From Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
A forum of professionals, South-South Emerging Leaders Forum (SELF) has absolved Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio of any wrongdoing over the recent appointment of Effiong Akwa as sole administrator for the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The forum claimed the appointment was done in line with the Act setting up the Commission.
In a statement by its National Coordinator, Preye Johnson,the forum insisted that the former governor of Akwa Ibom State should not be cruxified for the decision to sack the IMC or in the appointment of Effiong.
SELF said critical analysis of the development has revealed that the few persons opposed to the recent appointment were doing so for their personal gains.
Johnson reminded those agitating against Akwa’s appointment of several litigations and a restraining order issued against the Interim Management Committee of the NDDC by the court of law, adding that it was to avoid a vacuum, that the Presidency took the recent decision.
While urging the people of Niger Delta to give peace a chance for the development of the region, the forum, consisting of professional in different fields said: “As a non-partisan group, we have carefully studied the situation and concluded that the decision to appoint a sole administrator is patriotic and in the best interest of the region.
“This is not the first time that a Sole Administrator is being appointed for the NDDC. It will be recalled that in 2015, the Minister of Transport, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi appointed Mrs. Ibim Semenitari, an Ijaw woman and his former aide as a Sole Administrator of NDDC after sacking the Dan Abia-led management of the Commission.
“Our appeal to the entire people of the Niger Delta is to support the new leadership of the NDDC to deliver on its mandate and supervise to completion the ongoing forensic audit ordered by the Federal Government.”
The forum further noted that it would no longer tolerate any form of character assassination of the Minister of Niger Delta by any group or individuals, adding that; “People should come to equity with clean hands.
“Senator Akpabio’s antecedents are there for anyone to see. As a governor of Akwa Ibom state, Akpabio developed and left a legacy no one has been able to reach. We believe that this minister means well for our region and no one or group should distract him from delivering on his mandate.”