By Eze Chukwu
Ilaje leaders of Ondo State have at Igbokoda, Ilaje Local Government headquarters, maintained that the Federal Government should appoint one of their own as the next Managing-Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NNDC).
At the meeting, they insisted that the principle of rotation among the Niger Delta states as contained in the NDDC Act should be followed to the letter.
They drew the attention of government to the letter of Part IV, Section 12(1) of the NDDC Act which spelt out the principle of rotation in the appointment of NNDC top boss, stressing that since inception, no Ondo indigene had occupied the seat. Spokesmen of the groups: Chief Eko Isinmi Okolo of Ilaje Progressive Union (IPU), Comrade Akingboye Agbohun of Ilaje World Congress (IWC) and Comrade Ayenuro Oluwagbenga of Ilaje Youth Congress (IYC) while appealing to President Mohammadu Buhari, urged him “to correct the marginalization” and appoint an Ilaje indigene as the next MD of NDDC.
“Ondo State is the fifth oil producing state by virtue of the oil production from Ilaje oil bearing communities.
“The NDDC Act was established in 2000 and since then, Ondo State has not produced the Managing Director which is over due for us since all the other four states (Akwa Ibom, Delta, Bayelsa and Rivers) have had one of their own as MD of NDDC.
“It is worthy to note that the Ilajes are peaceful and hardworking ethnic group and we believe in using dialogue first in our demands.
“It is our appeal that we should not be denied of the MD position that is the turn of Ondo State to produce, which accrued to us from our God-given resources.
“So we call on Mr. President, who is a father to us also, to see to our outcry and implement the Act in favour of Ilajes this time for the MD position of NDDC.
“We are very worried that the FG over the years has not been fair to the Ilajes on issues of the appointment of an Ilaje because we are peaceful-loving despite the huge crude deposit and oil production in our communities to the benefit of the entire nation.
“Our communities are being eroded by sea incursions due to prolong oil and gas explorations in the off-shore and on-shore drilling going on in our communities, yet no decision have been taken by the government to save our communities and timely give what belongs to the Ilaje people in order to rescue us from the deplorable and delapidated situations.
“We are hopeful that President Buhari will not give in to undue illegal pressures but will do the correct things as a man who advocates rule of law especially as it is the turn of Ilaje to produce the next MD of NDDC”.