An Ijaw group, the Western Ijaw Consultative Assembly, has maintained that it is the turn of the Ijaws to produce the Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC.
The group, in a monthly bulletin, accused some those it described as selfish politicians of denying the Ijaws their right of producing the next NDDC MD.
According to the group, the NDDC Act 2000 section 12 (1) recognizes the rotational formula for appointments into the NDDC board. It said despite the ACT’s provision, some selfish politicians have continued to flout this provision by throwing the position to the Urhobos.
It said the NDDC Acts provides that, “There shall be for the commission, a Managing Director, and two Executive Directors who shall be indigenes of Oil Producing Areas starting with member states of the Commission with the highest production quantum of oil and shall rotate among member states in order of production”.
The group said the next NDDC MD is “the rightful turn of the Ijaws and not the Urhobos, because the Ijaws are the highest producers of oil in Delta State.”
Similarly, the group took a swipe at the Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege, over what it described as being “anti-Ijaw and does not want our development and progress.”
IT said, “We are fully aware of over-zealous politicians working assiduously to maliciously push the Ijaws out of the political power play in Nigeria; we must come out to fight them with everything in us. Politicians like Ovie Omo-Agege and his cohorts have taken liberty of their position in the Federal Government to oppress us. He has shown that he is anti-Ijaw and does not want our development and progress.”
The group said it would not allow the deputy senate president nor any other politician to scuttle the opportunity of the Ijaws to produce the next NDDC MD.
According to the group in a statement, “The injustice, marginalization and oppression meted on the Ijaws have been too loud and painful. The most recent of this pains, is the deliberate exclusion of Ijaws from appointments and opportunities due us. We have been silent for a long time, but the recent provocative nomination of another Urhobo national as the Managing Director of the NDDC instead of an Ijaw person is the height of oppression. It is obvious that our silence and humility has been taken for stupidity.
“The NDDC was established to cater for the oil bearing/impacted communities of the Niger-Delta and appointments to the board is done rotationally to foster fairness, peace and harmony amongst the various nationalities of the region. From inception, the office of the Managing Director of the NDDC has been occupied twice by the Urhobos, an Urhobo man has also occupied the office of the Executive Director, whereas no Delta Ijaw person has ever been considered for the position of the Managing Director.
“Now, time and principle enshrined in the NDDC Establishment Act has offered the good people of Delta State the opportunity to produce at least another Managing Director. This rare opportunity offers any good leader with a sense of history to correct the ethnic bias inherent in the previous Board appointments.
“However, the very unique opportunity has been snatched by people parading themselves as close allies to the Federal Powers, to further their ungodly anti-Ijaw, anti-progress ploy for the sake of satisfying narrow, parochial ethnic agenda by the nomination of another Urhobo National for the third time to occupy the position of the Managing Director of the NDDC.
“This is not fair to the Ijaws that produce the bulk of the Oil and Gas in Delta State; neither does it engender inter-ethnic peace and harmony. How long are we going to allow this wickedness, oppression and marginalization to continue?
“For the Urhobos to produce the Managing Director again for the third time is an anathema to equity, fairness and justice. This is a slap and broad-day robbery on the Ijaws who contributed so much with blood of Ijaw youths for the creation of the NDDC. How do you explain the gross injustice of having one Urhobo man leaving the last board and another Urhobo man coming in to replace him? Where does that leave the Ijaws that currently generates “the highest production quantum of oil” in the scheme of things in Delta State?”
The group who said that its members “are also calling on President Muhammadu Buhari to correct this injustice as a matter of urgency, however petitioned the president, senate, oil bodies and several other human right and international bodies to wade into the matter.