The Senator representing Akwa Ibom North-West (Ikot Ekpene) Senatorial District, Senator Chris Ekpenyong, has advised the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, to avoid unnecessary distractions and use his tenure to address the challenges confronting the Niger Delta region.
Speaking in an interview during the weekend in Uyo, Senator Ekpenyong also urged Akpabio to take advantage of the forensic auditing of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) ordered by President Muhammadu Buhari to purge the Commission of all issues hindering it from actualizing its core mandate since it was established in 2000.
Senator Ekpenyong added, “As a Senator representing a section of the Niger Delta region, it is my belief and that of other leaders of Niger Delta that this position of Mr President on this matter is right. “I, therefore, want to advise my brother, the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs to make judicious use of this opportunity during his tenure to ensure that the region gets due attention in terms of physical infrastructural development, myriads of challenges confronting the region over the years. “He should avoid unnecessary distractions and set his eyes on the big task of cleaning the Augean stable at the NDDC for holistic growth and development of the region”
Ekpenyong said this is the time for the Minister to walk the talk so that the tag of uncommon transformer that he is known for would be effectively cemented.
He recalled that prominent Niger Delta leaders and stakeholders fought for the 13% Oil Derivation principle and the creation of the NDDC for the overall development of the Niger Delta.
“The NDDC has no development template and the challenge facing him now is to make the NDDC functional in order to achieve set goals including fixing critical regional infrastructure such as the East-West road, Ikot Ekpene-Calabar-Itu-Odukpani road, Ikot Ekpene-Aba road, Ikot Ekpene-Ariam-Umuahia Road, Abak-Ikot Abasi road, Ekparakwa-Iwukem road and others scattered across the region.
“Effective galvanization of such regional development master plan will enhance economic integration as envisioned by Niger Delta leaders including former governors Victor Attah (Akwa Ibom), Peter Odili (Rivers); the late Alamiyeseigha (Bayelsa) and James Ibori (Delta)”, he noted