A citizens-led anti-sabotage organisation under the aegis of The Natives has commended President Muhammadu Buhari for the reconstitution of the Board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), saying it is a birthday gift for the region.
The group also congratulated the President on his 80th birthday anniversary, adding that Buhari had stabilised democracy not only in Nigeria but in Africa as attested to by the President of the United States of America, Joe Biden.
In a statement released in Abuja, the leader of The Natives, Hon Smart Edwards, urged the elders and all the people of Niger Delta to reciprocate the good gesture of President Buhari by giving necessary support to the new board and the nominee for NDDC Managing Director, Chief Sam Ogbuku.
According to The Natives, the current administration of President Buhari has faced the most turbulent times with multiple recessions and Covid-19 but has been able to steer the ship of Nigeria faithfully.
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“We are using this medium to appreciate the approach of Mr President towards NDDC while sanitising it.
“Indeed, hell was let loose, scores of scandals and scams all came to the fore, but you stayed forthright, committed and determined to give it a new face, you listened to the governors, and embarked on the forensic investigation despite the onslaught of desperate politicians and opportunists, who got weary of any efforts to establish a new order.
“Indeed you are a man of legacies, you will not be forgotten. NDDC this is your golden opportunity ” the statement said.
While commending Buhari for the reconstitution of the NDDC Board, The Natives said “this is a major lifeline offered again by the President to our people, it started with forensic investigation and then the desire for the rightful compensation of the region by giving it a substantive Board. This is surely a new beginning and thus deserves the cooperation of all.
“We are calling on all Niger Deltans to embrace the new board without rancour, to pull themselves together in love in the interest of its people, to show the world that the welfare of its people is a priority in the hearts of their leaders than personal gains of private individuals.
“This Board is designed as a square peg in a square hole, the people want development and that is the interest of President Buhari, hence we will not fold our hands to watch a powerful few sabotage these good intentions.
“Chief Sam Ogbuku, the nominee for Managing Director is a thoroughbred, a former student leader, a youth leader and one who has been constantly in touch with the struggle for the emancipation of Niger Deltans.
“He is vastly aware of the major issues of militancy, an advocate of peace and conflict resolution, he is a testament of profound service, hence under him NDDC would be people-centred, youth and community engagements will take priority in the processes, planning, and projects and programmes in the Niger Delta. The restoration of the life and environment of communities are expected at the NDDC.”
The group called on the people of the Niger Delta, particularly the elders and the unions, to sheathe their swords and end all bitterness and bickering that have underdeveloped the region, and allow the new NDDC leadership to work for its People.