A nongovernmental organisation, under the name Leadership, Peace and Cultural Development Initiative (LPCDI) made up of ex-militant leaders under the Presidential Amnesty Programme, yesterday, protested against the Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Mr. Nsima Ekere, over alleged stockpiling of funds in anticipation for his gubernatorial interest.
In a letter, signed by the Chief Press Secretary to the group, Barr. F.O. Wainwei , and made available to journalist through emails after their National Executive Council meeting held in Benin City, Edo State, recently, stated that “Nsima Ekere, is not competent to run the affairs of the commission because on assumption of office, without any course has refused to consult with critical stakeholders in the region on the way forward with respect to the development of the Niger Delta region.
The group accused him of setting up a private campaign in pursuit of his ambition to become the next governor of Akwa Ibom state, thus diverting the scarce resources of the commission, meant to develop the region, towards his political ambition. This of course has brought about serious friction in his political party, among the top political class in such to a point which can disrupt the peaceful coexistence of his state and the Niger Delta region at large.
The letter reads in part “We urge President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately sack Nsima Ekere and replace him with a competent person from an Oil bearing community in Akwa Ibom state,” Someone who can discharge his functions passionately and without sentiments for the betterment of the entire Niger Delta region. A man who will consult widely and carry all stake holders along rather than engaging in selective empowerments”. Nsima is only interested in using his office to enrich his cronies, family members and himself at the expense of the Niger Delta region which he is appointed to serve”.
It has come to our knowledge the huge sums of money Obong Nsima Ekere paid to key persons both in the political and government circles to impress upon the president, senate president and any other to not only swear him into office, but ensure his continuity in same no matter any indictment brought upon him. To this note, he is willing to spend tax payers’ monies to anyone, institution, organization or groups to paint a good image of him or discredit any allegations brought against him in order not to continue in office.
We know the levels at which this can degenerate if actions and inactions of the said person are suppressed and concealed without a conscious effort to effect the much needed termination of his appointment as we so demand.
That the appointee for both offices of the MD and Commissioner from Akwa Ibom state do not qualify based on the NDDC Act and a Federal High Court ruling of Honourable Binta Murtala Nyaku at the Federal High Court, Abuja on the 8th of June 2001, where Ibeno and Eastern Obolo Local Government Areas had dragged the Federal Government, State Government and the other twenty nine (29) LGAs of Akwa Ibom asking the court to determine if these other councils could produce appointees based on the Act. To this note, the late Engr. Udo Mboso (Executive Director Projects) from Onna LGA was replaced by Engr. Ukot Israel of Ibeno LGA as ruled by the court.
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal, whose office supervises the Commission had made a strong statement (as captured in Vanguard newspaper of January 12, 2016), when he said that the Federal Government is planning to restructure the Commission into a holistic development agency to be manned by core professionals rather than politicians in order to transform the Niger Delta region.
The said Obong Nsima Ekere is a career politician that lost PDP nomination to His Excellency Udom Emmanuel. He is currently the leader of the disgruntled G22 (contestants in Akwa Ibom State that were denied nomination). He will stop at nothing to seeing himself re-emerge as the governorship candidate in his political party to further the pursuit against the task which he is saddled to do in the Commission and thus channel fund from same to this course.
The statement continues “On resumption of office, we have observed his body language which is tilting towards politicizing the commission which ought to be a non-partisan organization saddled primarily with the mandate to holistically develop the region and also informed that several petitions have been written to the Senate President not to screen Obong Nsima Ekere into the office of the Managing Director of the Commission so as not to lead to chaos in his home state, as youths are becoming restive owing to the following;
That Ekere hails from the same Local Government Area i.e. Ikot Abasi as the current Minister for Budget and Planning, Senator Udo Udoma, and the two key federal appointments cannot be given to two indigenes of the same LGA where there abound professionals and distinguished persons from the state to be chosen from.
That Obong Nsima Ekere doesn’t come from a LGA in Akwa Ibom State as captured by the NDDC Act, section 3: part 4 (12), which produces the highest quantum of oil more than any other to be selected from. It quotes: “There shall be for the commission, a Managing Director, and two Executive Directors who shall be indigenes of oil producing areas starting with member states of the Commission with the highest quantum of oil and shall rotate amongst member states in the order of producing…”
That Ibeno Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State which produces the largest and highest quantum of oil in the state has never produced a Managing Director since the inception of the Commission, yet it has suffered environmental degradation owing to oil exploration in on and off shores with little or no Federal appointments or recognition by same.
The said Ibeno LGA has qualified sons in the oil and gas sector who over the years have championed the course of a better Niger Delta region and an environmental improvement of the already battered and damaged ecosystem by oil exploration over the decades. To this note, such a person as should be considered for the appointment will meet the requirements as spelt out in the NDDC Act, part 4 (1) (a) which he Obong Nsima Ekere falls short of.
Without a doubt, Obong Nsima Ekere is only interested in using his office to enrich his cronies, political allies and himself at the expense of the Niger Delta region which he’s appointed to serve.