By Simon Utebor, Yenagoa
Civil rights group, Niger Delta Oil and Gas Producing Communities (NDOGPC), has accused the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, of allegedly shortchanging the people of Bayelsa West in allocation of federal appointments in Bayelsa State.
The group in a statement on Tuesday by its National Coordinator, Chief Preye Olomu, reeled out names of recent federal appointees in the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state to be persons from the Bayelsa East District (where Sylva comes from) and few persons from the Central District.
Olomu alleged that there was no single appointee from the Bayelsa West District comprising Sagbama and Ekeremor local governments to maintain the equitable balance of federal appointments in the state.
He also accused Sylva of the seeming delay in the constitution of a substantive board for the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) because of his alleged choice of a young man from his district to be the Managing Director of the commission.
Olomu claimed that Sylva’s alleged nomination was causing disaffection and uproar from people of the Bayelsa West District who had been allegedly shortchanged by his ethnic bias against them despite their commitments and contributions to the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Bayelsa.
He, however, commended the Minister of the Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, for his choice of an Ekeremor son from Peretorugbene, Senator Denyanbofa Dimaro, to be the Managing Director of the forthcoming board.
He, therefore, called on the minister to step down his nominee, whom he described as being in his 30s without cognate experience in the sector and allow Akpabio’s nomination of a roundly qualified, mature and experienced Senator Dimaro (whose pedigree as an astute leader is not in doubt) to sail through.
He claimed Akpabio had consulted with people of the district and the state at large before the choice of Dimaro was unanimously accepted in ensure justice, equity and fair play to the party faithful across the state.
Olomu warned that if Sylva failed to heed the warning by rooting for his own stooge, then he should be further held responsible for the factionalisation and crisis that will erupt in the APC.
The warning by the rights group is coming just barely four days after seven traditional rulers sent a protest letter to President Muhammadu Buhari claiming that that Sylva planned to upturn Akpabio’s nominee from Ekeremor, Bayelsa West, as the substantive NDDC MD.
The royal fathers had said that the development, if not well handled, would erode the benefits recorded by the Federal Government’s engagement with critical stakeholders to vacate the seven-day ultimatum issued by ex-militant leader Government Ekpemupolo, alias Tompolo.
In the petition to President Muhammadu Buhari, the monarch said the Petroleum minister’s move against the nominee was against the interest of justice, fairness and equity.
They had appealed to the President to intervene and stop any act capable of causing further agitations in the region.