Call for Akpabio’s removal has ethnic undertone – Akwa Ibom Ex-militants
The Akwa Ibom State Phase 11 Ex-Militants Forum of the Niger Delta Presidential Amnesty Programme has claimed that recent calls by some Niger Delta groups and some individuals for the removal of the Honourable Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Obot Akpabio has ethnic colorations.
They added that such calls were simply because Akpabio is an indigene of Akwa Ibom State and not necessarily that he has committed any offense.
In a statement issued by the leader of the ex-militants Comrade Imoh Stephen Okoko and made available to newsmen in Uyo on Thursday, the group noted that it was not the first time, some faceless individuals within the region would be asking for Senator Akpabio’s removal.
According to them, “After a careful analysis of the various reasons advanced by the protesting individuals and groups, we wish to state that these calls are all laden with ethnic sentiments and therefore leave much to be desired.
“And those making the call are parochial minded and selfish individuals whose interest is above the general well-being of the region, a major reason why the Niger Delta has remained very backward and largely underdeveloped despite the large chunk of funds sunk into it.
“We, therefore, wish to say that the call for Akpabio’s removal is simply because he is an Akwa Ibom State indigene and not necessarily that he has committed any offense.
“On our part, we totally reject the call for the Minister’s removal, but rather commend the President for making the best choice for the Ministry of the Niger Delta.”
They regretted that most appointees from Akwa Ibom State Origin have allegedly been treated badly and opposed when appointed to sensitive positions at the federal level and on issues relating to the development of the region.
Buttressing their claims, the group recalled that on the creation of the Niger Delta Ministry, the appointment of the erstwhile Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) under Chief Obasanjo’s government, Obong Ufot Ekaette, of blessed memory, as pioneer Minister of the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, was greeted with protests from the Ijaws and other ethnic groups in the region based on flimsy and unsubstantiated reasons, just because he was from Akwa Ibom State.
They said his successor at the Ministry, Mr. Godday Orubebe, who was Obong Ekaette’s Minister of State at the time, was however hailed despite his ‘seeming poor performance because he is an Ijaw man.’
They further said the pioneer NDDC’s Executive Director, Projects, late Engr. Udo Mboso was protested against, likewise Mr. Nsima Ekere, the immediate-past NDDC Managing Director.