By Jimitota Onoyume
PORT HARCOURTâ€”AS the in-fighting among some members of the new board of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, rages, the agencyâ€™s Executive Director, Finance and Administration, Pastor Power Aginighan, has been advised to take steps to calm restiveness on the board.
Making this suggestion in an online mail to Vanguard, an umbrella body of youth structures driving agitation in the region, Joint Revolutionary Council, JRC, said since Aginighan had served on a previous board, he should have what it takes to resolve the issues at stake.
The group advised him to bring his experience on the running of NDDCâ€™s matters to bear on the raging battle between the Managing Director, Chibuzor Ugwoha and Executive Director of Project, Architect Esoetuk Etteh.
The groupâ€™s statement signed by Cynthia Whyte, described the tension in the board as a product of conflicting interests between the chief executive and the executive director of project.
“On the matter of NDDC, it presents a pretty tricky situation because we do not see this as a power tussle per se, but a conflict of interest between two people who are clearly not very experienced in dealing with a government agency such as this.
â€œThe truth is, development in the Niger Delta is currently being stalled by the ego-battles between these two.Â First, we hear the Managing Director, Chibuzor Ugwoha, was said to have accused Architect Esoetuk Etteh of awarding 44 consultancy contracts without due process.
â€œMr. Ugwoha and some of his loyalists were said to have commenced a string of calumnious campaigns against the person of Architect Etteh.Â Architect Etteh, in turn, accused Chibuzor Ugwoha of awarding more than 60 contracts for projects, 51 of which were located in Rivers State alone.”
â€œThese contracts awarded by Mr. Ugwoha were said to be worth N5 billion.Â There are those who complain that Mr Chibuzor Ugwoha, whose appointment was recommended and endorsed byÂ Rivers State governor, Rotimi Amaechi, is suddenly converting the commission into an extension of Rivers State government rather than focusing on the region-wide mandate.
â€œThey say this is the reason 51 contracts out of 60 were approved for Rivers State alone.Â The series of accusations and counter-accusations have made it difficult for many to come to grips with the real and true issues on ground.
â€œWe are, however, hopeful that the presence of Elder PZ Aginighan on the board of the commission will continue to help in calming down frayed nerves as he has been a long time top management member of the commissionâ€™s board.”