By Soni Daniel, Regional Editor, North
President Goodluck Jonathan may soon announce the board of the Niger Delta Commission, NDDC, with Bassey Dan Abia, a former acting Chairman of the commission, as the substantive Managing Director.
A source close to the Presidency told Vanguard yesterday that the President Jonathan was favourably disposed to Abia’s nomination, which was made by Governor Godswill Akpabio, who is also the Chairman of the 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.
Abia is said to have been picked by the governor and presented to the Presidency given his background as a lawyer and someone who had once served on the board of the NDDC before it was disbanded by Jonathan.
But as the information filtered to town that Akpabio had made a case for Abia’s appointment, some Niger Delta groups have kicked against it, faulting the governor for putting forth Abia’s name, having been part of the discredited board sacked by Jonathan.
One of the groups, Niger Delta Alliance, NDA, in a strong petition forwarded to President Jonathan, warned that they would resist 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 Abia had lost the locus to serve as the MD of the commission having been earlier sent packing by the President over the misconduct of the former board.
The group said that while it was not opposed to Jonathan’s power to appoint people into public offices in the country, they would nonetheless move against the appointment of persons who have nothing to offer to the NDDC.
NDA said: “Mr. President, we have no quarrel with your right to appoint but we will certainly resist, in very strong terms and with all available resources, any attempt by selfish politicians who have mapped out their devious plans to take over the Niger Delta Development Commission for their selfish interest to the detriment of all of us.”
“We will march to the NDDC Headquarters and ensure that such people do not take over. We will disrupt the commission’s operations until there is a reversal of that perverse thinking.
“We will march to the National Assembly to hear us. We will pray to God above to remove them from the path of progress.
“Mr. President Sir, a sound board is strategic to proper management of human and material resources that will translate to the development of the area.
“We therefore humbly request that Mr. President be circumspect in the choice of the new management and board of Niger Delta Development Commission to avoid the recurring painfully unproductive service delivery of the past, where people like Barr Bassey Dan Abia served us,” NDA warned.
Contacted yesterday, Abia said he did not commit any infraction throughout his tenure as Akwa Ibom State Representative on the board of the commission and during his brief stint as the acting chairman of the NDDC.
Abia, who spoke to our correspondent from London, 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,” the former commissioner in AkwaIbomState, said.