Akwa Ibom Leaders Caucus has reasoned that beside the impropriety, the removal of removal of an Akwa Ibom indigene, Mr. Bassey Dan Abia, as the Managing Director of NDDC, what has shocked most people of the state is the appointment of Mrs. Ibim Seminitari from Rivers State as acting managing director without clarification on her tenure or the legal basis for the appointment.
It would be recalled that on Monday, December 21, 2015, the Federal Government removed the managing director of NDDC, Mr. Bassey Dan Abia, from office after serving just two years of his statutory four year term. No allegation of wrong-doing has been made against the former MD, so it is safe to assume that his removal has more to do with the politics of the fact that he was appointed by a PDP government.
According to the leader’s caucus led by Senator Anitie Okon, the NDDC Act clearly provides for rotational leadership of the commission. Each state that makes up the commission provides the MD for a four year term. So far, Delta State, Bayelsa State and Rivers State have provided managing directors for the commission. Those three states had uninterrupted four-year terms, even when there had to be changes mid tenure. The turn of Akwa Ibom came two years ago and Mr. Dan Abia was duly appointed and confirmed by the Senate. He had two more years to go.
“Even if the ruling APC decided to truncate his tenure for whatever reason, that could not have amounted to truncating the tenure right of Akwa Ibom State to provide the Managing Director of the commission at this point as provided for by the law. The federal government needed to appoint an indigene of Akwa Ibom State to complete Mr. Dan Abia’s tenure. Though Akwa Ibom is a predominantly PDP state, there are people in APC from the state who are more than qualified to occupy the position forcibly vacated by Mr. Abia.
If the Federal Government needed time to screen and appoint a substantive MD, then it could have followed precedence, which is that one of the directors is appointed to act until a substantive MD is appointed.
Ignoring the right of Akwa Ibom State enshrined in law and also precedence to appoint a person from Rivers State as the acting MD of the commission, apart from being illegal, runs counter to all pretences of social justice. Beyond the known impunity of the ruling APC to disregard the laws of the land in its actions, we see a rather sinister agenda. Those who have no sympathy for the people of the South -South and have always envied their sense of political unity have set themselves on the course of dividing us so they can trample on our rights. It is as if the ruling APC, unable to get a foothold in the region, wants to destroy the peace of the region by setting one state against another.” The second republic senator explained.
A press statement to this effect which was endorsed by Senator Okon among other leaders in the state maintained that the latest action underlines the veracity of a document, now in the public domain, that laid out in no uncertain terms, a so called strategic road map for the subjugation of the South- South. We repeat, for the purpose of reminding Nigerians, that one of the cardinal plans set out in the document, is the removal of the management of the NDDC ‘to ensure that it does not throw its weight behind PDP’.
According to the statement, all the developments surrounding the elections of the governors have played out completely in sync with the various action plans contained in the document viz: nullification of the elections of the governors of Akwa Ibom and Rivers which have been executed just as in the case of the removal of the MD of NDDC. In keeping with the road map, we expect that there would be widespread and unjustified seclusion of leaders of the PDP if and when run up elections take place.
The forum warns that if the President Muhamadu Buhari desires peace and cohesion in the country, he should now take charge of the direction of governance rather than the cavalier hands off approach, which has nurtured diverse sub structures within his government engaged in a destructive competition for power, each with its own agenda.
“We call on President Muhammadu Buhari to avail himself of the provision of the NDDC Act to cancel this appointment and stop his lieutenants from foisting an anti peace agenda on his administration.
The Niger Delta Region has suffered for so long that it does not need this attack on the unity of its people and calculated injustice on one of its component states”.