The minister of Niger Delta Affairs Godswill Akpabio has been accused of “telling serial lies in his grand design to appropriate and control the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).” This is the position of the Niger Delta Stakeholders, led by Chief Demiebi Jackson.
A statement credited to the minister, portions of which were reported in The Nation Newspaper of Tuesday, December 10, 2019 and Niger Delta Today, an online newspaper, where he said it was Bayelsa State’s turn to produce the MD of NDDC has been criticised by the Niger Delta Stakeholders who say “the minister is sowing seeds of discord to advance his agenda following opposition to the illegal interim management committee he set up for the commission.”
Akpabio stated in the newspaper reports as follows: “We have not had two full years of Managing Director for Bayelsa. We have had Engr. Godwin Omene staying as MD of NDDC for almost four full years. We have had Hon Emmanuel Aguariavwodo from Delta serving as MD for almost three years. So, it is not the turn of Delta.”
But fact-check shows that Akpabio lied. Public records from the NDDC show that after Delta State produced the MD for a total of five years, Bayelsa State held the MD position thereafter. From the records, Engr Godwin Omene was MD at inception from 2001 to 2003 when he resigned. Then, Timi Alaibe from Bayelsa State who was the ED Finance and Admin, stepped in as Acting MD until Emmanuel Aguariavwodo was appointed to complete Delta State’s term. Aguariavwodo was MD from 2003-2006. Timi Alaibe again stepped in as Acting MD. Alaibe was subsequently confirmed as MD in 2006 and held the position until 2009, representing Bayelsa State. Thereafter, Rivers State produced the MD with Chibuzor Ugoha from 2009 to 2011 and Chris Oboh from 2011 to 2013. Akwa Ibom was next with Dan Abia from 2013 to 2015 and Nsima Ekere from 2016 to 2018. It is now the turn of Delta State, following the rotational policy for the MD position among the four major oil producing states. According to Chief Demiebi “Where then is the truth in Akpabio’s claim that Bayelsa State has not had ‘two full years as MD”?
“Not only is the minister’s claim that Bayelsa State has not held the position for long untrue, the claim that Omene spent four years is also untrue, because Omene spent just two years, from 2001 to 2003. Agwariavwodo spent three years, from 2003 to 2006, bringing the total for Delta State to about five years.
The group also took up the statement credited to the minister that Delta state should take the chairmanship position rather than the MD position, saying that “since Delta State is entitled to both, it should be given both or be allowed to take the one of its choice. It is the prerogative of Delta State to decide. The minister should not try to make an issue out of this as a means to executing his personal agenda. Otherwise, how is it an issue that a state which is due to have both positions of Chairman and MD is being vilified for opting for the MD position. Indeed, Akpabio’s statement on the choice made by Delta State when he said that Delta State opted for the ‘bigger position’ contradicts his own statement that Delta State should not produce the MD based on tenure. It has exposed the lies in his many excuses since the new NDDC board was duly confirmed by the Senate and confirms his inordinate interest in the NDDC, contrary to the claims he made in the newspapers.”
The MD position has been rotated round all the four major oil producing states and it is now Delta State’s turn to produce the MD. Nothing should be done to shortchange Delta State”