Vanguard for Transparent Leadership and Democracy (VATLAD), a good governance advocate, has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to be very wary of the antics of the South-South PDP governors over their clamour for the constitution of Advisory Council of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
VATLAD in a statement signed by Comrade Engr Igbini Odafe Emmanuel, National President, said that President Buhari is still being misled to delay the inauguration of the Senate’s screened and confirmed members of the Governing Board of NDDC which is in line with NDDC Act.
According to the statement: “our attention has been drawn to Media Reports to the effect that President Buhari has succumbed to demand made few days ago by PDP Governors of the South-South that the Advisory Council of NDDC be immediately constituted by President Buhari in order that they be appointed into this Council which, by provision of section 11 of the NDDC Act is only to advise duly and lawfully appointed and inaugurated Governing Board of NDDC, screened and confirmed by the Senate of Nigeria.
“Few days ago, Nigerians were greeted with rude shock and highest level of disappointment when these Governors met in Delta State under the pretence of urgently establishing a South-South Regional Security Agency like Amotekun to put an end to the continued slaughtering of our people of South-South by suspected Herdsmen only to end up announcing their decision and determination to get President Buhari to appoint them into the Advisory Council of NDDC.
“This announcement by the Governors so devastated our people who now live in perpetual fear of insecurity leading them to asking the question: Why has the Advisory Council of NDDC become the most important desire of the PDP South-South Governors in an APC controlled Federal Government and NDDC?
“How does mere participating as advisers to an illegal Interim Management Committee of NDDC solve the rising cases of herdsmen slaughtering of our people in their farms and Communities? The people of Uwheru, Abraka, Issele-Asagba in Delta State and other parts of the region are yet to return home while others are daily living in fear of being killed by killer herdsmen.
“While our South-West Governors are patriotic and courageous to place Security and Safety of their people uppermost on their agenda, the South-South Governors appear more interested in just being part of the ongoing illegalities and unconstitutionalities in NDDC that President Buhari is regrettably being misled to perpetrate in the Commission.
The group further queried that, “how can there be an Advisory Council when there is yet to be inaugurated Governing Board? Which Governing Board do these Governors intend to advise?
“Have they suddenly recognise the Interim Management Committee as Governing Board for their selfish political and economic interests?
“Why would these Governors who have annual revenues running into hundreds of billions of naira with often no commensurate developments to show for it be more interested in claiming to seek to advice on how to get NDDC to develop their States? Is this a case of their admission of failure to govern and develop their States and seeking the intervention of NDDC?
“What records of success have they to show in the management of their State-owned Interventionist Agencies established to develop their Oil Producing Areas, for them to have the audacity to want to advise President Buhari on success of NDDC?
“What is clearly the hidden agenda of these PDP South-South Governors has been to have access into NDDC in order to manipulate and influence its day-to-day management having lost the opportunity of being consulted in the nominations and appointments of members of the Governing Board of the Commission since President Buhari became President in year 2015.
“They care only about how to return NDDC to the dark days of PDP where proven cases of embezzlement and looting of the Commission’s Funds were orders of the day and for which reason Forensic Auditors are now investigating the NDDC.
“We therefore advise that President Buhari urgently and out rightly stop this planned inauguration of these Governors into the Advisory Council. It is a deliberate trap to use him to destroy NDDC which the PDP will exploit against APC in 2023 General Elections
The group also called on the President to call the former PDP Chieftain, now Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Chief Godswill Akpabio whose office reportedly issued the statement to order and thoroughly investigated to be sure of his intention about this planned Advisory Council.
They added that, “there cannot be an Advisory Council for NDDC without first a formal inauguration of the Senate confirmed Governing Board.
“We can’t but the Cart before the Horse, the same way we can’t put Advisory Council on non-existent Governing Board and expect progress in our Region.”