By Soni Daniel
Abuja—Former Acting Chairman of the Niger Delta Development Commission, Mr. Bassey Dan-Abia, has dismissed petitions against his choice for the top job as the handwork of political jobbers.
Dan-Abia, whose name has been pencilled down for appointment as the substantive MD of the commission by President Goodluck Jonathan, is facing opposition from some Niger Delta groups, which claim that he was sacked last year from the Larry-Koinyan board that failed to perform despite huge sums of money at their disposal.
One of the groups, which calls itself Niger Delta Alliance, NDA, said in a petition to President Jonathan that they would do everything possible to stall the emergence of Dan-Abia as the NDDC boss, given his recent past with the commission.
But Dan-Abia told Vanguard that his traducers were political jobbers who had no genuine case against him to warrant being dropped by the Presidency.
The former Attorney-General of Akwa Ibom State noted that those who wrote the petition against him were hired thugs meant to cause unnecessary tension and create fear where none exists.
Dan-Abia, who had served twice as Akwa Ibom State Representative on the board of the commission, stated that he did not commit any infraction throughout his tenure and during his brief stint as the acting chairman of the NDDC.
He said that the petition against him was borne out of ignorance and pettiness, arguing that there was nothing like collective responsibility for offences said to have been committed by a board on individual members.
Abia said: “Those writing petitions against me should be bold enough to state clearly what they claim I did wrong while serving on the NDDC board or shut up forever.
“My records are very clear and I am ready to defend them at any point in time.”
A source close to the Presidency told Vanguard that President Jonathan was favourably disposed to Dan-Abia’s nomination, which was made by Governor Godswill Akpabio, who is also the Chairman of Peoples Democratic Party Governors’ Forum.
The source said that barring some petitions, which have been raised against the nomination of Abia and other nominees, the President could unfold the membership of the new board any moment from now.
One of the groups, Niger Delta Alliance, NDA, in a strong petition forwarded to President Jonathan, warned that they would resist Dan-Abia’s appointment with open protest and make it impossible for him to assume the headship of the commission given his link with the past leadership that mismanaged the agency.
NDA said in the petition jointly signed by its Chairman, Dr. Allen Chua Anga and Secretary, Orok Didi Pius, that Dan-Abia had lost the moral right to serve as the MD of the commission having been earlier sent packing by the President over the misconduct of the former board.