by Linda Ikeji
HM (Dr.) Charles Ayemi-Botu, the paramount ruler of Seimbiri Kingdom in Delta State, and the former National Executive Chairman, Traditional Rulers of Oil Minerals Producing Communities of Nigeria, TROMPCON, has blasted the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, claiming he has been misleading President Muhammadu Buhari on matters concerning the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, a move that he says if unchecked will destroy the Niger Delta.
According to Botu, Akpabio misled Buhari to sack a new board of the NDDC that had already been screened by the Senate.
After dismantling the board, Buhari replaced them with a three man management committee to over see NDDC auditing for 6 months.
Botu went on to allege that after a year of auditing with no tangible results, Akpabio advised Buhari to sack two members of the committee.
HM Ayemi-Botu, told newsmen on Tuesday, December 15: ”Exactly a year ago, President Buhari was misled by the Minister of Niger Delta, Senator Godswill Akpabio to jettison the new board of the NDDC that was screened by Senate and pending inauguration.”
“The board was scuttled and substituted with a three-man Interim Management Committee, IMC consisting of Acting Managing Director, MD, Executive Director, Finance and Administration, EDFA and Executive Director, Projects, EDP, on the pretext of overseeing the phantom forensic audit committee to last for six months.
“But after one year of forensic auditing without any cogent or tangible results, the master schemer had further misled Buhari to sack two out of the three-man IMC, leaving his crony, the EDFA, to act as an illegal sole administrator of the NDDC, thereby bamboozling President Buhari to shamefully and unsuspectingly dance to the whims and caprices of Senator Godswill Akpabio to the utter detriment and disregard of the oil-rich Niger Delta.
“It is absurd, a travesty of justice and against the principles of natural justice for the president to undermine the clarion calls of the vast majority of the good people of Niger Delta in particular nay the entire Nigerian populace on salient policy thrust and administrative issues that affect the electorate, which Mr. President defiantly ignores, but through wise counselling, he would be able to key into, than drifting the ship of the state to oblivion and total disaster.
“It is absolutely necessary to ask the President and his Minister of Niger Delta Affairs the rationale in sacking two out of three IMC members and making the remaining a saint and sole administrator.
“The big question is who is fooling who? Is it Niger -Delta or the country turning out to be a laughing stock in the comity of nations? It is, however, pertinent to ask why President Buhari is hesitant to inaugurate the substantive NDDC Board that he forwarded to the Senate for screening and subsequent clearance, but scuttled on the ill advice of the minister and for the second time, converted it to his family business.
“Niger-Deltans should wake up from their slumber, call a spade a spade and tell Buhari to live up to his civic and constitutional obligations to strictly adhere to the oath of office which he had sworn to on assumption of office by upholding justice, equity, fairness and above all the paramount interest of the electorate more than his personal benefits.
“Wise counselling suffices that in view of the prevalent peace in the volatile Niger Delta region, President Buhari should pluck up manly courage and in tandem with the NDDC Act and inaugurate the substantive Board to avoid resultant restiveness in the creeks of the region that will drastically torpedo the production quantum in this very challenging and unpredictable times,” the monarch advised.