.NDDC board, SONPED

By Festus Ahon, ASABA

Urhobo APC Leaders/Members in Delta South has frowned at media reports credited one Mr Awala Gbubemi on behalf of Delta South Senatorial District APC Solidarity Front which allegedly attempted to exclude legally qualified Deltans from appointment into the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC.

A statement signed by Mr Benjamin Eboh & Mr Gabriel Okandeji on behalf of Urhobo APC Leaders / Members who are Indigenes of Okere Urhobo and Agbarha Warri Kingdoms said President Buhari had already nominated aboard for the commission and screened by the Senate

The statement read: “We are not surprised that after the truth has been exposed on their lies and evil agenda, the people behind the propaganda have suddenly vanished into thin air to make statements using non-existent groups.

“It is interesting that the latest statement by this non-existent group has finally exposed the whole purpose of the clique’s campaign, which is to attempt to exclude legally qualified  Deltans from appointment into the NDDC Board assuming there are vacancies.

“The NDDC Act is the law that governs appointments into the NDDC Board. The NDDC Act in Part 1, Section 2(1) B requires a member of the NDDC Governing Board to come from an “Oil Producing Area”. An area is a definite geographical space bound by its recognition in the constitution as administrative space. Thus, an area is a state, a local government area or a senatorial district.

“In the context of the NDDC act, an oil-producing area is coterminous with an oil-producing local government area. Warri South Local Government Area as a whole is an oil-producing area. 

“All indigenes of Warri South Local Government Area whether they are Urhobo, Itsekiri or Ijaw are eligible for appointment into the NDDC Board. Similarly, all indigenes of all other Oil Producing Local Government Areas in Delta State (whether they are Urhobo, Ijaw, Isoko, Itsekiri or Ndokwa) are eligible. 

“Nobody can be excluded on the basis of the tribe as long as he or she is from an oil-producing local government area in Delta State. The non-existent group made innuendoes and remarks that claimed that there are other indigenous tribes in the Delta Central Senatorial District that have been denied their political rights in those areas. Yet, if there are, is it not their duty to fight for their rights? Must their negligence become our burden, if indeed they do exist? 

“We, indigenous Urhobos of Delta South Senatorial District occupy two legally recognized indigenous and independent kingdoms. These are the Okere Urhobo Kingdom of Warri South Local Government Area with our traditional ruler, the Oroseun of the Okere Urhobo Kingdom and Agbarha Warri Kingdom of Warri South Local Government Area with our traditional ruler the Ovie of Agbarha Warri. 

“In addition, our two Urhobo Kingdoms in Warri have six Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) delineated wards in Warri South Local Government Area out of the total 12 INEC wards in Warri South Local Government Area. We, indigenous Urhobos in the Okere Urhobo and Agbarha Warri Kingdoms with 6 INEC Wards in Warri South Local Government Area have the same political rights accruable to all other indigenes in Warri South Local Government and in the Delta South Senatorial District. 

“In their desperate bid to deceive unsuspecting Deltans and Nigerians of their motives, this group of deceivers recruited one Mrs Mary Obrutche to attend and sign their so-called communique on behalf of the Urhobo Ethnic Nationality in Delta South Senatorial District. 

“Mrs Obrutche does not represent us and was not mandated by us, the Urhobos of Delta South Senatorial District, to sign/agree to a  “Communique” that proposed to exclude us from any Federal appointment which is our right under the Nigerian Constitution and the NDDC Act. 

“Mrs. Mary Obrutche is not an Urhobo indigene of Warri South Local Government or Delta South Senatorial District. She is not from the Okere Urhobo Kingdom. She is not from the Agbarha Warri Kingdom. She was never mandated by us to speak on behalf of us – the Urhobos of Delta South Senatorial District. She is from Uwheru in Ughelli North Local Governing Area. She was never mandated by us to agree/sign a “Communique ” proposing to exclude us from any Federal appointments.

“And is there really a vacancy for Board Members in the NDDC for which these characters have thrown all caution to the wind employing all kinds of lies and all kinds of subterfuge?

“Mr President has already nominated a Board in October 2019 whose members were screened by all relevant agencies of the federal government following which they were screened and confirmed by the Nigerian Senate on November 5 2019. They are only now waiting to be inaugurated.

“On the 24th day of June 2021, while receiving the INC at the State House in Abuja, President Buhari said that the NDDC Board would be INAUGURATED as soon as the forensic audit report is submitted and accepted. The president said ‘I want to assure you that as soon as the forensic audit report is submitted and accepted, the NDDC Board will be inaugurated’.

“What then is all the hullabaloo that is being stirred by these characters behind the mischievous, misleading and provocative ‘communique’? The Niger Delta needs to move forward and we can’t succumb to the blackmail, subterfuge, deceit and propaganda of people who are more interested in pushing their puny interests against the larger interest of the Niger Delta people.

“The conduct of the characters behind the so-called  “communique” and the subsequent statement by Mr Awala Gbubemi of the non-existent “Delta South Senatorial District APC Solidarity Front” is indeed very shameful.”

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