A former president of the Ijaw Youths Council (IYC), Comrade Udengs Eradiri, has accepted his appointment as the Special Adviser on Youths Matters to the Sole Administrator of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Mr. Okon Akwa Effiong, urging the agitated youths of the region to sheath their swords and support the new administration at the commission.
He urged the Ijaw youths to support the efforts of the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, and the new sole administrator of the NDDC, Mr. Okon Akwa Effiong, to reposition the commission for the delivery of purposeful development in the region.
Comrade Eradiri, who was the immediate past Bayelsa Commissioner of Environment, was appointed last week amidst rising agitation and protests against the Appointment of Okon Akwa Effiong as Sole Administrator of the NDDC. The appointment of Eradiri was seen as a master stroke and has divided the camps of Ijaw Youths Organisation and those planning to shut down the commission’s headquarters in protest.
Comrade Udengs Eradiri, in a statement issued on Sunday and titled “A CALL FOR CALM”, urged the agitating Ijaw youths to see his appointment by the Sole Administrator as a call for National Service and one that will serve the purpose of progress for the Ijaw nation and peace for Nigeria at large.
Eradiri pointed out that though he is in support of the immediate constitution of a substantive board for the NDDC, he asked the ijaw youths to cease fire and support the sole administrator for the four months he will be in charge at the commission.
“Let us cease fire and allow me navigate the course for our people , my capacity to engage is not in doubt so trust me my comrades . I know that four months is too small to achieve much but with support from my boss I know I can make a difference in your lives and our region”
“I was a commissioner for environment for five months under the harsh conditions I found myself I struck the rock and water came out. Please let’s calm down and support Akwa, the sole administrator for the short time he will be in-charge.
” I stand with you on the constitution of the board which the minister has already made pronouncement and so let’s give the benefit of doubt to the minister for Niger Delta and come on board let’s all work together to achieve a better Niger Delta region”.
He, however, announced that the commission under the leadership of the Sole Administrator, will engage stakeholders from the nine states of the region on the peace and development plan for the region,” the engagement will begin in Warri, Delta state.
“Where I will be meeting with youth groups starting with IYC after consultation with the leadership and we will together draw up the road map for sustainable and practicable solutions to some of our problems and challenges to enable the sole administrator have an all-inclusive plan for our young population”.
“I know you will never fail me as one of you and so I reiterate my appeal for the ijaw youths to support the sole administrator and Godswill Akpabio the minister to reposition the NDDC to its purpose for the true development of the Niger Delta”.
Eradiri also reminded the youths of the region about the sacrifices made in the past which led to the establishment of the intervention agencies including the NDDC but without desired development due to political interests.
” It’s time for us to change strategy my brothers. We, the Ijaws, have been the protesters and agitators in the Niger Delta but who are the billionaires from the NDDC and the oil wealth? Our brothers from other tribes. I know that it’s our strategy that is wrong, we always agitate but miss the opportunities that open up in any conflict situation and that is because we lack the skills and strategy”.
“We agitated as ijaw youths and created NDDC, Bayelsa state but we were not prepared for the spoils of the conflict so instead of the IYC comrades becoming the governors, assembly members, board members etc we left it for others and today people who knew nothing or have no understanding of the struggle took the positions and they use the power and office they’ve occupy for other purposes other than better the lives of our people and region”.