By Jimitota Onoyume, Festus Ahon & Ochuko Akuopha
WARRI – YOUTHS of oil producing ethnic nationalities in Delta State, Wednesday,besieged the premises of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC in Warri, demanding the appointment of Delta State descents as the next Managing Director and Chairman of the Commission.
The youths who displayed placards which bore inscriptions such as “Delta State must produce NDDC MD and Chairman”, “Itsekiri youths demand NDDC MD and Chairman” “Urhobo people people demand rights from FG”, “Ndokwa youths demands equal rights to produce NDDC MD and Chairman” “Isoko youths demand NDDC MD and Chairman” “FG follow NDDC Act for appointments of MD and Chairman”, matched from the gate of Don Donmigos College through Shell gate to the NDDC office in Warri chanting songs of disenchantment.
They warned that they could not guarantee what would happen to oil production in the State and facilities if their demands are not met.
Speaking during the protest, the President of the Ijaw Youth Council, Comrade Eric Omare noted that: “It is the right of the major oil producing States which are Delta, Bayelsa, Rivers and Akwa Ibom to produce the MD of the Commission. The reason is that it is major oil producing states that has the right to produce the MD.
“From 2001 to 2018, all the major oil producing states, Delta, Bayelsa, Rivers and Akwa Ibom have produced the MD. Logically, it follows that the MD will start from the state which the rotation started from which is Delta.
“Not only that Delta State started the rotation, presently, Delta is the state with the highest quantum of oil production. It therefore means that it is the turn of Delta State to produce the next MD and that is the proper thing to do.
“If we don’t do what is proper, if we don’t follow the rule of law, it will create room for anarchy and disunity. If the rotation is strictly followed as it ought to be, it will engender peace in the Niger Delta.
“In the same vein, in the Act establishing NDDC, it is also the turn of Delta State to produce the Chairman of the board because the Chairman of the board rotates in alphabetical order. Cross River State which begins alphabet C produced the last Chairman, so D which is Delta is expected to produce the next Chairman of the board”.
Also speaking, President of the Isoko National Youth Assembly, INYA, Comrade Ovie Umuakpo stressed the need for the Federal Government to do the “needful so that we can continue to enjoy the relative peace we presently enjoy in Delta State to continue the production momentum in the state.”
President of the Urhobo Youth Council, UYC, Comrade Festus Otesiri said “we know that Edo, Abia and Ondo states have representation in the board but by the Act establishing NDDC, they don’t have the right to become the MD of the commission.
“We are appealing to the Federal Government because we don’t even know what the next step will be if we don’t have the MD and Chairman of NDDC board.”
Saying that the youths in the state had agreed to work towards sustaining the relative peace to ensure the massive oil production in the state, he said “we have have given the Federal Government what it want, so we are calling on them to give us what we want.”
On his part, the first National Vice President of Itsekiri National Youth Council, Godwin Itieye Okotie said “the NDDC Act has spelt it out, so we don’t want to be shortchanged. Let us not solve constitutional issues with political solutions”.
He said the protest would be taken to the National Assembly and the presidency if their demands are not met.