Groups of ex-militants (now known as ex-agitators) in the Niger Delta have confirmed that the present managing director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), was in the trenches with them pressing for the emancipation of the oil region.
The groups who came from the three phases of the Amnesty Programme said on Friday, July 28, 2023, that the recent voice of opposition claiming to come from ex-agitators must not be regarded to represent ex-fighters really.
The leaders of the ex-agitators who took turns to speak, expressed “unequivocal support” for the leadership of Ogbuku and condemned some individuals campaigning for a change in the current leadership of the Commission.
The delegation of ex-agitators was led by Henry Binidodogha Ekes (now a chief) for Phase 1 ex-agitators; Olotu Wanemi (known as General) for Phase 2 ex-agitators and Tonye Bobo (honourable) for Phase 3 ex-agitators.
Binidodogha stated that Ogbuku was fit for the position of the CEO of the NDDC being a foremost Niger Delta activist in the quest for development.
He declared: “We the ex-Agitators of the Niger Delta region declare our unequivocal support for the leadership of Ogbuku as the Managing Director of the NDDC. We know his antecedents as someone who fought for the good of the Niger Delta region. You have been in the trenches with us for the liberation of the Niger Delta region. You are one of us. We know that you have the good of the region at heart.”
In his own remarks, Wanemi stated that they were at the Commission to discuss partnership opportunities to drive the sustainable development of the Niger Delta region, calling for synergy between the ex-agitators and the NDDC.
The Managing Director, has thus charged leaders of Niger Delta ex-agitators and stakeholders to ensure that the reigning peace in the region is sustained to attract investors.
Ogbuku told the leaders that came to the NDDC Headquarters that time for street agitation was over, according to a statement issued by Ibitoye Abosode, Director, Corporate Affairs.
The NDDC Chief Executive Officer commended the ex-agitators for playing their role as critical stakeholders to enthrone peace, noting: “Peace in the Niger Delta region is critical to attracting continuous investments in the region and such investments will create employment opportunities for the people of the region.”
He further declared: “We want the world to know that Niger Delta people have gone beyond street agitation; we are now involved in intellectual engagements. The time for agitation is over, this is the time for development. We sacrificed a lot during the struggle for the emancipation of the Niger Delta region. This is the time to turn that struggle into development.
“Our youths complain about lack of employment but this cannot come from government alone. Investors must see our region as peaceful and politically stable before they can bring employment-generating projects. It is, therefore, our responsibility to ensure that Niger Delta remains peaceful and stable for employment creation.”
Ogbuku said further: “The Niger Delta is one of the most peaceful regions in the country and we are expecting businesses to return to the region. Let us mind how we use the media because if used negatively, it will be to our detriment as we drive away local and foreign investors.
The NDDC boss lamented that many investment opportunities that should have come to the Niger Delta have moved to other regions because those places were perceived to be conducive for business.
He stated that the administration of President Bola Tinubu was aware of the challenges facing the people of the Niger Delta and was prepared to bring positive changes. “The president is concerned about the underdevelopment of the region but he needs our cooperation to ensure there is peace and prosperity,” Ogbuku said.
Speaking further, Ogbuku said that the Commission was focused on ensuring the sustainability of its Public-Private Partnership scheme to ensure a win-win for everyone. The Commission’s Project HOPE (Holistic Opportunities Programmes for Engagement), he said, would drive the Commission’s engagements with youths in the region.