By Eseoghene Emuke
Youths of Urhobo Nation worldwide have written to President Muhammadu Buhari, appealing to him to urgently inaugurate the board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to fast-track the development of the oil-rich Niger Delta region.
The youths under the aegis of Urhobo Progress Union (UPU) Worldwide, Youth Wing, lamented that the continued delay in the inauguration of the board is further under-developing the region and impoverishing the people.
UPU Youth Wing President, Comrade Efemena Umukoro, made the appeal on Thursday in an open letter addressed to Mr. President.
Umukoro noted that Urhobo people were in full support of the action of President Buhari to unearth the mismanagement of the commission’s resources.
He posited that now that the forensic audit had been completed, President Buhari should inaugurate the board already screened by the Nigerian Senate.
Umukoro, however, warned against using the inauguration of the NDDC board to play politics at the detriment of the people of the region.
“We are appealing to our President, His Excellency, Muhammadu Buhari, that the already screened NDDC board by the Nigeria Senate should be inaugurated immediately.
“Members of the board appointed by President Buhari had been diligently screened by members of the National Assembly. Nobody should play politics with the development of the region.
“They were screened with tax payers’ money and the board was well constituted by Mr. President with all Niger Delta States well represented on the screened board. The Buhari-led government needs to hit the ground running with the development of Niger Delta”, Umukoro stated.
He also called on the Federal Government to make report of the forensic audit public to enable the region know her true enemies.
“The Urhobo people are peace loving, accommodating and want the overall growth of the Niger Delta region and Nigeria at large, thus we are standing by President Buhari on the forensic audit so as to properly account for what has gone into the commission.
“We are also interested to know how the funds have been managed overtime for proper accountability in view to identify the true enemies of our region and the sabotours within whom have milked NDDC dry through diversion of funds, abandonment of projects, substandard jobs and over estimation.
“As a people we’re right behind Mr. President to get the people under-developing our region since the formation of the board. As the Apex Youth body of Urhobo people worldwide, we demand that the substantive board of NDDC be inaugurated immediately as promise by the Presidency.
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“We are also demanding that the report of the forensic audit submitted by the Niger Delta Minister, Senator Akpabio, should be made public for the people of Niger Delta to see.
“We insist that there should be no cover up or sacred cows in the implementation of the outcome of the forensic audit. All those found wanting irrespective of his or her party should be brought to book without fear or favour.
“Mr. President should know that the people of Niger Delta are peace loving but can be violent if pushed further because our people can’t be taken for granted any more.
“The NDDC board should not be used for Political patronage or Abuja politicking because the board can’t be run by just a single individual without input from other States in the region”, the Urhobo youth leader added.