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Amnesty package: Yar’Adua reaches out to opposition govs in oil producing states

BY JIDE AJANI

PRESIDENT Umar MusaYar’Adua has reached out to governors in the opposition political party in oil producing states pursuant to actualizing his resolve to end the restiveness in the oil-rich region, Sunday Vanguard can reveal.

One of the ways Yar’Adua is going about this is by conceding the nomination of members to the board of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, to governors in the region, including those of the four states controlled by the opposition. The position of chairman goes to Bayelsa State.

The nomination to the office of the chairman of the commission was ceded to Vice president Goodluck Jonathan after President Yar’Adua reportedly pressurised Governor Timi Silva to allow Jonathan make the nomination.

A source in Bayelsa State said “but for the intervention of President Yar’Adua, Governor Silva was never going to allow the vice president make the nomination”.

The incoming managing director of NDDC from Rivers State is the choice of Governor Rotimi Amaechi. But Sunday Vanguard has discovered that President Yar’Adua’s move is not going down well with PDP leaders in those states.

Their grouse is that past nominations to the boards of government parastatals, agencies and departments (and, in this instance, NDDC) in states not controlled by a governor of PDP extraction, had always been the exclusive preserve of the president working through the instrumentality of PDP leaders in the nine states of the Niger Delta region.

The practice during the eight years of former President Olusegun Obasanjo was that states not governed by PDP had always enjoyed the benevolence of juicy ministries of agencies of government.

But President Yar’Adua is determined to proceed with his paradigm shift. In fact, President Yar’Adua was said to have made it clear at a meeting with state governors that “it was not right for somebody to sit in Abuja and pick what the law describes as representatives of the states.”

Sunday Vanguard was reliably informed by an ally to President Yar’Adua that the latter was said to have insisted that at a time when the Niger Delta Amnesty package was being worked on, “a bottom up approach to issues of representation would also go a long way in assuaging the fears of the people of that region.


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