Former Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Timi Frank, on Wednesday, called on leaders of the Ijaw Youth Congress (IYC) and all Niger Delta stakeholders to shun an emergency meeting being called by the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio, on Friday in Abuja.
He urged them to avoid any such meetings until the ultimatum given by High Chief Government Ekpemupolo (aka Tompolo) for the reconstitution of a substantive board for the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) is complied with by the Federal Government.
Frank, in a statement in Abuja, warned that the meeting summoned by Akpabio in Abuja is not in the good interest of the region.
He wondered why Akpabio, as minister of Niger Delta Affairs, should summon Ijaw leaders in particular and Niger Delta leaders in general to meet him in the Federal Capital Territory under the purview of another minister instead of holding such a parley in any of the Niger Delta states.
He insisted that the proposed meeting in Abuja was an insult on the people of Niger Delta, “particularly our father, Chief Edwin Kiagbodo Clark and members of the IYC and INC.”
The Bayelsa-born political activist added: “The purported meeting with our people in Abuja by Akpabio is a deliberate ploy to undermine and deceive the Ijaws and Niger Delta people as well as the Federal Government over his selfish and sinister agenda.
“The action of Akpabio is based on his plans to divert Nigerians’ attention from the ultimatum handed down by Tompolo where he called for the urgent reconstitution of a substantive board for the NDDC.
“The insincerity of Akpabio is responsible for his call on Niger Delta leaders to meet him in Abuja. Why did he fail to call this type of meeting before now, if truly, he is sincere and his purpose altruistic?
“If any such meeting is to be convened at all, it has be held in any of the Niger Delta states.
Akpabio cannot be sitting comfortably in Abuja and summon our elders and leaders like mere errand boys.
“The proposed meeting is an insult. If the purpose is genuine, he should have called for the meeting in any of the Niger Delta states.
“I therefore call on the INC and the IYC, including all Niger Delta stakeholders to shun the call for a meeting by Akpabio. Whoever attends this meeting will be doing against the interests and aspirations of the peoples of the Niger Delta.
“I am using this opportunity to call on the Federal Government to respect the ultimatum given by Tompolo as nothing will change the positions of Chief Clark, Niger Delta governors and other stakeholders who have demanded the sack of the illegal sole administrator of the NDDC and the immediate reconstitution of the board of the agency.”
He advised the presidency not to accept any position paper from Akpabio which he intends to use to cover the illegalities he has so far perpetrated in the NDDC and the region.
“We therefore, insist and stand by the demands of High Chief Government Ekpemupolo as stated in his ultimatum concerning the reconstitution of the NDDC Board.
“In the same vein, warn that all genuine and concerned sons and daughters of the Niger Delta region must ignore invitations already extended by Akpabio for a meeting with Niger Delta leaders on Friday in Abuja as he did not consult the governors of the region or Chief EK Clark, who is the father of the region.
“Akpabio only invited those on his payroll to the kangaroo meeting. Anybody who attends the meeting as called by Akpabio would be counted as one of the enemies of the good people of the Niger Delta region”, he said.
Comrade Timi Frank
Ex-APC deputy spokesman