It is no longer news that the board of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, has been dissolved by the president, Muhammadu Buhari.
The dissolution, as dramatic as it was, however came as a huge shock. On that fateful Friday, the immediate past managing director, Nsima Ekere, who had since picked the ticket of the APC to run for the office of governor of Akwa Ibom State, had held a management meeting with all those concerned.
At the meeting, he had thanked the management for their support and then informed them that he was resigning. He handed over to the executive director, Mr Mene Derek, an Ogoni man and strong ally of Senator Magnus Abe.
Shortly after the handover, he engaged the then chairman of the commission, Senator Victor Ndoma Egba in a telephone discussion, where he informed him that he had formally resigned. From the conference hall where the meeting took place, information got out that Derek had taken over as acting managing director.
In less than 30 minutes, some forces went to work and in another two hours, the president was handed a list of nominees for announcement as new members of the board.
It was learnt that neither Ekere nor Ndoma-Egba had pre knowledge of what has now been described a coup in the NDDC. About 7pm same day, the news went out, that a new team had been put in place. Derek had to give way.
In the place of Ndoma-Egba, the minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Usani Usani took over in supervisory capacity. Usani has always been Amaechi's loyalist. It was Amaechi that facilitated his emergence as minister.
The development has attracted reactions from Abe, whose loyalist was dropped, allegedly by Amaechi, as well as the state governor, Nyesom Wike, who pilloried Amaechi for allegedly masterminding the sack of an Ogoni son from the NDDC. Abe AND Amaechi have been at daggers drawn for sometime now.
In reacting to the development, Abe said "no manner of strong-arm tactics will compel us to give up the struggle. If anything, every act of injustice strengthens our resolve.
"First, let me thank the President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, President Muhammadu Buhari for the privilege given to the two prominent Rivers Sons, Mr. Derek Lenyie Mene who served as Executive Director, Finance and Administration of the NDDC and Iboroma Harry who served as the Rivers State Commissioner on the Board.
“However, it is an open secret that Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Amaechi had long threatened to remove Mr. Mene from the commission for his principled stand on issues of injustice and fairness in Rivers politics, particularly as it affects the marginalization of the people of Rivers South-East Senatorial District in the leadership of the State.
"Coincidentally, the only executive removed in the dissolution of the board is Mr. Derek Mene and his position has now been given to someone from Rivers East Senatorial District, the home district of the Minister and present Governor of the State.
l am particularly proud of Mr. Mene, who stood his ground in the face of a vicious campaign of hate, calumny, threat, intimidation, and deprivation.”
He said Mene refused to make enemies on instruction and remained open to everyone, "Positions, money and, power, will come and go but truth and honour are everlasting.
"Let me assure all lovers of justice in APC that the struggle for fairness, equity, justice and respect for our members in the APC is no way affected by the dissolution of NDDC board.
"Our struggle will continue until the God of justice speaks and every other voice of oppression, injustice, and falsehood will be silenced," Abe maintained.
In the same vein, Wike who spoke in Ogoni land derided Amaechi.
He said: "At times, it is good to taste the other side to know who loves you. The Ogoni people have tasted APC and they have seen very high level of neglect and marginalization.
"The Minister of Transportation promised you Governorship and denied you that position. Then Ogoni got the position of Executive Director of Finance at NDDC. Even that one, he has collected and given to his boy, Chris Amadi ".
With this, Amaechi now has a firm grip of the NDDC. He was said to have nominated all the people that were named last week into the new board.