Don’t Dissolve NDDC Board, Niger Delta Youths Urge Buhari

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Sunday Okobi

Niger Delta youths under the auspices of Youth Initiative for Education, Development and Empowerment of Niger Delta (YIEDEND) on Tuesday called on President Muhammadu Buhari to ignore calls to dissolve the board of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).

 The group also accused a former governor of Bayelsa State and an ex-member of the National Assembly as being responsible for the call.

The President of YIEDEND, Agbonkpolor Splendour, while briefing journalists in Abuja, said the argument being used to justify the pressure to dissolve the board was capable of disturbing the relative peace in the region.

 According to Splendour, “This has become pertinent in the face of deliberate moves by the Minister of State for Agriculture, Hon Heineken Lokpobiri and former Governor of Bayelsa State, Mr. Timipre Sylvia.
“It is reprehensible that they would continue to insist that the tenure of the present NDDC board should expire this December on the basis of their claim that the said board was appointed to complete the tenure of the board it succeeded.

“Let us make the point and strongly too that that argument is a wasteful attempt to unilaterally rewrite the enabling law that set up the commission. Even the section 5, sub-section 3 which they are relying on is irrelevant as it clearly applies to situations in which there is a substantive board in place and a vacancy or indeed a number of vacancies happen to occur therein. However, nowhere in this or any other section of the act is there even the slightest indication that such tenure completion is envisaged for the entire board or even that a new board might complete the tenure of a sacked on.

“If the duo were loyal party members and altruistic, they should have realised that the present NDDC board did not meet any board members on ground, rather the one they succeeded was set up by the former administration of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) government and was appropriately dissolved when the All Progressives Congress (APC) took over. So for any individual or group of individuals out of desperation to continue to stoke the embers of conflict and pandering falsehood over the tenure of the present board of the NDDC is unhelpful and begs the question on the real issues of development in the region.’’

The group, while commending the president for his commitment to achieve peace in the Niger Delta region, therefore, begged him to allow the sustained peace to reign in the region by ignoring the calls to dissolve the commission board.