Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, Dr Nsima Ekere, has challenged traditional rulers in the region to promote peace, stability and security to aid the development process of the region.
Ekere spoke when the executive and members of Traditional Rulers of Oil Mineral Producing Communities of Nigeria, TROMPCON, paid him a courtesy visit at NDDC headquarters in Port Harcourt.
With him to receive the royal fathers were the NDDC Executive Director Finance and Administration, Mr Mene Derek, and the Executive Director Projects, Engr. (Dr) Samuel Adjogbe.
The NDDC Chief Executive Officer urged the traditional rulers to continue to contribute their quota to the peace and security of the region and by extension, the entire country, stating that the Commission was conscious of the critical role TROMPCON played in national development and the economic growth of the country.
He said: “We are in a very delicate period of electioneering. As royal fathers, you will be called upon to admonish your subjects to play the game of politics according to the rules. You have a duty to remind politicians that the democracy we are enjoying today was hard earned because some people paid for it with their blood.
“We have a responsibility to protect and preserve our democracy. You must, therefore, advise your subjects to play the game with the spirit of sportsmanship, recognising that power comes from God.”
The NDDC boss said that Niger Delta and indeed Nigeria needed peace and stability at these trying times. He added: “We need stability in our country because that is one sure way of attracting foreign direct investments. It will also help our businessmen to grow their investments.”
Ekere noted that the Niger Delta region was occupying a very important position in the country, stating: “We are the goose that lays the golden eggs and the stability of the region translates to economic prosperity for Nigeria.
“We have a duty to continue to show total commitment, respect and support to the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, as the Federal Government has in the last three years shown an unwavering commitment to national growth and development. The President has also shown an uncommon passion to fight the ills of our society, especially corruption.”
Ekere congratulated members of the newly elected national executive of TROMPCON, stating that they were chosen because of their pedigree as distinguished traditional rulers. He assured them that NDDC would sustain the support that it had always given to TROMPCON.
In his address, the National Chairman of TROMPCON, Owong (Dr) Effiong Archianga, congratulated the NDDC on its achievements in providing basic infrastructures such as roads and other development facilities in the nine oil-producing states in the Niger Delta region, in spite of lean financial resources.
He said that as a father, TROMPCON had always stood by NDDC, especially in advocating increased funding from the federal and state governments, as well as oil companies in other to fast track development in the Niger delta region.
The TROMPCON Chairman said that traditional rulers were major stakeholder in the region and should be actively involved or be consulted on important issues, especially the determination of projects and their locations in various communities to ensure effective monitoring and early completion of jobs.
Owong Archianga lamented what he called the unfair treatment of the Niger Delta region by the lopsided appointments into the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC board, “where 10 directors are from the north, 3 from the south west and only two directors from the South-South, the area which produces 90 per cent of the oil and gas of the country.”
The royal father advised the NDDC to organise training and workshops on security, peace building and conflict management for the traditional rulers in the region, in view of the current wave of insecurity in the country.