The circus in the oil region of campaigning for the confirmation of an acting managing director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) is back. Now, a group wants the head of the Interim Management Committee, Professor Kemebradikumo Pondei, who just took office, to be confirmed by the presidency. Groups start by welcoming a new management, even if they are on acting capacity and call them saviors. Next, they campaign that the committee be retained, even if the present committee is expected to audit the Commission and set the rules of engagement and leave.
No, the groups would want a referee to become the coach. Despite the fact that no interim management has been retained, the groups and their sponsors don’t seem to bather but would keep campaigning until a new management is appointed and they rephrase their placards and start afresh.
Making the commendation during a press conference in Port Harcourt, the President of the Niger Delta Peace and Development Advocates, Comrade Kelvin Ebi Thomas, said the group resolved to pass a vote of confidence on the IMC because of its commitment to the on-going forensic audit.
In a resolution jointly signed by the President, as well as the Secretary, Ambassador Jude Taunu and a legal practitioner, Mr Iheanyi Amadi, the group appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to confirm the appointment of Prof Pondei to make him the substantive Managing Director/ Chief Executive Officer of the NDDC.
Thomas declared: “We have no doubt that Prof. Pondei as the substantive Managing Director of NDDC will deliver and as well bring good and sustainable development in our dear Niger Delta region.”
He said the group was also urging all religious, traditional leaders, various youth groups, NGO’s and stakeholders in the Niger Delta region to fully support the Pondei-led IMC.
Thomas remarked that as those campaigning for peace and development of the Niger Delta region, they had reviewed the activities of the NDDC and agreed to take a stand on the allegation of N5.5 billion contract said to have been awarded by the IMC.
He affirmed: “We want to categorically state that we have done a “fact check” on the allegation that the Niger Delta Development Commission fraudulently awarded a N5.5 Billion Naira contract to a Port Harcourt-based company Sinora Concepts Services Limited. The alleged contract was for supposed to be for the procurement of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for health workers in the fight against Corona virus in the nine member states of the Commission.
“Based on our findings, we, therefore, declare the said allegation is false and baseless. The truth is that the allegation is the handiwork of faceless and wicked politicians using paid groups to tarnish the image of the Prof. Pondei-led IMC in the eyes of the public. We are aware that they want to sabotage his good works and as well stop the on-going forensic audit.”
Thomas said that the group would resist all paid media allegations against the Interim Management of the NDDC. “We are equally advising those behind these wicked and mischievous allegations to go to the media and withdraw them,” he said.
Niger Delta Youths Back NDDC, Insist on Forensic Audit
Youths from the nine states of the Niger Delta region have enjoined all lovers of peace and development to support the IMC of the NDDC as it drives the on-going forensic audit in the Commission.
Making the appeal during a solidarity visit to the NDDC headquarters in Port Harcourt, the leader of the Niger Delta Youth Coalition, Comrade Vitus Gabriel, said that those running away from probe must not be allowed to destabilise the IMC.
The youth leader urged the NDDC Acting Managing Director, Professor Kemebradikumo Pondei, to be firm and resolute in the quest to bring positive change to the Niger Delta for the benefit of the youths and other stakeholders.
He remarked: “We have been reading the baseless allegations from our detractors, who for some selfish reasons are working against the progress of the region. We appeal to them to allow the IMC to continue with its good works.
“We urge Prof Pondei and other members of the IMC to disregard the actions of the detractors and remain focused on their assignment.”
Also speaking, Comrade Dimie Siyaidon, said the youths were at NDDC to throw their weight behind the IMC and the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, stating: “We thank the minister for bringing on board transparent individuals to serve in the IMC.
“We have seen all kinds of frivolous allegations, especially in the online media, but we are not fooled because we know that those behind them are trying to cover their tracks.”
Siyaidon stated that youths and other stakeholders in the Niger Delta must insist that the IMC be allowed to do its work and provide the right environment for the forensic audit to be carried out without let or hindrance.
Addressing the youths, the Special Assistant to the NDDC Acting Managing Director on Youth Affairs, Ambassador Alfred Etuk, said the solidarity visit was timely and re-assuring.
He said: “We appreciate this show of support and understanding of what the IMC has done so far. When leadership changes, the laws also change. That is what is affecting a lot of corrupt persons in the system. I can assure you that the IMC is equal to the task of lifting the Niger Delta from the depth of underdevelopment in spite of the distractions from self-seeking individuals.”
Etuk said that some of the attacks on the IMC were on account of alleged non-supply of Lassa fever kits. The truth, however, is that the contract for the supply of these medical kits was awarded before the IMC came into office and the items were supplied.
He noted that Lassa fever drugs were donated to Edo and Ondo and Delta states by the previous NDDC management when there was Lassa fever outbreak in those states, noting that the affected governors called on the NDDC to intervene.
Etuk regretted that the enemies of the NDDC were equally attacking Senator Akpabio, who, he said, was out to transform the Niger Delta region. He remarked: “I can assure you that the minister is doing what no man in the Niger Delta has done. It takes courage to right the wrongs of the past because vested interests will want the status quo to remain. That is why the few bad eggs in the region are fighting back.”