By Eseoghene Emuke
The Zone F of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) has appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to obey the law establishing the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) by inaugurating the board screened and cleared by the National Assembly.
NUJ posited that the continued stay of a sole administrator as against the law creating the interventionist agency undermines the people of the Niger Delta region and her development needs.
Zone F of NUJ which comprises of all the States in the Niger Delta region made the demand weekend in a communique after its meeting held in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
The communique signed by Zone F Vice President, Comrade Opaka Dokubo and Zone F Secretary, Comrade John Angese, also berated the President Buhari-led Federal Government for the delay in the completion of the “all-important East West Road” which crisscross the states of the Niger Delta to the northern region of the country.
The Union demanded for the completion of the East-West Road before the expiration of the Road.
It reads, “The Zone resolved to henceforth, to hold the Niger Delta Ministry accountable through the monitoring, inspection and evaluation of various projects embarked upon by the Ministry.
“It also called on the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, to sit up to its lawful functions, and particularly, ensure that capacities of the Niger Delta people are enhanced for optimal development of the region.
“Furthermore, the meeting called on the Federal Government under President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately inaugurate a lawfully and duly constituted Board of the NDDC in order not to continue to undermine the Act creating the Commission.
“The union equally frowned at the continued delay by the Federal Government to finish the construction of the East-West Road. It therefore, called on the Government to declare a state of emergency on the Road, particularly, the Eleme section, to ease the suffering of the people using the road.
“The union recognised and commended the Governors in the South-South Geopolitical Zone that have continued to support the various State Councils of the NUJ to meet up with their statutory mandates.
“It singled out the Governors of Akwa-Ibom State, Udom Emmanuel, Bayelsa State, Douye Diri, Delta State, Ifeanyi Okowa and Edo State, Godwin Obaseki; while appealling to the Governors of Cross River State, Prof. Ben Ayade and Rivers State, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike to be more magnanimous, gracious and kindly disposed to issues affecting the NUJ in particular, and media practitioners at large, in their States.
“On a special note, the Zonal Executive Council commended the Akwa-Ibom State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Comrade Ini Emem Obong for supporting the Zone F towards the successful hosting of its meeting.
“The NUJ urge politicians in the South-South not to heat up the polity as we draw close to campaigns ahead of the 2023 general elections. The people are traumatised enough as a result of economic hardship and general insecurity bedeviling the country and may not be able to endure a political crisis.
“As a follow-up, it implored the electorates to avoid undermining the Electoral Laws and Guidelines through vote selling and therefore warn them to be mindful of those who would come to manipulate them to buy their votes, and consequently, their welfare.
“The union equally commended the Zonal leadership for the peaceful and successful conduct of elections in five State Councils within the Zone; while thanking the members, asked them to continue to support and advance the peace template of the leadership.
“Zonal leaders commended the Zonal Executive under the leadership of Comrade Opaka Dokubo for efforts made thus far to keep the Zone together in peace and harmony. The union ratified the plans by the Zonal leadership to hold a Zonal Media Summit, using it as a platform to initiate conversation with critical stakeholders and other credible voices towards a politically stable and economically developed region.
“As prelude to the Summit, the Zonal leaders agreed to open up engagements with critical stakeholders and partners on the need to build a formidable Zone devoid of self devaluation and internal crisis”.