By Perez Brisibe
Leaders from the Niger Delta region have faulted claims by Minister for Niger Delta Affairs, Chief Godswill Akpabio that it was the turn of Bayelsa State to produce the next managing director of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC and not Delta as constituted in the current board.
The leaders in a statement, Thursday while reacting to Chief Akpabio’s comment as published in some national dailies, accused him of allegedly sowing seeds of discord to advance his agenda following opposition to the Interim Management Committee he had earlier set up for the commission.
The leaders in the statement signed by Chief Demiebi Jackson, stated that fact-check has shown that the minister lied on his claims.
The statement reads: “Public records from the NDDC show that after Delta State produced the MD for a total of five years, Bayelsa State held the MD position thereafter.
“From the records, Engr Godwin Omene was MD at inception from 2001 to 2003 when he resigned. Then, Timi Alaibe from Bayelsa State who was the Executive Director Finance and Administration, stepped in as Acting MD until Emmanuel Aguariavwodo was appointed to complete Delta State’s term from 2003-2006.
“Timi Alaibe again stepped in as Acting MD and was subsequently confirmed as MD in 2006 and held the position until 2009, representing Bayelsa State.
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“Thereafter, Rivers State produced the MD with Chibuzor Ugoha from 2009 to 2011 and Chris Oboh from 2011 to 2013.
“Akwa Ibom was next with Dan Abia from 2013 to 2015 and Nsima Ekere from 2016 to 2018,” adding that it is now the turn of Delta State, following the rotational policy for the MD position among the four major oil-producing states.”
According to Chief Demiebi”Where then is the truth in Akpabio’s claim that Bayelsa State has not had two full years as MD”?
“Not only is the minister’s claim that Bayelsa State has not held the position for long untrue, the claim that Omene spent four years is also untrue, because Omene spent just two years, from 2001 to 2003 while Agwariavwodo spent three years, from 2003 to 2006, bringing the total for Delta State to about five years.”
The group also took up the statement credited to the minister that Delta state should take the chairmanship position rather than the MD position, noting that “since Delta State is entitled to both, it should be given both or be allowed to take the one of its choice.
“It is the prerogative of Delta State to decide. The minister should not try to make an issue out of this as a means to executing his personal agenda.
“Otherwise, how is it an issue that a state which is due to have both positions of Chairman and MD is being vilified for opting for the MD position.
“Indeed, Akpabio’s statement on the choice made by Delta State when he said that Delta State opted for the ‘bigger position’ contradicts his own statement that Delta State should not produce the MD.
“The MD position has been rotated round all the four major oil-producing states and it is now Delta State’s turn to produce the MD and nothing should be done to shortchange Delta State in this regard.”