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A Cross-Section of Members of The Natives

ABUJA/Nigeria: A citizens-led anti-sabotage organisation under the aegis of The Natives, has commended President Muhammadu Buhari for the reconstitution of the Board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) as a birthday gift for the region.

The group also congratulated the President on his 80th birthday anniversary, adding that Buhari has stabilised democracy not only in Nigeria but throughout Africa as attested to by the President of the United States of America, Joe Biden.

In a statement released on Tuesday in Abuja, the leader of The Natives, Hon. Smart Edwards, urged the elders and all the people of Niger Delta to reciprocate the good gesture of President Buhari by giving necessary support to the new board and the nominee for NDDC Managing Director, Chief Sam Ogbuku.

According to The Natives, the current administration of President Buhari has faced the most turbulent times with multiple recessions and Covid-19 but has been able to steer the ship of Nigeria faithfully.

“Although your traducers will find it disturbing, the truth is that you held the Nation that was well at the combustion stage. From Cattle rearing challenge to IPOB to Boko Haram/ISWAP, to corruption fight and corruption fighting back, to citizen-focused activities like Amnesty, MarketMoni, Humanitarian N-Power, Anchor Borrowers Programmes, Covid-19 interventions, free and fair elections, among others, we can’t but pour out this encomium on you with encouragement to finish strong.

“We are using this medium to appreciate the approach of Mr. President towards NDDC while sanitising it. Indeed, hell was let loose, and scores of scandals and scams all came to the fore, but you stayed forthright, committed and determined to give it a new face, you listened to the Governors, embarked on the forensic investigation despite the onslot of desperate politicians and opportunists, who got weary of any efforts to establish a new order.

“Indeed, you are a man of legacies, you will not be forgotten. NDDC this is your golden opportunity ” the statement said.

While commending Buhari for the reconstitution of the NDDC Board, The Natives said “this is a major lifeline offered again by the President to our people, it started with forensic investigation and then the desire for the rightful compensation of the region by given it a substantive Board. This is surely a new beginning and thus deserves the cooperation of all.

“We are calling on all Niger Deltans to embrace the new board without rancour, to pull themselves together in love in the interest of its people, to show the world that the welfare of its people is a priority in the hearts of their leaders than personal gains of private individuals.

“This Board is designed as a square peg in a square whole, the people want development and that is the interest of President Buhari, hence we will not fold hands to watch a powerful few sabotage this good intentions.

“We must begin to be deliberate as a Nation, President Muhammadu Buhari has signaled a new order and has chosen a woman to head the Board, signifying the need for a passionate motherly touch he expects from projects and programmes of the agency for its people.

“Chief Sam Ogbuku, the nominee for Managing Director is a thoroughbred, a former student leader, a youth leader, and one who has been constantly in touch with the struggle for the emancipation of Niger Deltans, he is vastly aware of the major issues of militancy, an advocate of peace and conflict resolution, he is a testament of profound service, hence under him NDDC would be people-centered, youth and community engagements will take priority in the processes, planning, projects and programmes in the Niger Delta. The restoration of the life and environment of communities are expected at the NDDC.”

The group, however, called on all peoples, tribes, tongues, and persons of influence in the Niger Delta, particularly the elders and the unions, to sheathe their swords and end all bitterness and bickering that have underdeveloped its region, and allow the new  NDDC leadership to works for its People.

“We charge everyone in the spirit of comradeship to rise above personal ego and perspectives towards the shortlisted board and embrace the timely opportunity to fast-track development in the region.

“We call for support for Lauretta Onochie-led new Board and the wealth of experience Hon. Sam Ogbuku and his team in the saddle of the NDDC will bring forth.

“We call on all those who have approached the court to stop the screening process to be weary of sabotage and the unnecessary consequences of others emulating such actions, as it would be counter prcounterproductivehe efforts of President Muhammadu Buhari and that of the masses who earnestly hope for renewal and restoration.

“We appeal to them to jaw rather than war war, so we can begin the quest of the region together towards greatness.

“So President Buhari must be reciprocated with love, hence we call on the South-south elders to reach out to all the aggrieved parties to ensure a speedy clearance at the National Assembly. When as a Father of a Nation, the President does everything to move the country and its integral parts forward, we must show understanding and make sacrifices too.”

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