By Emma Keno
Leaders of All Progressives Congress (APC) from Itsekiri ethnic nationality in Delta State have called on President Muhammadu Buhari to correct what they described as gross marginalization of the party chieftains from the tribe in appointment into key federal positions and agencies.
The leaders also called on Mr. President to direct those involved in the ongoing forensic audit of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to fast-track the process to enable the government constitute a substantive board for the interventionist agency.
The Itsekiri APC leaders made the appeal on Tuesday during a crucial meeting of APC members and leaders from Itsekiri Nation in Koko, headquarters of Warri North Local Government Area of the state.
The meeting hosted by APC leader and one-time commissioner in the state, Dr. Alex Ideh, the Itsekiri leaders called for the appointment of an Itsekiri into the soon-to-be reconstituted NDDC board.
The meeting was attended by Ologbotsere of Warri and chieftain of the party, Chief Ayiri Emami and other top leaders of the party from Itsekiri Nation.
While blaming internal wrangling and disunity among leaders and members of the party in Itsekiri for the non-appointment of its members into key federal position, the leaders agreed to henceforth work together.
In his opening remark at the meeting, Dr. Ideh stressed the need for Itsekiri indigenes in APC to work in harmony and support one another to ensure that they were well represented and accorded necessary appointments at the federal level.
A communique issued at the end of the meeting, Itsekiri APC leaders appealed to Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) not to resume hostilities in the region and urged President Buhari to turn promises he made to the people of the region into action.
“We call on the Niger Delta Avengers – our own brothers to sheath their sword and give president Muhammadu Buhari the opportunity to look into all grievances just as we prevail on President Buhari to turn his words of promise into action so as to assuage the feelings of all Niger Delta People.
“In particular, we enjoin the president to give marching orders to those carrying out the Forensics Audit of the NDDC to conclude this exercise with dispatch so that an all-inclusive Board representing the true Oil producing peoples of the Niger-Delta can be out in place.
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“In doing this, we advise that whatever position that comes to Delta State must be given to the peoples of the three Is – Itsekiri, Isoko or Ijaw the so called neglected peoples who produce the bulk of the Oil from Delta State”, the communique partly read.
The Itsekiri APC also enjoined the national leadership of the party to zone the presidency to south in the 2023 Presidential election in the interest of justice and national unity.
They posited that APC can only win Delta if members and leaders from the three senatorial districts resolve to close rank and work in unity ahead of the 2023 governorship election in the state.
“We commend the efforts of the Gov. Mai Mala Buni – led interim caretaker Commitee of our Party the APC in coming out with a timetable for the ward, Local Government and State Congress and promise our full cooperation.
“We call on all our people in Delta State, to cooperate with the Chief Oyegun led Peace and Reconciliation Commitee as well as the Hon . Idris Wase led Contact And Strategy Commitee in ensuring that total peace harmony returns to our Party In Delta State.
“We preach a magnanimous leadership of our party so that all APC members irrespective of their tendencies can enjoy the benefits of this democracy which had eluded us so far.
“On the Ward, Local Government and State Congress, we urge that consensus congresses should be the foundation of intra party building blocks, to avoid strife and conflicts that hamper internal cohesion. If we must win the next Delta State Elections, we must avoid fighting ourselves”, it further stated.