Dennis Udoma, Uyo
The appointment of Obong Nsima Ekere as the Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) by President Muhammadu Buhari has been hailed by Akwa Ibom traditional rulers.
They comprise those of Ibibio, Annang and Oro; the three major ethnic groups in Akwa Ibom State.
The Ibibio which predominates 16 of the 31 Local Government Areas (LGAs) of the state, is followed by the Annang with eight and Oro with five.
Obong Nisma Ekere, it would be recalled, was a one time Deputy-Governor of Akwa Ibom State.
In a goodwill message to President Buhari, Uyio Ikpaisong Ibibio, the supreme council of Ibibio traditional rulers, expressed “deepest appreciation” to the President for Mr. Ekere’s appointment which, according to it, will enable Akwa Ibom State to complete its tenure as the chief executive of the commission and enable the oil-producing Niger Delta states to witness massive environmental transformation and human capacity development.
In a message signed by Uyio Ikpaisong and Paramount Ruler of Etinan LGA, Edidem Ime Dickson Umoette, the Council urged Akwa Ibom people to continue to support President Buhari to enable him deliver the much-needed democracy dividends to Nigerians and prayed for the success of Mr. Ekere as he takes on his new task.
While also thanking the President for the appointment of Mr. Samuel Frank as the Commissioner representing Akwa Ibom on the NDDC Board, it, however, appealed to the President to appoint more Akwa Ibom people into Federal Boards and Commissions in the country.
On its part, the Council of Oro Traditional Rulers (COTR) said they were expressing “our deep appreciation to President Muhammadu Buhari for the well-deserved appointment of Obong Nsima Udo Ekere as the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and Mr. Samuel George Frank as the Commissioner representing Akwa Ibom State in the NDDC Board.”
In the message signed by the Chairman of the Council, Ovong Edet Isemin, and Offong Etim Oquong for Secretary, the Oro monarchs described Mr. Ekere as “an illustrious son of Akwa Ibom State with a track record of positive achievements and successes in all his previous endeavours.”
The council said Mr. Ekere exhibited a high sense of responsibility and friendly disposition as the Deputy Governor of Akwa Ibom State which brought him closer to the people and won him many admirers in many parts of the state.
It expressed optimism that Mr. Ekere’s tenure as the NDDC MD will witness tremendous environmental development of the Niger Delta states.
The council, which is the apex traditional institution of the entire people of Oro, particularly urged Mr. Ekere to ensure that the NDDC under his watch makes its presence felt in Oro Nation to engender a sense of belonging in all sections of the Niger Delta region.
Similarly, Afe Annang, the supreme socio-cultural organization of the Annang people, said Mr. Ekere’s appointment was “heart-warming and reassuring to all right-thinking Nigerians, coming as it does at a time when Nigeria needed people of proven ability and integrity in positions of authority in the country.”
In a congratulatory message to the new NDDC MD and signed by Itai Afe Annang IV, Okuku Pius Effiong, Eside III, who doubles as the Clan Head of Ikpe in Essien Udim LGA, the organization expressed the belief that with Mr. Ekere’s well-known pedigree and astuteness, he will discharge the functions of his new office effectively and satisfactorily.
Afe Annang thanked President Buhari for “this careful choice and for giving due cognizance to the people of Akwa Ibom State, in particular, and the South-South Zone, in general,” and prayed God to continue to guide him in running the affairs of Nigeria.
Also, Obong Etim Charles Daniel Abia, the Paramount Ruler of Eket LGA, the base of the Ekid-speaking people, said he was confident that Mr. Ekere’s tenure will experience a focused development approach given his experience as a former Deputy Governor of Akwa Ibom State as well as his patriotism and commitment to the development of the state, in particular, and Niger Delta generally.
In a letter of congratulation to Mr. Ekere, the Ekid monarch prayed for his success and God’s blessing, expressing the hope that his appointment will make a difference in the state and region.
Obong Abia urged Mr. Ekere to redress the serious imbalance in project execution in various states of Niger Delta “in accordance with the quantum of oil and gas production which is a requirement of the NDDC Act.”
He suggested that Mr. Ekere should, at the earliest opportunity, undertake a tour of the Niger Delta region and hold a town hall meeting in each Federal Constituency to take note and understand the needs of the people and where their interests can best be served with his intervention.