The Interim Administrator, Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Dr. Effiong Akwa, has said that President Muhammadu Buhari will soon hand over a reformed NDDC to the region.
He appealed to aggrieved stakeholders in the region to trust President Buhari on issues affecting the NDDC and the Niger Delta.
Akwa said Buhari meant well for the region and was on the verge of handing over a reformed, productive, effective and efficient NDDC to the Niger Delta people.
Akwa spoke at the weekend in a webinar, an online virtual meeting, organised by his Special Adviser on Youths and Sports, Engr, Udengs Eradiri, and attended by hundreds of youths across the world.
He particularly noted a genuine request for the constitution of a substantive board for the commission but urged stakeholders to exercise patience a little longer and allow the implementation of the forensic audit report.
Akwa, who was represented by Eradiri, disclosed that the audit report uncovered a can of worms in the commission insisting that the process of cleansing was ongoing to give the NDDC a fresh beginning.
Besides, he disclosed that the Act establishing the commission was undergoing required reviews to accommodate germane recommendations of the audit report.
Akwa said: “The NDDC will continue to strive hard to leave in accordance with its mandate. I am aware of the agitations, but I want to appeal to all those who are aggrieved to allow the Federal Government and President Muhammadu Buhari to do what it intends to do with the NDDC. He means well for the commission and the Niger Delta.
“People have been talking about the creation of a board, I agree with that but the forensic audit that concluded some months ago has opened a can of worms and those worms are being dealt with and that is why the issue of the board had not been formally concluded.
“I believe that by the time they finish with this process, the board will be concluded.
“Following the outcome of the forensic exercise, we can no longer rely on the existing Act. The Act is being reviewed to accommodate some of the recommendations of the report.
“The board will come when all the parameters have been put together so that going forward, the new NDDC can start on good footing. People should reduce the agitation on board and work with the current management of the NDDC”.
Commenting on the theme of the webinar, which centred around the 2023 general elections, Akwa encouraged the youths and other stakeholders to participate in the electoral process.
He asked them to get their Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) to enable them to decide the future of the Niger Delta region in 2023.
Akwa warned youths against electoral violence, backbiting, speaking in dividing voices, vote buying and selling ahead of the general elections.
He promised that the commission through the office of Eradiri would organise town hall meetings to enable the region to engage candidates on their plans for the Niger Delta.
The Interim Administrator also said a Whassap group containing membership of all the youths in the region would be created for better and robust engagements of the youth population.
He said: “We need to be responsible by first going to ensure that we get registered and participate in the electoral process. We have a situation where we find people who rant on social media but they don’t have voters’ card.
“It is time to begin the mobilisation and campaign against vote buying and selling. We must look at the candidates and what they have for the Niger Delta region. We need to synergise our voices and embrace unity. We must go beyond backbiting and begin to work as a team”.
Akwa commended the youths, especially persons, who delivered speeches on electoral participation and the consequences of youth involvement in violence.