A one-time Minister of Lands, Housing, Urban Development, Chief Nduese Essien, has cautioned the Ijaw youths against stoking the embers of ethnicity in the Niger Delta Region.
In an interview with Straightnews team in his Shelter Afrique residence, Uyo, Essien who is also the political leader of Eket, queried, ‘’For now, it is questionable why they should oppose the current Sole Administrator. Is it because the current Sole Administrator comes from Akwa Ibom?’’
This was as people who claimed to be Ijaw youths shut Niger Delta Development Commission office, Ewet Housing Estate, Uyo on Thursday, May 27 as well as other NDDC’s offices in Rivers, Bayelsa, asking President Muhammadu Buhari to reconstitute its board.
Essien said ”Well, the Ijaw youths who are agitating for immediate reconstitution of NDDC board are, to some extent, right because the NDDC was established to be run as a board. There was no provision for Interim Administration or for Sole Administrator that we are having now in NDDC.
”Unfortunately, before now the NDDC had interim administration with people from Ijaw land as chairman. We also had Interim Administration with a Sole Administrator from Ijaw land and they didn’t complain.’’
On the reason behind Ijaw youths protest for dissolution of NDDC’s board, the elder statesman queried ”For now, it is questionable why they should oppose to the current Sole Administrator. Is it because the current Sole Administrator comes from Akwa Ibom?’’
The one-time Minister enjoined ”My advice is that the Ijaw youths should keep quiet and allow Akwa Ibom also to complete its tenure as the Sole Administrator because if it were their own person, they wouldn’t have complained since Effiong Akwa is also part of the Niger Delta – a major part with highest level of production of oil and gas.’’
According to him, ”They have to accept that we are entirely part of Niger Delta and have the right that other parts also have. Again, I detest a situation where a section of the Niger Delta regards itself as more prominent, important and vociferous than others. That some parts are peaceful is not because they cannot fight.’’
The political leader expatiated ”In fact, it is because of the peaceful part of Niger Delta that Nigeria has been able to survive the serious fluctuations in oil prices because when the other parts were creating problems and stalling production, Akwa Ibom has always been an area to depend on during such periods.
”At the same time too, we hope that the federal government would soon go back to the laws establishing NDDC so that the board can run affairs of the commission.’’