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Why presidency cabals convinced Tinubu to scrap Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, moved staff to other ministries.

Why presidency cabals convinced Tinubu to scrap Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, moved staff to other ministries.

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Why presidency cabals convinced Tinubu to scrap Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, moved staff to other ministries.

BY:LUCKY KENEDY OSE

Uneasy calm reigned in the Niger Delta region yesterday 24 hours after President Bola Ahmed Tinubu allocated portfolios to ministers-designate in his cabinet.
Predictably, the allocation of offices to members of the Federal Executive Council, with no one assigned to head the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, fuelled speculations that Tinubu had scrapped the ministry created to handle development initiatives in the oil-rich belt.


Although there was no official statement to suggest that the ministry had been rested, stakeholders in the region said the silence of the Presidency on the fate of the ministry in the assignment of cabinet members lend credence to the speculations that the ministry had been delisted from the cabinet.
Also, findings by LEADERSHIP Friday in the Presidency revealed that Tinubu opted to do away with the ministry as it was considered not to be serving any useful and strategic purposes in view of the existenceof the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
LEADERSHIP Friday learnt that the Presidency bought the idea that NDDC was already in existence to perform the roles envisaged by the advocates and promoters of the ministry.
Reliable sources within the Presidency said that Tinubu and his crop of advisers were not convinced about the arguments in favour of the sustenance of a specific ministry to handle development challenges in the region.
One of the sources said Tinubu and members of his inner circles were of the view that the initial decision to create the ministry was “thoughtless” as the NDDC and other statutory federal ministries, agencies and departments responsible for development needs of other regions could also cater for the interests of the Niger Delta.
LEADERSHIP Friday gathered that it was argued that the sustenance of the ministry could also fuel demand by other geopolitical zones, such as the troubled North East, for independent and specific ministries to handle their development interests.
More importantly, LEADERSHIP Friday gathered that Tinubu was irked that the ministry had not justified the objectives for its creation in the past 15 years.
Multiple sources in the  Presidency told this newspaper that the revelation that no project had neither been commissioned or completed by the ministry since its establishment in 2008, except a cassava processing plant in Ondo State, practically convinced Tinubu that the ministry had not added value to the wellbeing of the inhabitants of the troubled oil-rich belt.
Findings revealed that Tinubu and members of his inner circles considered the ministry as a”cesspit of corruption.” Reports made available to the President about the ministry amply showed that its successive ministers fed fat with the funds of NDDC.
Apart from its lack-luster performance, the Presidency considered the ministry as a duplication and usurpation of the roles of NDDC in the scheme of things in the region.
Consequently, the argument that the two major oversight duties of the ministry – supervision of the construction of the long-abandoned East/West Road and supervision of NDDC – could be transferred to relevant federal ministries, secured the blessing of the president.
Subsequently, it was resolved that the East/West Road be transferred to the Federal Ministry of Works for re-evaluation and speedy completion while NDDC is to be strengthened and adequately funded to be able to meet development exigencies of the region under the supervision of the Presidency.
Similarly, it was resolved that other development initiatives of the Niger Delta region could be handled by other statutory ministries as in the case of the other five geopolitical zones of the country.
The ministry of Niger Delta was created by the late President Umaru Yar’Adua on September 10, 2008, to “focus on infrastructural development, environmental protection and empowerment of youths in the oil-rich Niger Delta region.”
Some stakeholders in the region, who spoke with LEADERSHIP Friday, opted to await official pronouncement on the fate of the ministry before their formal reaction to the development.
A popular Niger Delta activist, Comrade Joseph Ambakederimo, challenged the president to come out with full disclosure over the fate the ministry.
Ambakederimo, who is the national coordinator, South-South Reawakening Group (SSRG), said the people of the region deserved an explanation from the president on the issue.
“We demand explanations and full disclosure from President Tinubu on the controversies surrounding the purported scrapping of the Ministry of Niger Affairs. Mr. President cannot just wake up to scrap the ministry in a clandestine operation.  We have to know why he took the action and his alternative plans for the development of our region, Ambakederimo said in a telephone interview with LEADERSHIP Friday.

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