for NDDC Board inauguration as “another embarrassing volte-face,” Chief Boma Ebiakpo, National Chairman, Niger Delta Peoples’ Forum chided Senator Akpabio for trying to exonerate himself from an unnecessary impasse he created and is rather diverting attention and blaming the President for the delay in inaugurating the NDDC Board.

The statement reads in part, “The attention of Niger Delta Peoples’ Forum (NDPF) has been drawn to, yet again, another embarrassing volte-face by the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, as reported in The Nation newspaper of December 4, 2021, under the headline “NDDC Board: channel your grievances to Buhari, Akpabio tells women, youths.”

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“In what now appears to be an inelegant pattern of backtracking and eating of his words, Senator Akpabio, in a reply letter to Wailing Women of Niger Delta (WWND) who accused him of delaying the inauguration of NDDC Board, asked the women to channel their grievances to his boss, President Muhammadu Buhari.

“The Minister, whose reply, dated November 30, 2021, was signed by his ministry’s Director, Planning, Research and Statistics, Alfred A. Abah, said “kindly redirect your appeal to the President, Federal Republic of Nigeria for his kind consideration.”

“Earlier, on September 3, 2021, Akpabio sent a similar letter to youths under the auspices of the South-South Youth Initiative (SSYI) who were demanding immediate inauguration of NDDC Board.

READ ALSO: NDDC: Akpabio Has Caused Huge Damage To N’Delta, He Should Be Sacked – Monarch

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“This, to say the least, is most preposterous of a serving Minister to strenuously labour to exonerate himself from an unnecessary impasse he created and is rather diverting attention and blaming the President for the delay in inaugurating the NDDC Board when he effortlessly directs the women and youths of Niger Delta to “channel your grievances to Buhari.”

“Yet, this is the same supervising Minister of the NDDC, who, through an official memo in 2019 recommended to the President the suspension of the inauguration of the substantive Board, which President Buhari had appointed, and which was confirmed by the Senate in November of 2019.

“Recall that in a similar pattern, Senator Godswill Akpabio, as reported in The Nation of November 2, 2021, under the headline “It’s not part of my job to constitute NDDC Board, says Akpabio,” also attempted to absolve himself from the delay in inaugurating the NDDC Board. In the above report, the Niger Delta Affairs Minister, Godswill Akpabio spoke through his Media Adviser, Jackson Udom.

“Subsequently, in a belated attempt by the Minister, in a statement published in ThisDay ten days later, on Friday, November 12, 2021 which he personally signed, titled “Re: Formation of NDDC Board Not Part of My Responsibilities,” Senator Akpabio labored to extricate himself and walk back his statement that “It’s not part of my job to constitute NDDC Board.”

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“The Minister’s futile attempt to confuse Niger Deltans and exonerate himself from the inexplicable delay in inaugurating the NDDC Board, is embarrassingly puerile because it contradicts what he has publicly said and done in the past two years on the saddle as supervising Minister of NDDC.

“Obviously aware of the fever pitch tension the inexplicable continued delay in inaugurating the substantive board of NDDC is causing in the region after two years of the forensic audit exercise and after three months of President Buhari’s receipt of the forensic audit report, coupled with Mr. President’s earlier promise to inaugurate the Board on receipt of the audit report, embattled Senator Akpabio, now attempts to distance himself from the NDDC Board impasse, which he created in the first place.

“We recall that Senator Akpabio as supervising Minister of the NDDC, through an official memo in 2019 recommended to the President the suspension of the inauguration of the substantive Board, which President Buhari had appointed, and which was confirmed by the Senate in November of 2019. The Minister instead in that same memo recommended to the President the running of NDDC with illegal interim management/sole administrator contraptions until the completion of the forensic audit, contrary to the provisions of NDDC Act.

“Unfortunately there has been unending irregularities and lack of due process in NDDC since October 2019 when Akpabio’s illegal interim management/sole administrator contraptions have been administering the Commission in flagrant violation of the NDDC Establishment Act of 2000.

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“As pointed out by Professor Benjamin Okaba, President of Ijaw National Congress (INC), under the interim management/sole administrator contraptions, “over N600bn payments have been made for emergency contracts; over 1,000 persons have been allegedly employed in the NDDC between January and July, 2020 without due process; while the 2020 budget was passed in December and N400bn was voted for the NDDC but the commission had spent over N190bn before the budget was passed, thereby violating the Procurement Act.”

“We also recall the Senate probe of NDDC in June/July of 2020 which revealed how the NDDC Interim Management Committee (IMC) blew N81.5 billion in just a couple of months on fictitious contracts, frivolities, and in breach of extant financial and public procurement laws. The Senate therefore passed a resolution recommending that the IMC should refund the sum of N4.923 Billion to the Federation Account, and that the IMC should be disbanded, while the substantive board should be inaugurated to manage the Commission in accordance with the law.

“Niger Deltans are very upset with the disdainful manner the region has been treated. There is increasing anger against the Federal Government and the APC in the Niger Delta region as a result of the very poor, biased, illegal and provocative actions of the Federal Government in the handling of matters concerning the NDDC and the Niger Delta region.

“Further checks on what the Minister has said in the past two years firmly contradict his latest lame claim that on “NDDC Board: channel your grievances to Buhari.”

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“On January 6 this year, Senator Godswill Akpabio, had stated that a substantive board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) will be inaugurated by April 2021 after the forensic audit of the commission. Akpabio stated this in Abuja while receiving the interim report of the commission from the forensic auditors. Said he, “By April this year, when we are done with the forensic audit, we will inaugurate a board for the Commission and the report of the forensic audit will be given to those agitating for it so that we can have a new management.”

“On the 4th of June this year, following the ultimatum by Niger Delta militants including Government Ekpemupolo (alias Tompolo), Niger Delta Affairs Minister, Godswill Akpabio stated that the process of inaugurating the NDDC Board starts with him as the supervising Minister and that he would fast-track the process of inaugurating the substantive Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) board. He stated this after an emergency consultative visit to Oporoza, headquarters of Gbaramatu Kingdom in Warri Southwest of Delta State. Traditional rulers from Bayelsa, Edo and Ondo states joined the Pere of Gbaramatu kingdom in Delta state as part of the consultative meeting.

“The minister, at the consultative meeting said: “There is a process and that process starts with me as the Minister of Niger Delta. The major thing is that we have committed to work together to make sure that we give what the people want. We have agreed that government through me, through my office will work very hard to fast-track the process. The consensus of stakeholders is that there is a need for more representation in the NDDC and so a board is needed”.

“Also on June 29 this year, The Minister, who spoke while appearing on a live Radio Nigeria Audience participatory programme organized as part of the activities marking the second term of the Buhari Administration at the Radio House in Abuja stated that the “recommendations and outcome of the forensic audit of the activities of Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, would be implemented by the board to be inaugurated soon.”

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“The following day, June 30, Senator Godswill Akpabio, who fielded questions from State House correspondents at the Presidential Villa, Abuja said that action had been expedited on the process of inauguration of the board of NDDC.

“Stakeholders in the Niger Delta region are therefore understandably shocked and disappointed in what now appears to be another embarrassing attempt to shift responsibility and blame his boss, President Buhari, for the inexplicable delay in inaugurating the NDDC Board when he now gleefully states that “channel your grievances to Buhari,” contradicting what he has publicly said in the past two years.

“The continued illegality of the interim management committees/sole administrator contraptions which the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs foisted on NDDC since October 2019 in breach of the law, NDDC Establishment Act No. 6 of 2000, is a national embarrassment that should be of grave concern to President Buhari, most especially for his legacy when he leaves office in May 2023. For a President who stated in October 2019 when he received in audience the governors of the nine constituent states of the NDDC that “I try to follow the Act setting up these institutions especially the NDDC,” there is no better time than now, when his supervisory Minister of NDDC is serially eating his words, to end the illegality of further administering NDDC with a Sole Administrator which is in breach of NDDC Act – the law setting-up the Commission.

“Recall that President Buhari promised the nation on the 24th day of June 2021, while receiving the Ijaw National Congress (INC) at the State House in Abuja that the NDDC Board would be inaugurated as soon as the forensic audit report is submitted and accepted.

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The President said: ‘‘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.”

However, the Forensic audit report has been submitted to President Muhammadu Buhari since September 2, 2021 prompting the Ijaw National Congress to caution that “any further delay in the inauguration of the NDDC Board is a clear betrayal of trust and display of state insensitivity on Ijaw nation and Niger Delta region.”

READ ALSO: Akpabio Gives Reason Why Inauguration Of NDDC Board Delayed

“Presently, across the length and breadth of the Niger Delta region there are unending calls, demands and peaceful agitations of youths, men and women, political and traditional leaders and civil society organisations that the inauguration of the board of NDDC will ensure compliance with the NDDC Act, promote and sustain peace, equity and fairness, transparency and accountability, good governance and rapid development and transformation of the Niger Delta Region, and douse the tension of militancy as well as curtail the menace of insecurity in the region.

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“Rather than the unnecessary red-herring, Senator Akpabio should undo the damage he has caused to the region, hearken to the urgent call and legitimate demands of Niger Delta stakeholders, and get President Mohammadu Buhari to comply with the NDDC Act and inaugurate the NDDC Board without further delay to manage the Commission for the benefit of the people of the nine constituent Niger Delta states.”

(VANGUARD)

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Oshiomhole Clears Air On Calling Makinde ‘Over Hyped Social Media Gov’

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Adams Oshiomhole, former National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, APC, has reacted to tweets disparaging Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State.

Oshiomhole denied calling Makinde ‘an over hyped social media governor’.

The tweets ascribed to Oshiomhole denigrated the governor amongst other issues.

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However, the former, in a statement signed by his media aide, Victor Oshioke on Sunday, distanced himself from the handle.

The former APC National Chairman described the Twitter handle as fake.

According to the former Comrade governor, the handle is not operated by him or any of his aides.

The statement reads: “The attention of Comrade Adams Oshiomhole has been drawn to a series of tweets from a twitter account @A_Oshiomhole commenting on recent national issues. Specifically, there was a tweet that originated from this account on January 20, 2022 which seem to insinuate that H. E. Seyi Makinde, Executive Governor of Oyo State is an “Overhyped Social Media Governor.”

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READ ALSO: 2023: Defectors Declare APC Carcass In Delta

“We wish to alert the general public that this twitter account is fake as it is not operated by Comrade Adams Oshiomhole or any of his aides.”

The APC chieftain stressed that he holds Makinde in high esteem; hence has no reason to disparage him privately or publicly.

Let it be on record that all tweets that have originated from this account or will originate from it in the future do not represent the opinions or sentiments of Comrade Adams Oshiomhole.”

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Oshiomhole also disassociated himself from some Twitter handles carrying his names and photographs.

Some of them are: @adamsoshiomhole, @Oshiomhole, @adamsosh, @_adamsoshiomole, @adamsOshiomhol, @Adamsoshiomol4, @Adamsoshiomol5”

Disclosing his handle, the former APC National Chairman said his “official handle which will be verified soon is @aoshiomhole.”

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Matthew Ashimolowo Appoints Son As UK Resident Pastor, Hints At ‘Retirement’

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Founder of the Kingsway International Christian Centre, Pastor Matthew Ashimolowo, has appointed his first son, Tobi Ashimolowo, as Resident Pastor 2 of the KICC in London.

This is as he briefly hinted at his own ‘retirement’.

Tobi will be assisting his mother, Yemisi Ashimolowo, who has been the resident pastor at the church for a long time.

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A video posted on the Facebook Page of a Christian platform, Church Gist, on Sunday, showed Ashimolowo making the announcement to the excitement of the congregation.

In the video, Ashimolowo said, “In a very major way from this morning, we will no longer have one resident pastor. Yemisi has always been our resident pastor, so she will be Resident Pastor 1. Our new resident pastor is Pastor Tobi Ashimolowo. So, he is our Resident Pastor 2, he has to take some serious responsibility from now on. These guys are retiring their father.”

READ ALSO: I’ll Release Bayelsa Commissioner When Police Free My Father – kidnapper

He prayed that his son will be anointed and favoured by God, and that God will use him to draw his own generation to God, and to shake systems.

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Tobi is one of Ashimolowo’s two sons. He founded the Vault, a high-end store for men’s wear and accessories.

The KICC is a Pentecostal church which has branches in Europe, America, Africa including Nigeria. It started in North London in 1992 by Reverend Matthew Ashimolowo.

According to the KICC website, the church is “the largest growing church in Western Europe”. The church claims that it builds its members by investing in “the socio-economic and spiritual needs of multi-cultural communities and our overall desire and commitment to live our lives based on the teachings of Jesus Christ”.

(PUNCH)

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Nigeria vs Tunisia: NFF Under ‘Fire’ Over Buhari’s Video Conference With Super Eagles

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The Nigerian Football Federation, NFF, has come under fire for allowing President Muhammadu Buhari to address the Super Eagles.

Buhari had addressed the Super Eagles of Nigeria via a video conference, ahead of their match against the Carthage Eagles of Tunisia.

The Super Eagles will today tackle Tunisia in a knockout stage match at 8pm in the ongoing African Cup of Nations, AFCON, in Cameroon.

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The President spoke with Coach Augustine Eguavoen, Captain Ahmed Musa , Amaju Pinnick, NFF President, and others

Mentioning two of the players, Kelechi Iheanacho and Moses Simon, President Buhari urged the Super Eagles to continue making Nigerians happy, not only by winning the second round match, but to eventually lift the trophy.

Reacting, former presidential aide, Reno Omokri, wondered why NFF allowed Buhari speak with the Super Eagles before an important match.

READ ALSO: AFCON: Eguavoen Bars Pinnick, Others From Super Eagles’ Dressing Room, Gives Reason

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The socio-political activist recounted how Buhari spoke with Anthony Joshua and Eagles in the last AFCON, and they all lost their matches.

In a tweet, Omokri wrote: “Oh oh! Why did NFF allow Buhari speak with the Super Eagles players now! What is wrong with NFF?

“Have the forgotten what happened after he spoke to Anthony Joshua? Or Eagles in the last AFCON? Please we want to win. This nonsense must not repeat itself!”

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