Thu. Apr 9th, 2020

Amaechi Loses Grip Of NDDC As Bayelsa Monarch, IYC Set Agenda For Maxwell Oko

6 min read

Transportation minister, Chief Rotimi Amaechi appear to have lost out completely in the power game for the control of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC. This loss comes after he also lost out at the state level as none of his men in the APC could secure any elective office during the recently concluded general elections.
Before now, Amaechi was virtually in charge of the NDDC, as his men were the ones who called the shots there. It was believed that through Magnus Abe, he nominated a one-time executive director in charge of finance and administration, Mene Derek.
When Amaechi fell out with Abe, he was accused of seeking the dissolution of the entire board, after the resignation of the then chairman, Senator Victor Ndoma Egba and the then managing director, Nsima Ekere, who both resigned to seek elective offices in their states.
The mission was accomplished and then Amaechi succeeded in getting on board, Chris Amadi, his kinsman as a replacement for Derek. He also got Prof Nelson Brambaifa to be appointed in acting capacity.
There was almost nothing done in the NDDC without Amaechi’s consent. Added to this, he brought in the then minister of Niger Delta affairs, Usani Usani, known to be his loyalist, to supervise affairs in the commission.
At a thanksgiving service in honour of Amadi after his appointment, Amaechi who was represented by a factional Rivers State Chairman of All Progressives Congress (APC), Ojukaye Flag-Amachree, spoke of Amadi’s patience before the appointment came.
Amaechi was reported to have said that“destiny can only be delayed, it cannot be denied. You need to understand how patient Chris Amadi has been, and what he passed through before his appointment as Acting EDFA of NDDC, then you would know that it is indeed the handwork of God. I thank God. Let us return the glory to God Almighty. I wish you (Amadi) success.”
Amadi himself did not forget to recognise Amaechi’s role in his appointment. He had said that “today is a significant day in the annals of history of Isiokpo Kingdom, Ikwerre people and Rivers State. I come from a very humble and poor family in Adanta, Isiokpo.
“Sometime in 1998, God, by His divine mercies and connections, made my path to cross with our leader, Amaechi. Since that day till today, I find in him a brother and a father. He has taken me as his personal project. I cannot write my history without mentioning Rotimi Amaechi.
“He was there when my father was sick, he paid the bills for him to be treated abroad, but unfortunately, he could not make it. We brought him back to bury him and Amaechi still took care of the burial.
“Amaechi had been on this project in the last three years. He was resilient and God used him to make my appointment as Acting EDFA of NDDC possible. I give God all the glory. It is only God in heaven that can bless Amaechi and pay him back. It does not matter how some people try to undermine him, but God will continue to bless him. If I do not make this clarification, some people may wonder what led to this transformation.”
But Amadi is now history as he has been sacked. His reign ended the same day Brambaifa was sacked as acting MD. Usani has since been out of the way, after he failed to return to the cabinet. Amaechi who took him there, could also not succeed in securing his re-appointment.
But Amaechi’s loss is seen to be a gain for Chief Timipre Sylva, the APC leader in Bayelsa State. Sylva now appears to be much more influential in the scheme of things, as minister of state petroleum. He is the only minister that will be reporting directly to the president.
Aside this, Sylva is believed to have been the person who nominated Amadi’s replacement as well as the Rivers State representative on the board of the NDDC. People believe that Sylva is now the emerging leader of the APC in the south-south, only second to Adams Oshiomhole, the APC national chairman.
Meanwhile, a former chairman, Bayelsa State council of traditional rulers, King W.S. Igbugburu has counselled the new Executive Director, Finance and Administration, EDFA, of the NDDC, Mr Maxwell Oko to maintain his integrity and good name throughout the period of his service in the commission.
Igbugburu who was full of praises for the president, Muhammadu Buhari for identifying Oko for the appointment said having known him during his days as commissioner in Bayelsa, he was confident that Oko will deliver, if he refused to be hoodwinked by fraudsters whom he said were killing the commission.
This is coming even as the president of Ijaw Youths Council, Pereotubo Oweilaemi has challenged Oko not to disappoint those who believe in his forthrightness and ability to effect changes in the NDDC.
I separate interviews, Igbugburu and Oweilaemi said with Oko’s appointment, there was hope that funds meant for the development of the Niger Delta and warehoused in the NDDC would henceforth be judiciously managed.
The IYC president said “Comrade Maxwell Oko’s appointment as Executive Director of Finance and Administration of the Niger Delta development Commission is a square peg in a square hole and is well deserved. You know that Comrade Oko is a founding member of the Ijaw Youths Council who is passionate about the development of the region.
“He was chairman of IYC central zone. He has held several other political offices including commissioner of power and energy in Bayelsa State under Chief Timipre Silver as governor. He also worked with the then petroleum minister, king Daukoru. Maxwell is experienced and he is a man of the youths.
“We are very certain that he will use his office to redirect the vision of the creation of the commission and bring about desired peace and the long awaited development to the region. I congratulate him on behalf of the ijaw Youth Council ( IYC) worldwide.
“Our agenda for him is that he should use his position to address the issues IYC has been canvassing for. As a former chairman, IYC central zone, of course he will not expect us to remind him that the Ijaw nation needs an even development from the NDDC. He should ensure that all ongoing projects in Ijaw land are completely executed.
“The Commission should also initiate youth empowerment programmes in order to engage our teaming jobless youths across the region.The purpose for which the commission was established has not been successfully utilised. The developmental response by the commission towards the region is still below expectation.
“Now that we have a former national executive member of the IYC on the board of the NDDC, we are very certain that most of our demands will be achieved. All we care for is that let the commission adequately respond to the developmental needs of the region which should be commensurate to its budgetary provisions.
“I think that for Buhari to make the choice of Maxwell Oko in the new NDDC Board means he has listened to our yearnings and aspirations. I think this is a test case to the Maxwell to show that he has concern for his people which is glaringly the reason why Buhari considered him. Mr. President must have noticed that someone having the spirit of our struggle will know our concerns more than others. The bulk now ends in Oko’s table to prove Buhari’s sincerity to the Ijaw people.”
On his part, Igbugburu lamented that the NDDC had been turned to a family affair in the recent past, while development projects suffered in various forms. He said he had known Oko to be very hard working and straightforward, right from his days as an IYC activist. He prayed for him to apply wisdom in the handling of all issues, especially in dealing with those who may think that it would be business as usual.

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