Olorogun Bernard Okumagba, New Managing Director of NDDC

By Ovie Okpare

The people of Anioma in Delta North Senatorial District in Delta State have kicked against the appointment of the new board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Hundreds of protesters drawn from Ndokwa/Oshimili axis said they were rejecting the new composition of the board over their marginalization by the Federal Government in the appointment persons into the new board of NDDC.

This is even as the apex youth body of Isoko Ethnic Nationality hailed President Buhari over the composition of the new board for representing the interest and wishes of the people of the Niger Delta region.

But the protesters who stormed Asaba, the Delta State capital, on Monday urged the Niger Delta governors to prevail on President Buhari to reshuffle his appointment into the board.

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The people in a protest letter addressed to Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, the communities stated that the Federal Government has continued to treat them “like serfs that hew wood and draw water without any benefits whatsoever and we totally reject it.”

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The letter, a copy of which was made available to our correspondent in Asaba, was signed by the chairman, John Obi; organising secretary, Ben Elu; and Chux Ozulu, member.

The letter claimed that since the inception of NDDC in the year 2000, the Ndokwa/Oshimili axis of the state is the only oil producing area that has not benefitted in terms of appointment into the board of the interventionist agency.

According to the letter, other oil bearing communities including Urhobo, Isoko, Itsekiri and Ijaw have enjoyed the privilege, at various times, of being appointed into the board, lamenting that Urhobo and Isoko which have been appointed five and four times respectively in the past, were once again considered for appointment in the new board.

“Your Excellency, it may more interest you to be reminded that even with this five offensive demography, the current Deputy Senate President, Minister of State for Niger Delta, chairman of NSITF board and the outgoing NDDC executive director (projects) are all Urhobos.

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“To ensure that the plot to take everything to Urhoboland succeeds, the proponents had to sacrifice NDDC board chairman due to Delta State to Edo State whose tenure comes only after Delta State. It was this conspiracy and betrayal that made it possible for them to continue to have everything belonging to everybody,” it stated.

However, the Senior Political Adviser to Governor Okowa, Mr. Funkekeme Solomon, who received the protesters at the Government House appealed to them to give peace a chance, assuring that their message will be conveyed to the appropriate quarters.

Meanwhile, Isoko youths through its apex umbrella body, the Isoko National Youth Assembly (INYA), commended President Buhari on the appointment of Bernard Okumagba (Urhobo) as Managing Director of NDDC, and Jones Erue (Isoko) as Delta State representative on the board.

The group in a statement by the Director of Media and Strategy, Eniwake Orogun, the umbrella youth body of the Isoko nation assured them of their unalloyed support.

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According to the statement the group expressed optimism that Okumagba and the new board would work to ensure that the Niger Delta region is lifted from its comatose state, adding: “We are hopeful that you will use your good offices to improve the lots of Delta state and the Niger Delta.”


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