By ONYEKACHUKWU MELUWA
Urhobo youth across nine (9) local government areas in Delta State, have applauded Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godwill Akpabio, for initiating the stakeholders meeting held on Friday at Oporoza, Warri South-West Council area, even as they insisted in the inauguration of earlier announced Okumagba board of NDDC.
Making the demand under the auspices of Urhobo Youth Forum For Change (UYFC), the youths noted that the Urhobo nation had maintained a peaceful dispositions to the success story of NDDC over the years and therefore deserve to be accorded its due honour on the NDDC board in the interest of justice, equity and fairness.
The body noted that it would be a slap on the face of the Urhobo people for both the federal government and national assembly to announce a new board when Pius Odubu and Bernard Okumagba-led executive that was unveiled by President Muhammadu Buhari and screened by federal lawmakers had not been inaugurated.
In a statement signed by its Coordinator, Hon. Eshanekpe Israel, a.k.a Akpodoro, made available to Journalist in Warri on Friday, the youths said the appropriate thing to do in this circumstance was for the President to complete the process he started two years ago by inaugurating the board he personally announced and submitted their names to the national assembly for screening.
The statement said, “We the Urhobo youths wishes to commend the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Goodswill Akpabio, for the respect he has accorded High Chief Government Ekpemupolo, alias Tompolo, our most respected leader and Grand Officer Commanding (GOC) of the region by coming to comsult with him over the 7-Day ultimatum he had issued to FG to constitute the NDDC board.
“We also appreciate the stakeholders who were present at the peace parley for speaking the mind of our people to the visiting Minister and other federal government delegation present at the Oporoza meeting held yesterday, June 3, 2021, to assuage our people to drop the ultimatum earlier issued by our GOC to the federal government for the composition of a substantive NDDC board.
“We are pleased to know that the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Akpabio, had agreed to commence the process of constituting a new board on his return to Abuja, but we are insisting that the appropriate step for the Minister is to immediately Inaugurate the n Pius Odubu and Bernard Okumagba-led executive, that had been unveiled and screened for the job.
“Anything contrary to this would be interpreted as a slap on the Urhobo people who had been peaceful and law abiding ìn the region, especially with the International Oil Companies (IOCs) operating in our areas and had also contributed immensely to the successful stories that had been recorded by NDDC over the years.
“We however want to appeal that our peaceful nature should not be taken for granted and that is the reason we are appealing to tge the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs to do the needful by inaugurating the Pius Odubu and Bernard Okumagba-led executive as NDDC board without further delay.
“It is only by so doing that the justice, equity and fairness would have been seen to be done to the fourth largest ethnic group in the country and also the Urhobo nation would have been accorded its due honour as a major stakeholder in the NDDC affairs”, the statement concluded”.