Niger Delta Minister and former Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Chief Godswill Akpabio has said that the Niger Delta Region must ‘forge a bond of peace’ for true development to occur.
He made the call while receiving Party Leaders under the aegis of Niger Delta APC Youth Leaders at the Ministry of Niger Delta on Friday.
Engr. Gabriel Iduseri South South APC Zonal Youth Leader who led the delegation said, “We are here today not just for a courtesy visit but we are here also to inform you that we appreciate what you are doing. The Youths of the South South, South West and South East states of Niger Delta laud your plans and projects for the region and we are ready to promptly queue up behind you anytime we are called upon to do so.
Also speaking, State Youth Leader of the All Progressives Congress in Ondo State, Comrade Olutayo Babalola extolled the Niger Delta Minister for ‘doing a great job’.
In Comrade Olutayo’s words, “Our Honourable Minister here is doing a great job for which we must unreservedly commend him. This job is not for ordinary men but can only be handled by indefatigable men with boundless energy.
Responding, the Minister pledged to ramp up youth focused projects in the Niger Delta zone and called for cooperation from the Party Youth Leaders.
“The Niger Delta is dear to me and I am here to ensure the highest levels of development for the region and its youths. It is a sad thing that the region has not witnessed a level of development commensurate with the funds that have been spent by the Niger Delta Ministry and the Niger Delta Development Commission since they were set up.
“Niger Deltans still move around in canoes and on bicycles while those who were in charge of this Ministry and the NDDC flew in personal private jets. With the backing of President Muhammadu Buhari, I am working to ensure that Niger Delta people see tangible results in this new Next Level era.
“This is also why we are rejuvenating the NDDC through the forensic audit. We expect the new NDDC headquarters to be ready within three months and that will free up more funds to be invested in development prgrammes for youths and other disadvantaged groups in the region,” Akpabio said.
The Minister also voiced that it is important for the region to cooperate for faster development.
In his words, “We must forge a bond of peace across the Niger Delta by doing the right thing as that is the only way to ensure speedy development. I also urge you young people to insist on due process even if immediate outcomes appear not to be in your favour.
“I believe in the youths and I believe also that there are leadership potentials in every young person. I will do my utmost to; nurture your potentials,” he concluded.
In the Youth Leaders’ closing remark, Comrade Stephen Ntukekpo spoke on their behalf saying “we are present here to show solidarity and to impress it on you, Honourable Minister that despite opposition from some quarters who feel that due process should be suspended to accommodate their interests, the Party’s youths appreciate your resoluteness and commitment to fairness. We will always support you.”
Speaking on the margins of the meeting, Cross River State APC Youth Leader, Comrade Effiom-Ekaha Otu remarked, “we are much impressed by what the Minister is doing in the Niger Delta.
“While appreciating his commitment to due process, we especially thank him for his avowed support for youth empowerment and we are certain to back him to the hilt in our collective capacity as Party leaders and youth mobilizers in the region.”