By Glory Eruka, Asaba
Some senior members of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, have descended on the Executive Governor of Akwa Ibom State, His Excellency, Mr. Udom Gabriel Emmanuel over his alleged counter-productive comments against the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC.
Governor Udom had during a security summit held at Ibom Hall, Uyo, Akwa Ibom state, Tuesday, warned the NDDC against carrying-out any developmental projects in the Niger Delta without an approval by the respective state governors.
At the summit was the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Ibrahim Idris and other top security officials. Also in attendance were governors of the Niger Delta states, Minister of the Niger Delta Affairs, Mr. Usani Uguru Usani as well as the Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, Mr. Nsima Ekere and others.
In his comment during his speech, Gov. Udom said: “Let me also use this opportunity that the MD of NDDC is here to state clearly that NDDC does not own even a piece of land. It is the Governors that are in charge of land. NDDC should not enter any of the nine states without permission from the Governors”.
Reacting to the comment, a senior member of the PDP, Chief Lazarus Adaba, who was in company of the Delta state’s contingents, said the governor’s comment was uncalled for. He noted with dismay the negative implication of such comments on the developmental efforts of the NDDC.
He said: “I don’t think that comment was necessary. In fact, if you saw when he was presenting his speech in there, you would find out that he (Gov. Udom) came with an already prepared speech. That would have been enough from a host governor. But for him to make that addendum, shows infantile. You cannot stop a federal government agency from carrying out developmental projects like road construction in any part of the country. The statement shows he had some misunderstanding with his brother, the MD. But again, that is not necessary”.
Reacting to questions on the position of other governors in the Niger Delta, he said on the issue, Adaba said: “Well, I am not a governor. But I am sure my Governor, His Excellency, Okowa, does not support such comments because it is counter-productive. If you were inside the hall, you will notice that no other governor, including my governor supported his comment. I am sure no sane person will support him. And I can say that the Akwa Ibom state governor is on his own.
He is not speaking for the PDP of which I am a stakeholder in my state. Don’t also forget that the NDDC is an interventionist agency. It intervenes in areas where the state governors have shown a level of incapacitation. Don’t also forget that we have contractors in the Niger Delta, handling the NDDC projects, who are PDP members”.
Chief Adaba, who was addressing newsmen at the Ibom Hall grounds before departing for Delta state, however advised the Akwa Ibom state governor to reach out to his kinsman, Mr. Ekere, in order to sort out any political differences, rather than making comments that would hamper the development of the oil-rich region.