BY GRACE ANYANWU, ABUJA – Some stakeholders in Delta State on the aegis of Vanguard for Transparent Leadership and Democracy (VATLAD), have declared that former Governor Uduaghan Emmanuel is not in any material particular interested in being appointed as Chairman or any position in the Board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
VATLAD which stated this while reacting to a publication in the December 29, 2019 edition of Daily Independent Newspaper with the title: “Uduaghan May Emerge New NDDC Chairman,” said that the former governor and the people of Delta State are comfortable and at home with the appointment of an indigene of the state, Mr Benard Okumagba as the substantive Managing Director of the Commission, waiting to be inaugurated by President Buhari at the appropriate time.
In a statement by the National President of VATLAD, Mr. Igbini Odafe Emmanuel, noted that the people of Delta state were shocked that is was alleged that “the Presidency may also be thinking of correcting some irregularities between the Urohobos and Itsekiris in Delta State.
Emmanuel said; “Uduaghan is an Itsekiri man from Abigborodo in Warri North Local Government Area, while Okumagba is an Urhobo man from Okere in Warri South Local Government Area.”
“This clearly confirms the destructive and evil motive of those behind this falsehood. They deliberately set out to create division and crisis between our peaceful and united people of Itsekiri and Urhobo of Delta State at a time that vast majority of our people of the Oil and Gas-producing nationalities of Itsekiri, Urhobo, Ijaw, Isoko and Ndokwa of Delta State are getting more united in their appreciation of President Buhari for appointing Mr Benard Okumagba as Managing Director of NDDC.”
VATLAD stressed that the of appointment of Okumagba raised the hope that the long neglected and environmentally devastated communities would have the opportunity of getting the required and deserved attention to addressing the environmental disasters and infrastructure collapse as result of decades of activities of oil and gas exploration and production.
According to VATLAD; “We also suspect that the motive behind the timing of this falsehood is to create this division among our people at a time the Ondo State Government is misleading President Buhari to re-compose the Board of NDDC to have Mr Benard Okumagba replaced with an Indigene of Ondo State as Managing Director.”
“We want to state unequivocally that former Governor Uduaghan is a man of peace, who sacrificed his Senatorial ambition in year 2015 for the sake of prevailing peace and unity existing among our people of Ijaw, Itsekiri and Urhobo and Delta State at large. This was in spite of the fact that he was then a sitting governor.”
“It is also important to inform Nigerians that former Governor Uduaghan Emmanuel appointed this same Mr Bernard Okumagba as his Commissioner for two terms during his tenure. He would therefore not seek to replace him in any position after Okumagba has been appointed into NDDC.
“We have confirmed from former Governor Uduaghan that he is not interested in being appointed into NDDC to replace Mr Okumagba and that the story is the handiwork of mischief-makers who seek to blackmail him and cause disaffection among our people.”
Accordingly, VATLAD called on President Buhari and the good people of Delta State to ignore and disregard the sponsored falsehood that was published in medium.