…Says protests against Akwa are disruptive
Following pockets of agitations over the appointment of Mr. Effiong Akwa as sole administrator of the Niger Delta Development Commission, a high profile socio-cultural group in the region, Mkpanak Kingdom Development Union has risen in defense of the current Managing Director and has called for immediate end to the protests. This position was contained in a press statement signed by Bishop (Hon) Okon Ukpe Afaiko and Engr. (Elder) Cyril Edet Akapn as president and secretary-general respectively and titled: The Wranglings Over Effiong Akwa NDDC Headship; Our Position.
The Union described as ‘appalling’ what it referred to as ‘on-going mischiefs dangerously deployed’ by a section of the region to discredit the appointment of an Akwa Ibom son as the head of the interventionist agency.
Applauding the decision of President Muhammadu Buhari over the appointment, it said its support for Akwa came after members had ‘balanced the processes and events’ that triggered the appointment.
‘First, the IMC which was embroiled in many allegations of financial improriety was sacked by the court. Second, the agency is undergoing forensic auditing and so the constitution of a new Board at this point in time is capable of influencing smooth and fair investigations’, a paragraph in the statement read.
It further reminded that in 2015, Mrs. Ibim Semenitari was appointed sole administrator of the Commission even when she was not a member of the NDDC Board. Akwa’s appointment, it argued is in line with laid down precedent.
According to the Union, the appointment of the current sole administrator ‘has somewhat ensured the return of peace and calm to the Commission which were absent in the last few months.
‘His appointment has been well received by an overwhelming majority. The other few should cease forthwith further shenanigans and their selfish protests which can only heighten tensions in the region and weaken our bond of brotherhood’.
Mr. Akwa’s pedigree as a chartered accountant and a lawyer should be beneficial to the NDDC Board and the region in the immediate term, it opined.
Noting that since the NDDC is meant to serve the peoples of the region, any of her natives who is not lacking in competence and qualification is eminently qualified to lead the Commission.
‘No one tribe or person in the region is more Niger Deltan than another. We have all felt the pains of oil exploration, the pollution, the neglect and dishonesty of oil companies and so we must remain united and resolute in our pursuit of a better live for our children and a safe community for our people’.
The protests, it noted, are both disruptive and distractive. Hence, the new helmsman must be allowed to concentrate and supported to make a difference that the people desire.
‘The masked leaders who are behind these protests should withdraw their dirty-job merchants home and instead seek a roundtable dialogue in finding solutions to the myriad abandoned intervention projects that litter the region’.
Consequently, the Union has appealed to the NDDC leadership to immediately undertake a fact-finding tour and redemptive mission towards ascertaining the large number of abandoned and poor quality projects in the region.
It listed some of the projects as the East-West Road; Erosion Control and Embankment Projects in Okoroitak and Iwo-Okpom; Okoroutip/Atabrikang – Eastern Obolo and other coastal roads; and the numerous solar water projects that litter the region.
These projects and others when fully completed, it said, will enhance the living conditions of the people – from Oron to Mbo, Kalabari to Okrika, Nembe to Ogoni, Ibeno to Obolo, to mention a few.