The crisis rocking the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) may not be farfetched from an alleged plot by the Niger Delta minister, Godswill Akpabio set up an interim management team for the commission against the team approved by the President Muhammadu Buhari.
A source very close to the leadership of the All Progressives Congress, APC revealed on anonymity grounds how Akpabio shortchanged the agenda of south-south APC leaders in his move to put the entire NDDC under his sole control.
Speaking on the issue, TNG source said Mr Akpabio went ahead to set up an interim management team for the commission against the interest and plan of stakeholders in South-south APC.
The NDDC, set up in the year 2000, was an agency in the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) until the re-election of President Muhammadu Buhari.
Mr Buhari ordered that the agency be moved to the Niger Delta ministry, headed by Mr Akpabio, a former Akwa Ibom governor.
Since his assumption of office, Mr Akpabio has lamented the corruption in the NDDC, describing it as an ‘ATM’ where top officials simply went to steal public funds.
President Buhari has also condemned the corruption and inefficiency of the agency and set up a committee to probe its activities since 2001. Mr Buhari also sent a list of new board members of the NDDC to the Senate for confirmation.
While Mr Buhari’s nominee list was with the lawmakers, Mr Akpabio announced an interim management team for the agency, set up to ensure the development of the oil-producing Niger Delta.
Source revealed that Akpabio started the move to overtake the functions of NDDC by pressuring powers that be in Aso Villa to allow him to oversee the commission alongside the Niger Delta ministry.
“Before now, we all know that the NDDC was independent, but he pressured people in the villa that he wants the NDDC to be under him.
“He created the committee to just at the same time frame when the screening of board members appointed by Buhari was supposed to take place. His plan is to run the affairs of commission the committee he inaugurated.
“He wanted to manipulate the president, but the president’s idea is that the NDDC and the ministry should work together so that they will have accelerated development in the region.
“The president was not affected by the issue of setting up a committee or not, it was Apkabio that masterminded the removal of the ministry which was under the SGF before,
“Earlier, he met with two frontlines APC stalwarts, one in Bayelsa and another from Delta state, he intimates them with the idea of setting up a committee but they rejected it and even labelled him as a traitor. They told Akpabio that NDDC was meant for the region, stressing that if it is forced under one man, it will only frustrate the plans of the commission.
“Even at the national level, our party leaders are not happy with Akpabio.”