Renown rights agitator and Senior Advocate of Niger Delta (SAND), Rev. Dr. Sokari Soberekon continues to be in the news amidst latest call on President Mohammadu Buhari and the National Assembly to hand over the management of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to first class traditional rulers of the Niger Delta region.
Soberekon, 80 years of age, who has vowed to step up agitations for the rights of the Niger Delta people said his call was premised on the fact that the royal fathers, more than politicians, are familiar with the problems confronting the people of the region, adding therefore that they were in the best position to make positive impact in the various communities.
The acclaimed emancipator who was instrumental in the establishment of the Oil Derivation Formula in late President Shehu Shagari’s regime in 1981 said under the control of traditional rulers, the NDDC and its region would witness peace, economic growth and infrastructural development.
The former superman, wrestler and boxer explained that as non-partisan citizens, traditional rulers would bear on Directors of the various departments in the Commission, to do their jobs creditably without resort to politicians or godfathers.
“If the federal government wants positive and impactful changes and development in the Niger Delta area, they should make the management of the NDDC apolitical and hand it over to the traditional rulers who are passionate about the development of the Niger Delta and not politicians who are only there to enrich themselves and please their pay masters.
“After all, it’s the traditional rulers who fought against the invasion of the Europeans in those days and were able to make peace to bring the white men, so they should be given the opportunity to manage the NDDC.
One of the reasons, the Niger Delta is underdeveloped after 65 years of producing oil to develop various states and cities in the country is because the traditional rulers were sidelined by Politicians,’ he posited.
Meanwhile, the revered minister of the gospel who oversees the Christ Jesus Link Gospel Ministry in Port Harcourt has called on the NDDC to complete the abandoned Abonnema Wharf Jetty that was started by the Oil Mineral Producing Area Development Commission (OMPADEC) which was established by Ibrahim Babangida as a result of “my great and tireless efforts”.
“NDDC should also provide means of transportation and seafarer boats for the people of the Niger Delta to lessen their burdens as it was done by Governor Alfred Diete-Spiff in his tenure as the Governor of the Old Rivers State since the federal inland waterway does not have any seafarer boat in the Niger Delta.
“I am equally calling on NDDC to build jetty and warehouse for themselves in Port Harcourt.”, he said, even as he urged the Federal government to transfer non-indigenous staff of the commission to any of the federal ministries except those in the Audit department.
The activist commended Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike for the various road constructions in the state but appealed to contractors to use high quality materials for their jobs.
Rev. Dr. Soberekon advised the Governor to make it compulsory for taxi drivers to wear corporate vests since, according to him, they are the first point of contact in the state.