From: Joe Effiong, Uyo
The inaugural National Publicity/Organizing
Okon told journalists in Uyo on Sunday that Akpabio’s comment that south-south governors lack the moral grounds to dictate how the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) funds should be used is both insulting and unfortunate.
Akpabio, the immediate past Governor of Akwa Ibom, is reported to have told the South-south governors during the inauguration of the NDDC headquarters building at Port Harcourt, to focus instead on ensuring that local governments in their respective states have elected executives and not caretaker committees
But while describing Akpabio’s warning to the South South governors as mischievous and ill conceived, Okon charged the minister to desist from the antics of misinterpreting the genuine advice made by the South South governors which was in the overall interest of people of the region.
His words, “I feel disappointed at Godswill Akpabio’s posturing that the governors of the South South were in no position to issue directives to president Buhari on how to run the Niger Delta Development Commission.
“This utterance amongst others paints an indelible picture of a Minister whose actions and inactions portray a grim indication of an absence of concern for the well-being of the Niger-Delta region. To put the record straight, no South-South governor issued directives or an authoritative instruction to president Buhari.
“I support governors of the South-South States demanded on upward review of the provision of 2.5 per cent as Host Community Trust Fund in the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) to 10 per cent in the best interest of oil communities and the nation.
“They only made demands for the betterment of their respective States and region regarding the effective and efficient management of the NDDC wherein the development and prosperity of the region has lost its course. And the governor’s demand was properly expressed, it is a justified demand.
“Regrettably, we are in a country where unity, peace and progress unfortunately hang in disequilibrium, where governments of the federation units are forced to pick up the baton of responsibilities neglected by an unhinged Federal government”
The South South Governors Forum (SSGF) had during their meeting held in Port Harcourt weekend noted that the NDDC was still being run without a substantive board for more than a year.
The governors also advised President Mohammadu Buhari that in the absence of the board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), funds for the commission beyond the payment of salaries should be put in an escrow account until he constitutes the board. Chairman of the South-South Governors Forum and Governor of Delta State
According to Senator Okon; “The Governors have discussed with our people and collectively as leaders of the people in our various States and as leaders standing in on behalf of our people, I urge that the National Assembly should increase the provision in the host community fund from 2.5 percent to 10 percent in the best interest of our communities, in the best interest of our nation.”
He expressed strong belief that if the communities feel satisfied with provision of funds for them in the PIB, they are more likely going to be watchdog on behalf of the federal government, the States and oil companies
“The peaceful environment that would be seen in the various oil communities would enable us to have greater production and a seamless production in which we do not have any form disruption in our oil productions going into the future”, he added.