More stakeholders in the Niger Delta region have expressed worry over the contents of the audit report of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), recently submitted to President Muhammadu Buhari by the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio.
This is coming even before the full recommendations of the committee are made known to the public.
The stakeholders are particularly displeased with the suggestion by the committee that membership of the NDDC board should be trimmed and made part time.
Attorney General of the Federation and the Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami (SAN), received the report on behalf of President Muhammadu Buhari.
Recall that the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC), Worldwide had described the forensic report as a sham and advised President Buhari to ignore the recommendations but rather sack Akpabio.
The IYC in a statement by its President, Peter Timothy Igbifa, said sacking Akpabio would give way for the inauguration of the board of the NDDC.
Comrade Igbifa alleged that Akpabio deliberately mismanaged the audit process deploying delay tactics, selfish politics and wicked maneuvering to maintain his stranglehold on NDDC against the collective interest of the region.
Also, the Movement for the Survival of Ijaw Ethnic Nationality in the Niger Delta (MOSIEND) said any attempt by anyone to pocket the Niger Delta would fail.
Its National President, Comrade Kennedy Tonjo-West, said there seemed to be a plan by Akpabio and Malami to seize control of the NDDC from the people of the region but added that any of such plan would be aborted.
“They cannot put the Niger Delta in their pocket. It is not in the place of forensic auditors to make recommendations for the Niger Delta people or for Mr. President. He is a forensic auditor, that is who he is. NDDC is an Act, it is not in his place to recommend”, he said.
On it’s part, the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) said the recommended managerial and structural changes for the NDDC are not appealing and possible.
Spokesman of the forum, Ken Robinson, said while staff downsizing might be necessary, reducing membership of the board would be out of place.
“Downsizing of the staff may be necessary to maximize efficiency but it is not the load of the staff that determines the efficiency and capability of the people.
“Downsizing the staff may not be necessary because the Act says the NDDC is nine states to be represented by one person and to give it a national outlook, somebody represents the other zones of the country.
“The point is that the inefficiency and inability of the NDDC to fulfill its mandate is not even about size of the commission or the size of the board.
“It is about the integrity and mentality of the people that are being made to head that commission. That commission has been a platform to reward political loyalty and to reward political allegiance.
“It has been a cash cow to fund political aspiration of the parties in power in the Southsouth and the South east. That is the challenge the government of President Muhammadu Buhari, if it is sincere, has to address”, he stated.