President Bola Ahmed Tinubu

Call for Ndiomu’s sack by Urhobo youths is distasteful, shameful, ex-IYC spokesman Ekerefe declare

 By Philip Jeremiah Eke, Yenagoa

Former spokesman of the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC), Comrade Ebilade Ekerefe has described as distasteful and shameful calls by some Urhobo indigenes and ex-agitators for the sack of the Interim Administrator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP), retired Major General Barry Ndiomu.

According to him, their call over allegations of being a ‘work tool’ of the past administration is petty and filled with ethnic bias.

Ekerefe who stated this on Thursday while responding to comments by one Eshanekpe Israel aka Akpodoro and some ex-agitators of Urhobo origin, insisted that the call is myopic and lacks proper judgment in the appraisal of Ndiomu’s achievements.

Ekerefe said that while he is not a promoter of ethnic bigotry, the facts remains that the Ijaws have paid the supreme price for the peace and stability the Niger delta region is enjoying today and the likes of Akpodoro and his co-travellers should remain grateful and show some respect.

“He should be reminded that he is benefiting from a struggle he did not participate in during the pre Amnesty era and therefore lacks the moral standing to call for the sack of Ndiomu and be replaced with an indigene of the Urhobo ethnic group.”

Ekerefe reiterated that those who are encouraging shenanigans and promoting ethnic bias in the management of PAP should be mindful not to remind us of the ugly past. “They were maintaining table manners during the agitations that led to the amnesty program and can not lay claim only in moments of benefits.”

They should not forget history in a hurry. They should be reminded that Ijaw youths in their thousands were killed and maimed by federal troops. Properties worth billions of naira were destroyed. Ijaw communities were razed down and inhabitants displaced due to military invasions. The crisis crippled the economy of the country as oil production was brought down to 700 barrels per day which necessitated the federal government under late President Umaru Musa Yara’dua to grant amnesty to ex agitators.

Ekerefe noted that PAP was already derailed before Major General Barry Ndiomu(Rtd) was appointed. Corruption was carried out bracingly which led to the unimaginable debt profile of PAP that ran into billions. He has paid all the outstanding debts, reduced corruption been perpetrated by vendors , he introduced the Presidential Amnesty Cooperative Society (PACOSOL), he his training aircraft engineers to have licenses and become type-rated, he has reintroduced both local and foreign scholarships for beneficiaries of PAP and most importantly, he is contributing to the sustained peace in the region.

Ekerefe stated that he understands that those who are calling for Ndiomu’s sack where corruptly enriching themselves in the program and all leakages has been blocked and made difficult for continues looting by the PAP boss.

Ekerefe, who is the leader of the Niger Delta advocacy group called the New Era Movement (NEM) averred that since Ndiomu assumed office as PAP coordinator, the financial dealings of the program have been in tandem with the financial transparency laws of the federal government.

He maintained that Ndiomu has raised the bar in the areas of probity, accountability, and proper management of resources which have led to several achievements.

The youth leader informed those allegedly sponsoring the campaign against Ndiomu that the decision by President Bola Tinubu not to removed him despite the shenanigans and falsehood is based on the confidence and trust he has for Major General Barry Ndiomu who has been extremely professional and tactful in carrying out his responsibilities as the PAP boss.

Ekerefe warned “anti-Ndiomu advocates, especially Akpodoro and his likes to desist from playing the ethnic card, but rather join hands to work with General Ndiomu to consolidate on the gains of his achievements since he assumed office.

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