The bid by the federal Government to constitute the board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) is generating tension amongst members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Bayelsa State.
It was gathered that Bayelsa State is to produce the Managing-Director/Chief Executive Office (C.E.O) of the commission if it is eventually constituted.
Tension however heightens with the announcement of a former chief of staff to the Governor of Bayelsa state chief of staff to the Governor of Bayelsa State Chief Samuel Ogbuku as the new Managing Director.
Some persons are of the view that the appointment is in good taste while some are accusing the Minister of state petroleum Resources chief Timipre Sylva of influencing the appointment of his alley to the position.
Some chiefs from Bayelsa west senatorial district said that their son Dimaro Deinyebofa was the rightful person to occupy the position and chided the minister for his bias nomination.
In a letter signed by paramount ruler of Koromotoru Kingdom, Perekebina Alfred, paramount ruler of Peretorugbene, Chief Alexander Daunemighan and seven other traditional rulers, they said although Ekeremor has more oil wells than Nembe, Sylva had sidelined them for his Nembe kinsmen.
They urged the minister to support an Ekeremor indigene, Denyanbofa Dimaro, for the Managing Director of NDDC to balance the irregularities he had created.
They said Dimaro is a trusted All Progressives Congress (APC) chieftain and his emergence as MD of NDDC would open doors for more people to join the party and secure its victory in future elections.
“As Minister of Petroleum, Sylva controls the Nigerian Content Monitoring and Development Board (NCDMB), the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas with his kinsmen, Simbi Wabote and Edmund Daukoru, as Executive Secretary and Chairman and it will only be logical, if he supports our son to balance the equation.
“By his action, Bayelsa West Senatorial District, comprising Ekeremor and Sagbama councils are unfairly treated. Ekeremor Council is a major oil and gas producing area, besides giving substantial votes to the APC in the 2015 and 2019 elections that gave it victory,” the letter reads.
They solicited President Muhammadu Buhari’s assistance to consider appointing the substantive Managing Director of NDDC to someone from communities in Ekeremor Council, adding: “In our opinion, the polity and the region is already overheated and anything that will cause further agitations should be avoided.”
Besides, the Niger Delta Oil and Gas Producing Communities (NDOGPC) also accused Sylva of delaying the constitution of a substantive board of the NDDC.
In a statement issued by its National Coordinator, Chief Preye Olomu, the group stated that Sylva’s interest in nominating Maxwell Okoh from his Bayelsa East Senatorial District, which already has majority of the federal appointments, was causing disaffection in the Bayelsa West District.
It faulted the situation in which Bayelsa West had been shortchanged due to Sylva’s ethnic bias in spite of their commitment and contributions to the APC.
While commending the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio for his choice of an Ekeremor indigene from Peretorugbene in the person of Denyanbofa Dimaro for the Managing Director in the new board, Olomu hinted that Sylva had nominated other federal appointees without ceding any position to Bayelsa West District. A group the Niger Delta Oil and Gas-Producing Communities (NDOGPC) also berated the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylvia, for allegedly fanning the embers of discord in the All Progressives Congress (APC) in his home state of Bayelsa.
The group stated that the alleged push by Sylva for a nominee from his Bayelsa East Senatorial District, Samuel Ogbuku to emerge as the Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) was one marginalization too many against Bayelsa West, and a source of crisis in the APC.
The NDDC board is expected to be reconstituted by the presidency before the end of June following agreements reached between the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio and stakeholders of the region after weeks of agitations that culminated in protests.
The NDOGPC in a statement on Thursday by its National Coordinator, Preye Olomu, has therefore given the minister a seven-day ultimatum to withdraw his nominee and former Chief of Staff or risk plunging the APC into crisis.
It noted that Sylva as the leader of the APC in Bayelsa had reportedly demonstrated ethnic bias by facilitating federal appointments for people from his senatorial district alone.
The group said the former governor of Bayelsa had given more than sufficient federal appointments to his Bayelsa East at the expense of APC members from Bayelsa West that was yet to produce even one federal appointee.
It listed over 10 federal appointments of APC faithful in the state occupied by Sylva’s kinsmen and political sons and daughters with more than half of them from his Nembe and Brass localities, including his village Okpoama.
The group threatened to pass a vote of no confidence in him if he failed to withdraw his candidate for the NDDC managing director at the expiration of the notice.
It further stated, “There are at least 10 appointments that have gone to people of Sylva’s East District without anyone, not even one, coming from the Bayelsa West District.
“This is injustice to us party faithful from that district. Now, the MD for the NDDC has been allotted to Bayelsa State and Sylva is pushing to submit the name of his own stooge? We won’t accept that.
“All we ask is for the MD of NDDC to be ceded to us in the West District since we don’t have any. The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs has already consulted with us in his last visit and we, the APC stakeholders from that zone, have unanimously recommended Mr Denyanbofa Dimaro to be the MD of the proposed NDDC board.”