As a section of Ijaw youths continues to protest, giving the Minister of the Niger Delta Affairs, Sen Godswill Akpabio ultimatum to resign over the appointment of Barr Chief Effiong Okon Akwa as the interim administrator of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, elders and people of Cross River state have urged leaders of the Ijaw nation to call their youths to order.
They also commended President Muhammadu Buhari for Akwa’s appointment, describing it as putting a square peg in a square hole.
Recall that some Ijaw youths had blocked a section of the East West Road and even went to the Headquarters of the Niger Delta ministry in Abuja to protest the appointment of Akwa. They had accused Sen Akpabio of foisting his kinsman on NDDC and gave him 7-day ultimatum to resign.
However, in a press statement titled ‘Allow Effiong Akwa to Change the Narrative of NDDC,’ and made available to our reporter, the Chairman of the Elders’ Forum of the Cross River state All Progressives Congress (APC), Elder (Dr) David Okon, submitted that “if at all the minister had a hand in Akwa’s appointment, he should be commended and not vilified.”
Elder Okon, who also doubles as the Chairman of the Eniong Abatim community noted that “attacking Senator Akpabio because Barr Effiong Akwa comes from Akwa Ibom state, same as the Minister, is uncalled for because what is good for the goose is also good for the gander.
“Before now, a certain minister, still from the Niger Delta, had appointed a woman into such office and no one raised any eyebrow. She worked successfully until a substantive board was appointed. I want the Ijaw youths, I mean the disgruntled ones, to know that no ethnic group in the Niger Delta is more Niger Delta than the other. I hereby call on Ijaw leaders to quickly call their youths to order.”
The statement, which was signed by Elder Okon on behalf of the Forum, said in part; “With the appointment of Barr Chief Effiong Okon Akwa as the interim administrator of the Niger Delta Development Commission, the President has once again demonstrated his commitment to ensuring that persons of proven integrity and capacity to perform, man very sensitive positions and MDAs.
“Chief Effiong Okon Akwa’s appointment is a square peg in a square hole. He is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Bankers, Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Nigeria and Fellow Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria.
“Until his recent appointment, he has held the following positions; Managing Director, Akwa Ibom State, Akwa Savings & Loans Limited, Special Adviser Finance to the Managing Director, NDDC and lately, Interim Executive Director, Finance & Administration of the commission. He had also unblemishedly worked with many Nigerian banks at management levels.
“This Distinguished Banker, Accountant, Barrister, Community Leader and Administrator per excellence is happily married with children.
“As a Niger Delta community, we have no doubt, that the Interim Administrator will turn around the fortunes of the commission for the good of Niger Delta Communities and the country at large. To that effect, we appeal to the conscience of some Ijaw youths and other ill informed trouble makers to give peace a chance by Chief Akwa, a man with impeccable credentials to change the bad narratives of this interventionist agency to a good one.
“They should know that Akwa Ibom state where Akwa hails from is the highest producer of crude oil in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria with more than 31 percent input presently.”
He called on all Niger Deltans and indeed all Nigerians to support the President in his determination to change the story of the oil producing region for the good of all.