Ernest Chinwo and Okon Bassey in Uyo
The people of the Niger Delta region have been urged to remain calm and cooperate with the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari towards the development and provision of infrastructures in the region.
The Managing Director of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Mr. Nsima Ekere made the call weekend during the inauguration of the Akwa Ibom State Caucus of the All Progressives’ Congress (APC).
Ekere lamented that the Niger Delta region had little to show in terms of development for the five years a son of the soil presided over the affairs of the country. He said it was clear that the President had the interest of the region at heart from the steps he has taken so far to solve the problems of the region.
The NDDC boss pledged that the commission would work vigorously to bring sustainable development to the region in line with President Buhari’s vision to develop the region.
He urged the people of Akwa Ibom State to support the Buhari administration which, he said, was working tirelessly to address the economic problems of the country.
Ekere lauded the quality of the APC Caucus members, particularly the Caucus Chairman, Atuekong Don Etiebet, who he described as an experienced and dogged leader. While commending the hard work and resilience of the party leadership and faithful, he called for a greater synergy between them to enable increased grassroots’ mobilisation.
The Managing Director of Oil and Gas Free Zones Authority, Mr. Umana Umana, expressed confidence that the caucus would strengthen and reposition the APC, describing Etiebet as an experienced and cerebral leader.
He maintained that the APC was robbed of victory in the last elections but urged the party faithful to leave the past and plan for the future which, according to him, was certain.
Hailing Ekere as a true friend and brother, Umana declared that “we will all work together to strengthen the party to take back our state.” He commended President Buhari for the appointment of Akwa Ibom indigenes, including himself, into positions of authority.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Affairs (Senate), Senator Ita Enang, solicited support for the Buhari administration which, he said, has done well for Akwa Ibom State in terms of appointments and projects, hinting that more appointments were underway.
He described as deceit and falsehood the claim by a group, Akwa Ibom Vanguard, that the Buhari administration only budgeted N1.9 billion for projects in the state, pointing out that the budgetary provision for the Calabar-Itu Road alone was over N6 billion.
The presidential aide stated that the huge monthly allocation from the federation account was not being well-utilised by the State government as it was not commensurate with the level of development in the state.
He reasoned that the ruling Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) was unable to make progress in the state because its erstwhile members that joined the APC had left with the soul of the PDP, leaving behind only the carcass.
Etiebet, thanked the party for the great honour accorded him and other caucus members and promised to work towards making the APC more virile. Etiebet, who inaugurated the Strategy, Finance and Contact Committees of the party, condemned rigging of past elections in the state but predicted victory for the APC in 2019 because “the time of rigging has gone.”
The APC National Vice Chairman (South-South Zone), Ntufam Hilliard Ettah, who inaugurated the caucus, stated that with the caucus the party was well-positioned to win the state.
Others who spoke at the occasion were the State APC Chairman, Dr. Amadu Attai; a former Minister of Women Affairs, Obong Rita Akpan; a former PDP National Vice Chairman (South-South Zone), Chief Edet Mkpubre; a former PDP State Chairman, Otu Ita-Toyo, and a former Member of the House of Representatives, Chief Soni Udom.