…SPOILS OF POLITICAL OFFICE
The lingering battle of control of political gains by the various leaders across political party lines has brought out a puzzle about who actual is in charge of controlling the fallout therein. Immediately the 2015 general elections came to acceptable conclusion there were appointments at various tiers of government in the six states that made up core Niger Delta region of Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Edo and Rivers states. For the political parties that won elections at state level appointments of Commissioners, Aides and Special Assistants were distributed in accordance to those who really paid the price of the battles that brought the leaders into office.
In All Progressives Congress-APC, 2012 leading to 2014 happened to have been the period of hard work by Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi the then executive Governor of Rivers state who was at war with President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan of Peoples Democratic Party-PDP that controlled the federal government. The struggle led to the ouster of PDP in 2015 General polls and change of baton to APC’s President Muhammadu Buhari. The spoils of that victory in South-South Nigeria saw Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi on top of political control having acquired the power at the centre through electoral victory, he had the mandate to appoint his loyalists to various Ministries, Directorates and agencies such as the appointment of Dr. Dakuku Peterside, as NIMASA DG and Dr. Sekonte Davies as Director of Marine Operations at Nigerian Ports Authority-NPA. The Niger Delta Development Commission-NDDC had Mr. Mene Derek as Director of Finance and Administration- DFA and the Board members constituted by President Muhammadu Buhari had his nod.
However, with the change of leadership of All Progressives Congress-APC National chairman where Adams Oshiomhole former Governor of Edo state coming in as national Chairman the political matrix in the Niger delta changes drastically with Amaechi and Oshiomhole at war over control of who will get the control of political appointees in federal offices meant for Niger Delta people.
And further challenges to that struggle got worsened when the former governor of Akwa Ibom state, Godswill Obot Akpabio in his uncommon defection from Peoples Democratic Party-PDP to All Progressives Congress -APC lost his Minority Leader in the Senate but he could not be returned at the 2019 Senatorial election in his constituency. Thus his appointment as Minister of Niger Delta Affairs now had positioned him to control some of the parastatals including Niger Delta Development Commission which had Amaechi’s influence and control put in check by Akpabio’s coming into office as Minister and Adams Oshiomhole being elected as national Chairman of APC which Amaechi never supported, thereby instituting conflicts of interests among the leaders in Niger Delta region.
Recent Board appointments of NDDC management team which produced Adams Oshiomhole’s Deputy Governor His Excellency Pius Odudu being brought in as Chairman-designate of NDDC while Rivers state Representative Ms Yimeobu Joi Nunieh a supporter of Dumo Lulu-Briggs governorship aspirant got appointed as Commissioner in NDDC. This conflict of interest has shown that Godswill Obot Akpabio has demanded for the stoppage of recruitment of staff in NDDC which further removed Amaechi’s influence and the consequences of court litigation stopping the Senate screening of the appointees in NDDC justifies the battle of power, control of political influence.
On the other hand, the coming of His Excellency, Chief Timipre Sylva as Minister of state for Petroleum and his contribution in realizing to the appointment of Dr. Maxwell Oko as a nominee Executive Director Finance and Administration –EDFA in the incoming Management Board of Niger Delta Development Commission-NDDC. Dr. Maxwell Oko was a commissioner in the administration of Timipre Sylva as executive governor of Bayelsa State and having worked with him While Dr. Edmund Daukoru was Minister for Energy during President Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration. This indicates that the Niger Delta politicians are all in scramble for political crumbs especially for their loyalists. It is this plethora of struggle that has fragmented the pursuit for common good for the citizenry in the area. And rate of violence raging on in Niger Delta may not be disassociated with the negligence of infrastructural provisions and human capital development especially economic empowerment.