Niger Delta Stakeholders led by Demiebi Jackson have said that the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio, told “serial lies in his grand design to appropriate and control the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).”
In a report on December 10 in The Nation, and Niger Delta Today, an online newspaper, Akpabio was quoted saying it was Bayelsa State’s turn to produce the managing director of NDDC.
The Niger Delta Stakeholders say “the minister is sowing seeds of discord to advance his agenda following opposition to the illegal interim management committee he set up for the commission.”
Akpabio stated in the newspaper reports as follows: “We have not had two full years of Managing Director for Bayelsa. We have had Engr. Godwin Omene staying as MD of NDDC for almost four full years. We have had Hon Emmanuel Aguariavwodo from Delta serving as MD for almost three years. So, it is not the turn of Delta.”
But the stakeholders say that public records from the NDDC show that after Delta State produced the MD for five years, Bayelsa State held the MD position thereafter.
From the records, the group also said that Godwin Omene was MD at inception from 2001 to 2003 when he resigned. Then, Timi Alaibe from Bayelsa State who was the ED Finance and Admin, stepped in as Acting MD until Emmanuel Aguariavwodo was appointed to complete Delta State’s term.
They said Aguariavwodo was MD from 2003 to 2006. Timi Alaibe again stepped in as Acting MD, adding that Alaibe was subsequently confirmed as MD in 2006 and held the position until 2009, representing Bayelsa.
The group said that Rivers State thereafter 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.
Following the rotational policy for the MD position among the four major oil-producing states, Demiebi said it was now the turn of Delta State.
“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. Agwariavwodo spent three years, from 2003 to 2006, bringing the total for Delta State to about five years,” he said.
The group also took up the statement credited to the minister that Delta should take the chairmanship position rather than the MD position, saying that “since Delta State is entitled to both, it should be given both or be allowed to take its choice. It is the prerogative of Delta State to decide.”
The group said: “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 based on tenure.
“It has exposed the lies in his many excuses since the new NDDC board was duly confirmed by the Senate and confirms his inordinate interest in the NDDC, contrary to the claims he made in the newspapers.”