The South-South Emerging Leaders Forum, SELF, has absolved the Minister of the Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio, of any wrongdoing in appointing Effiong Akwa as the Sole Administrator for the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC.
Recall that President Muhammadu Buhari had recently approved the appointment of Effiong Akwa as the Sole Administrator for the NDDC, following Mr Akpabio’s recommendation.
Issuing a statement on Monday, the forum’s National Coordinator, Barr. Preye Johnson, said the appointment of Mr Akwa was done in line with the Act setting up the Commission.
According to him, Mr Akpabio should therefore not be crucified for the decision to sack the Interim Management Committee, IMC.
Mr Johnson explained that critical analysis of the development has revealed that the few persons who are against the recent appointment were doing so for their personal gains.
The statement reminded those agitating against Mr Akwa’s appointment of several litigation and a restraining order issued against the Interim Management Committee of the NDDC by the Court of law, adding that to avoid a vacuum, the Presidency has taken the recent decision.
The forum, which consists of professional in different fields also urged the people of Niger Delta to give peace a chance for development of the region.
“As a non-partisan group, we have carefully studied the situation and conclude that the decision to appoint a sole administrator is patriotic and in the best interest of the region.
“This is not the first time that a Sole Administrator is being appointed for the NDDC. It will be recalled that in 2015, the Minister of Transport, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi appointed Mrs. Ibim Semenitari, an Ijaw woman and his former aide as a Sole Administrator of NDDC after sacking the Dan Abia-led management of the Commission.
“Our appeal to the entire people of the Niger Delta is to support the new leadership of the NDDC to deliver on its mandate and supervise to completion the ongoing forensic audit ordered by the Federal Government.”
The forum said it would not tolerate any form of character assassination of the Minister of Niger Delta by any group or individuals, adding that “People should come to the equity with a clean hands.
“Senator Akpabio’s antecedents are there for anyone to see. As a governor of Akwa Ibom state, Akpabio developed and left a legacy no one has been able to reach.
“We believe that this Minister means well for our region and no one or group should distract him from delivering on his mandate,” the forum stated.