Following the exit of Niger Delta Affairs Minister, Godswill Akpabio, the people of the oil and gas region have renewed their agitation for President Muhammadu Buhari to constitute the board of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), an interventionist agency.
Buhari has already met with 10 of his ministers who have tendered letters of resignation from the cabinet over their aspirations in the 2023 elections.
Young Professionals for Peace, Transparency and Development (YPPTD), an advocacy group, has commended the Nigerian leader for calling for the resignation of his appointees including Akpabio over their presidential ambition.
The group wants President Buhari to immediately set up a substantive board for the development agency, which according to them, was allegedly manipulated by Akpabio.
Director-General of the group, High Chief Selekumo Ndiaye, said from Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital that they want urged President Buhari to use Akpabio’s exit to establish the substantive board and ease the frosty relationship between the people of the Niger Delta region and his administration.
” We commend President Buhari for feeling the pulse of the people and asking those distracting the administration with their presidential ambition to resign. The people of the Niger Delta region however see Sen. Akpabio resignation as breath of fresh air and a new chapter to straighten the frosty relationship between the Niger Delta people and his administration.
“The years of deciet and unfulfilled promises under the Sen. Akpabio’s ministarial leadership of the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs has created enemity between the people and the Buhari administration. It was under Akapbio that the NDDC became a comic relief for the national Assembly and the nation.
“It was under Akpabio that the ordered and welcomed Forensic audit was done without result. It was under same Akpabio that the anti-corruption effort of the Buhari administration became a nullity. Rather, report of under table corruption emerges daily and now confirmed by his declaration to contest for Presidency”, the group said.
According to them, NDDC’s Interim Administrator is toothless and without proper legal backing to settle issue of backlog of debts and activities of the commission, the setting up of a substantial board for the commission will be a welcome development that will reposition the trust of the region in the APC led Federal Goverment.”
Information and Culture Minister, Lai Mohammed, while briefing State House reporters on Friday after a valedictory session held at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, announced that the ministers will soon be replaced.
He listed the affected ministers who attended the session to include Chibuike Amaechi (Transportation), Chris Ngige (Labour and Employment), Godswill Akpabio (Niger Delta Affairs), Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu (Science and Technological Innovation), Timipre Sylva (State, Petroleum Resources), Tayo Alasoadura (State, Niger Delta Affairs), Dame Tallen Paulen (Women Affairs), Uche Ogar (State, Mines and Steel Development), Abubakar Malami (Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice) and Emeka Nwajuba (State for Education) who was absent but with a permission.
They tendered resignation letters in compliance with a circular issued by Boss Mustapha, Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), asking political appointees seeking to contest the 2023 elections to resign.
Some of them have either purchased the presidential, governorship, or legislative nomination and expression of interest forms of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
The controversial Section 84 (12) of the amended Electoral Act has stated that no political appointee at any level shall be a voting delegate or be voted for at the Convention or Congress of any political party for the purpose of the nomination of candidates for any election.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has given political parties a deadline of June 3 to submit their candidates for the 2023 elections.