Why I Endorsed Extended Time For A New NDDC Board-Tompolo


Prominent ex militant leader, Government Ekpemupolo, better known as Tompolo, has explained why he do a rethink by relaxing his ultimatum to both the federal government and Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, to reconstitute the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC.
According to Tompolo, the change of heart became imperative following Thursday’s all stakeholders’ meeting in Okporoza, traditional headquarters of the Gbaramatu Kingdom, where it was agreed that there is need to concede more time to the federal to constitute a new board in line with the promise made by Sen Akpabio
The consultative meeting between Sen Akpabio and traditional rulers from the Niger Delta, including Itsekiri, Urhobo, Isoko, Ndokwa and other oil producing minority nationalities in attendance also had representation from both the Delta State government and Ijaw National Congress (INC), all of whom agreed to extend a period of grace that covers both June and July to the minister in order for him constitute a pro-active NDDC board that would fast-track the development of the region.
In a statement on Saturday, Tompolo disclosed that he had to refrain from insisting on the ultimatum as doing so may disrupt the relative peace in the region, adding that his ultimatum became imperative in the first instance because of the urgent need to put government shenanigans away. According to him, there is an urgent need to constituted the NDDC board because it is very dear to the people of the region.
Sources at the meeting disclosed that Sen Akpabio’s near suicide mission to the ex militant’s base helped in no small measure in convincing the ex warlord of government’s genuine intention towards peaceful resolution of the growing empasse. That, according to the sources, convinced other stakeholders to also agree to give a period of grace covering June and July, to reconstitute the board.
An obviously enthusiastic Sen Akpabio, who spoke after the meeting, pledged to put in place a process that will bring out a substantive and pro active NDDC board that would fast-track the development of the region.
“We had a robust discussion and consultation. The meetings have been fruitful. The consensus of stakeholders is that there is a need for more representation in the NDDC and so, a board needs to be constituted…We have also looked at what is affecting the region. The youths applauded, but they want to see more progress, more employment opportunities,” Sen Akpabio announced.
Sen Akpabio also used the occasion to debunk claims in some quarters that the rather hasty decision to meet with the region’s aggrieved stakeholders is a fallout of the ultimatum.
“It is not a function of the ultimatum. It is a function of the fact that it was a call for the government to react to the people’s aspirations. The issue of ultimatum is not something I can speak on because there is a process and it has to start with the Minister. The major thing is that we have committed to working together to ensure we give what the people want,” he pointed out.
It would be recalled that on Sunday, May 30, Tompolo issued a 7-day altimatum, which expires on Monday, June 7, to the federal government and Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Sen Akpabio, insisting on the immediate reconstitution of the NDDC board or face untold consequences, including renewed breakdown of law and order in the restive region.

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