Deacon Kingsley Burutu Otuaro

Delta State deputy governor, Deacon Kingsley Otuaro says Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) board’s inauguration will not stop its forensic audit touted for the delay, adding that “Senator Godswill Akpabio’s humble visit to Oporoza deflected another Niger Delta crisis/national challenge.”

Otuaro spoke to newsmen in Warri following the meeting in Oporoza, Gbaramatu Kingdom between Niger Delta Affairs Minister, Senator Godswill Akpabio and Tompolo with other Niger Delta stakeholders over Tompolo’s recent 7-day ultimatum to inaugurate the NDDC Board long run on interim leadership against law.

The Deputy Governor, who requested responses “beyond rhetorics” from the Niger Delta Minister, Senator Akpabio had lamented at Oporoza: “We cannot explain why an institution (NDDC), which is a product of an Act is being run in flagrant abuse of the power/law establishing it in the guise of a forensic audit”.

“There is no philosophy or phenomenon that forecloses a statutory organization for the sake of an audit. You cannot audit your today, you cannot audit your tomorrow. Forensic audit, in my opinion, is meant to look at errors of omission and commission, if any, hitherto committed, not the future. As I’m standing here today, can I audit my future? So the board should be in place”, Otuaro asserted.

Otuaro clarified that “my averments which represent the position of Senator Dr Ifeanyi Okowa, Governor of Delta State, do not only reinforce the position of High Chief Government Ekpemupolo aka Tompolo but reflects the expressed position of the Ijaw National Congress, the Urhobos, Itsekiri, Isoko, Ndokwa and other stakeholders in the entire Niger Delta.

“In a representative democracy such as ours, the voice of the people should be listened to. There must be a substantive board for the NDDC for goodness sake”, Otuaro submitted.

The Deputy Governor, however commended Sen. Akpabio “for humbly initiating a visit to Tompolo and other stakeholders for a meeting in Oporoza hosted by HRM Oboro Gbaraun II, Aketekpe, Agadagba, the Pere of Gbaramatu Kingdom with royal fathers from Edo, Ondo and Bayelsa States. Otuaro said: “The visit here of our highly respected brother and Minister, Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Akpabio, has solved all possible problems that we would have had from about 3 days from expiration of the ultimatum. Your coming is a saving grace for all of us and I want to thank you for that”.

Otuaro noted that the Niger Delta was inching towards possible oil infrastructure breaches like happened “in 2016, to the effect that as a government, we weren’t able to pay net salaries of our civil servants”, adding: “It was so bad and God forbid us from returning to such situation and circumstances. So we want the substantive board of the NDDC inaugurated as soon as practicable”.

Otuaro said Delta State Government and traditional rulers spent sleepless nights so a resumed Niger Delta crisis would not add up to  the other regional crises where the Federal Government was battling on all fronts to restore peace.

“Our country is at the threshold of self-implosion. If you look at the six geopolitical zones in the country, other than the Niger Delta region where the Minister and all of us come from, everywhere else in in turmoil. Talk about Middle Belt, North East, North West, South West, South East,… everywhere is in turmoil. You can’t imagine crises everywhere in the country with the Federal Government fighting on all fronts. I don’t think it makes sense”, Otuaro pleaded.

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