By Victor Graham
The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Chief Godswill Akpabio, has criticized governors of the South South for insisting that President Muhammadu Buhari should inaugurate a substantive board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
He said most of the South South governors who are advising Buhari on how the NDDC should be managed, run local government areas in their states with caretaker committees.
The Minister told a news conference ahead of the formal inauguration of the new NDDC headquarters in Port Harcourt, that the governors, lacked the moral rectitude to advise the president on anything concerning the NDDC.
According to him, the governors were the ones that requested for a forensic audit of the NDDC, so it became illogical for the same governors, to kick against the appointment of interim managements or sole administrator for the agency.
He stated that it was wrong for the governors who belong to an opposition party (Peoples Democratic Party), to dictate to a President in the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
While urging the governors to first conduct council elections in their states before insisting that the President must inaugurate the board of the commission, he equally advised them to be patient till the conclusion of the audit before the inauguration of the board.
Akpabio maintained that what the interim managements of the NDDC had achieved in a year, boards of 19 years could not accomplish them.
“I am not aware that the governors are the ones that give directives to the President. I want to let you know that the Federal Government has appealed to the governors to ensure that local governments have elected representatives.
“Some governors for eight years used caretaker committees to run local governments and the Federal Government did not deny them funds. So, we are not against the formation of a board for NDDC.
“But, if in 19 years, an NDDC board as you call it could not produce an edifice of this nature, could not even use mere N150m to connect the rented office to the national grid, that will tell you that sometimes, the constitution of boards have misplaced priorities.
“We are saying that there is going to be a board for the NDDC. Nobody is against the board. But, let us finish with the forensic audit. Boards have various interests. If I am a contractor and I nominate someone into the board, don’t you think that person will not cooperate with the forensic auditors?
“In a few months, the forensic audit will be over and the board will definitely be inaugurated. I will rather plead with the governors to ensure that they carry out local government elections. Most of the South-South states are PDP. So where is the opposition?
“How can the opposition give instructions and directives to the President who is not in the same party with them? The president has a clear vision of what he wants to do and what he is doing is producing results.
“It is not going to be easy for them to take power because of the performance of this President. We agree with them and we are on the same page. The South South governors are the ones who even requested a forensic audit. So, my appeal is for them is to allow the audit to end and then the board will be inaugurated.”