The Ijaw Youths Council (IYC), has hailed the decision of ex-warlord, Chief Government Ekpemupolo, alias Tompolo, to step down his seven days ultimatum over the reconstitution of the substantive board for the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
Tompolo had on Saturday, June 5, announced the suspension of his ultimatum following an agreement reached between Ijaw leaders and the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akapabio, and other critical stakeholders.
Akpabio had on Thursday, June 3, met the Ijaw leaders in Oporoza, headquarters of Gbaramatu Kingdom, Warri Southwest Local Government Area of Delta State and pleaded with them to give the government till the end of June to inaugurate the board.
The outcome of the meeting led to the stepping down of the ultimatum to allow the minister fast track the process for the composition of the board.
The IYC said the Oporoza agreement was a reinforcement of the earlier one secured by them when they met the embattled Akpabio in Abuja recently.
National Spokesman of the IYC, Ebilade Ekerefe, commended Tompolo, President of the Ijaw National Congress (INC), Prof. Benjamin Okaba, and other stakeholders, who attended the meeting for halting the threats to the peace of the region.
Comrade Ekerefe in a statement on Sunday in Yenagoa, said the position taken by the leaders have vindicated him and some members of the IYC executive council who were accused of pursuing their own personal agenda after the meeting they had in Abuja.
He said the IYC had seen the need to engage Akpabio and the Federal Government on the issues of the tenure of the sole administrator, the forensic audit report and the constitution of a substantive board before a final decision.
Ekerefe said: “Through a systematic approach and media engagement, the issue has finally secured a firm resolve by the Federal Government to finish the forensic audit and set up a board for the NDDC before the end of June.
“The substantive board, if set up, should also have a clear representation for the youths of the region for pragmatic engagement and sense of belonging. This has become necessary as previous boards had only represented the interest of a few persons and not the interest of the youths and the development of the region”.
The IYC mouthpiece noted that the council would not play to the gallery by allowing its revered institution to be used to promote the political agenda of any individual, but would be guided to insist that youths of the region should be given a proper place in the affairs of the region.
According to him, it was unnecessary and completely out of place for a certain Chief in Oporoza to insinuate that the minister took the leaders of the Council to Abuja to be compromised.
He said: “We frown at that statement as we consider it too spurious and intended to blackmail a leadership who only gave the minister audience to explain what had delayed the constitution of the NDDC board just like he (Akpabio) came to Oporoza to explain.
“We reiterate that despite the mismanagement of the IYC protest after the expiration of the 30 days ultimatum, the leadership should be commended for the efforts put in place before the eventual Oporoza meeting rather than being vilified”.