DISAGREEMENT is imminent between Niger Delta Affairs Minister Senator Godswill Akpabio and the Minister of State for Petroleum Timipre Sylva over the composition of a substantive board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDCC), Bayelsa State monarchs have warned.
The monarchs claimed that Sylva plans to upturn Akpabio’s nominee from Peretorugbene in Ekeremor, Bayelsa West as the substantive Managing Director of the NDDC.
According to the royal fathers, the development, if not well handled, would erode the benefits recorded by the Federal Government’s engagement with critical stakeholders to vacate the seven-day ultimatum issued by ex-militant leader Government Ekpemupolo (Tompolo).
In a petition to President Muhammadu Buhari, the monarch said Petroleum minister’s move against the nominee was against the interest of justice, fairness and equity.
The traditional rulers, in the letter dated June 4, 2021, appealed to the President to intervene and stop any act capable of causing further agitations in the region.
Seven traditional rulers signed the petition, copies of which were sent to the Bayelsa State Commissioner of Police and Director, Department of State Service (DSS) and the President of the Ijaw National Congress, (INC).
The petition reads: “On behalf of the traditional rulers and leaders of thought, particularly of Ekeremor LGA extraction in Bayelsa State, we wish to respectively draw your attention to the restiveness of youths resulting from this clear alienation by the APC-led Federal Government.
“Your Excellency Sir, we were highly elated by the newspaper publications naming one Elder Denyanbofa Dimaro, an illustrious son of Peretorugbene community in the Ekeremor LGA of Bayelsa State, as the Managing Director (MD) while Dr. Cairo Ojuogbo from Delta State as the chairman of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
“What has, however, heightened tension amongst the youths and citizenry is the growing rumor that the Minister of State for Petroleum, Chief Timipre Sylva is thwarting this laudable effort of the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Chief Godswill Akpabio.
“In our opinion, the polity and the region are already over heated and anything that will bring about further agitations should be avoided.”
The monarchs lamented that the Bayelsa West Senatorial District was marginalised as all 10 prominent federal appointments meant for Bayelsa were given to the Bayelsa East Senatorial District.
After listing all the appointments that were taken to the East, they said: “From the aforesaid, it clearly shows that Bayelsa West comprising Ekeremor and Sagbama LGAs are unfairly treated.
“The Ekeremor LGA is a major oil and gas producing area. Besides, it also provided substantial votes for the APC in the 2015 and 2019 general elections that gave APC victory at the polls.”
They also listed over eight flow stations and oil fields domiciled in their marginalised district, adding that 14 communities were hosts to the oil facilities.
The monarchs stated in their petition: “It is also noteworthy to state that these host communities have well educated and experienced men and women capable of occupying the position of Managing Director of the NDDC and deliver the mandate of the commission.
“We are, therefore, pleading with Mr. President to consider giving the appointment of the substantive Managing Director of the NDDC to someone from within the above mentioned communities in the Ekeremor LGA of Bayelsa State and particularly as already announced in the media.
“In our opinion, the polity and the region are already over heated and anything that will bring about further agitations should be avoided.
“While thanking you in anticipation of your consideration for this plea, please accept the assurances of our highest regards for your esteemed person and office.”
Sinatories to the petition are: King Joel Ekeni Ibane, Simon Onniye Ogiobo, Timi Odikeme Okere, Roman Deriabebe, Samuel Sapele and Amame Oru