By Musa Baba Adamu
For finding him worthy for appointment, the Executive Director of Projects of the Niger Delta Development Commission, (NDDC), Rt. Hon. Victor Antai has expressed gratitude to President Bola Tinubu and the Senate President, Senator Godswill Akpabio.
In a message he personally signed, Hon. Antai said he was humbled by the outpouring of love, support and solidarity by Akwa Ibom people across political party lines since the announcement for the reconstitution of the board of the Commission was made.
He pledged to work with all stakeholders for the development of the Niger Delta.
According to Hon Antai who was the Akwa Ibom State, Deputy Governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress in the last election, “I am honoured for being found worthy by President Bola Tinubu of the appointment as the Executive Director of the NDDC.
“I shall also remain eternally grateful to our grand leader, the Senate President, His Excellency, Senator Godswill Akpabio for his support to me at all times and the political pillar we have known over the years.
“I am humbled for the show of love by Akwa Ibom people across political party lines including politicians, community leaders, lawmakers, youth groups through social media posts, congratulatory messages and personal visits since the announcement was made.
“I am deeply touched and inspired by your generous words of congratulations and encouragements. With boundless gratitude for the confidence reposed in me by the President and with an unwavering resolve to honour that trust, I pledge to work with all stakeholders for the development of our region as expressed by the mandate of the NDDC,” he said.
Hon. Antai solicited the support and collaboration of all strata of the Niger Delta including traditional rulers and youth groups for the new board to accomplish a new development paradigm for the region as they come on board.
“As you are aware some members of NNPP, based on allegations of anti-Party activities during the 2023 General elections, were properly investigated and sanctions applied in line with the letters of our Constitution. About Ten (10) of them, along with Dr. Boniface Aneibonam and our former National Publicity Secretary, Dr. Gilbert Major Agbo gathered in Apapa, Lagos and claimed to have dissolved the properly constituted National Working Committee (NWC) of the Party.
“For the record, this present NWC was constituted and inaugurated in April 2022 for a period of four (4) years at a ceremony witnessed by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
“The process of removing member(s) of the NWC is very clear in our Constitution and no organ of the Party has the power to dissolve the NWC, not even the Board of Trustees which is yet to be formally constituted.
“The results of our investigations have made it very clear that some external forces, scared of the 2027 elections, are behind these recalcitrant persons and their shenanigans and their main target no doubt is His Excellency, Senator Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso Ph.D., FNSE.
“We as a Party are aware of their engagements and their plans. We know their limitations according to the Statutes (NNPP Constitution, Electoral Act, INEC Guidelines, and the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999, as Amended), but since their mission, in collaboration with our detractors from outside the party is to create confusion and distraction, the Party, as a law abiding organisation that believes in the rule of law, decided to approach the courts to put a stop to their evil machinations of disrupting our well laid down programmes for subsequent elections.
“To this end, the NNPP as a PARTY approached the Court to help restore sanity in the polity. It is an open secret that these former members are not backed by law in all they are doing. The arrow heads of this onslaught have ceased to be members of the PARTY by virtue of their suspension/expulsion.
“We wish to reiterate that our NWC is intact, except the former National Publicity Secretary alongside with his cohorts, who have been expelled by a properly constituted National Executive Committee (NEC).”
In a related development, Prof. Rufai Ahmed, the immediate past National Chairman of NNPP has resigned from the party.
Rufai, in a statement on Tuesday in Abuja, said he decided to quit “after consulting widely”.
Rufai’s action is considered by observers as a huge blow to the party that has been hit by a major crisis.
The former national chairman, who resigned from the top job on 31 March, said he had offered to step aside to give the group an opportunity to move ahead by injecting people with new ideas.
“When I resigned from being national chairman, I wanted the NNPP to move fast and consolidate on the indisputable gains made in the 2023 general elections and prepare for future polls.”