Rivers Unity Government, Federal Government & NDDC MD
By Ikenga Igbo
Recently, more Opposition Political Parties in Rivers State turned out en masse to support the Unity Government of Rt. Hon Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, and Prince Tonye Princewill was chosen as the consensus leader of Rivers coalition of opposition parties. While addressing newsmen, in a press statement issued by additional 13 political parties in Port Harcourt following Prince Tonye Princewill's choice as the consensus leader of the opposition in the State, the gubernatorial candidate of Fresh Democratic Party (FDP) in the 2007 guber election in the State, Dr. M.B. Dagogo Jack said the decision to join the Unity Government was born out of the fact that Governor Chibuike Amaechi administration has shown its preparedness to move the State forward through the initiation of viable infrastructural development projects. Dagogo-Jack maintained that the current inclination of political re-embodiment and realignment in the State and due consultation with the opposition parties and most importantly, considering the future and development of the State have given rise to the choice to support the Unity Government. Dr. Dagogo-Jack, on behalf of the group implored all the remaining opposition political parties, interest groups and of course, members of the public to embrace this collaboration with Gov. Amaechi and Tonye Princewill as leaders with an open mind devoid of suspicion or hidden agenda to move Rivers State to the next level. Not only Dagogo-Jack, it could be recalled that, on the 8th of April 2009, a similar Press briefing was held in Port Harcourt, by another group of 18 political parties led by Chief Harry Alaye of the National Advance Party aligning with the present State government policies and programmes and adoption of Prince Tonye Princewill as the rallying point of the opposition in the State.
While the governor of Rivers State, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Amaechi and the opposition parties are doing everything possible to seeing that the state is peaceful, the Presidency seems mystified on how to handle unfolding developments in the Niger Delta. This is particularly as it relates to the appointment of the Managing Director (MD) of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC). Even at that, one wouldn't understand ehy the Elders and stakeholders of Akwa Ibom stock believe that the position of the NDDC cannot go to must come to Akwa Ibom, and not Rivers State any longer.
Well, no body should blame the Akwa Ibomites since the FG is tarrying in its decision to name the MD, without minding where the person is coming from as far as the person is competent for the position. What has delayed the plan Aso Rock had to name the boss of the NDDC before the end of last week? Can the Akwa Ibo make Nigerians have sleepless night if only recently, the Federal Government said the new managing director of the commission would come from Rivers State, while the chairmanship candidate would emerge from Bayelsa? A good talk! But because the stateholders in the FG are not united like the Unity Government that is operated in Rivers State, since that announcement was made, various stakeholders from Akwa Ibom had intensified their lobby. The Akwa Ibomites are angry since a lot of people see the Action Congress leader in the Rivers State, Prince Tonye Princewill as the man who the MD should fit, apart from prominent sons of the state like the former deputy speakers of the House of Representatives, Chibudom Nwuche and Austin Opara respectively, who were also angled. The Federal Government should not regret its pronouncement at that time which was based on the fact one could not learn why the current development should place a pariah or was causing ripples, more so causing the Akwa Ibom people to be lobbying for the position. Did some of the elders, including some former military governors and technocrats in Akwa Ibom recently not raise the alarm through advertorials and drew the government's attention to the fact that Akwa Ibom deserves to get the position of managing director and not Rivers State? Did sources not say that the Federal Government was currently studying the situation, in line with the provisions of the NDDC Act? Do Nigerians still need incompetent hands? Should MR. President, favourably dispose to making the appointment in line with the provisions pressure from Akwa Ibom?
This is where the problem lies! Are some prominent sons of Akwa Ibom said not to have started lobbying for the position in the hope that the Federal Government would dump Rivers and give the office to them? Was it not learnt that the Obong Godswill Akpabio, has already shown support for one of the sons of the state? Were there no indications that he may have recommended the acting chairman of the commission, Dan Abia for the position? Bizarre! And the state commissioner for information, Aniekan Umanah can't say he is not aware of the speculations on the possibility of the governor recommending somebody for the position, since Umanah said that there was nothing wrong with the Federal Government appointing somebody from the state. He added that the right thing for the Federal Government to do was to consider it for the office?
President Yar'Adua should not set to shock politicians who are pilling pressure on him over the appointment of a new managing director for the NDDC, knowing fully well that Rivers State has a candidate like Princewill so ripe for the job. If the president was said to be carefully shopping for a technocrat, then Princewill is the answer, and his records count for him in the state he hails from and indeed in Nigeria.
Ikenga Igbo writes from Orumba, Anambra State.