Ijaw National Leader, Edwin Clark, has thrown his weight behind the appointment of Mr Effiong Akwa as the Interim Administrator of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
Clark, who is also the Chairman of Pan-Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), appealed to youths and other stakeholders of the region to give Akwa a chance to execute the mandate handed over to him by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The Delta State-born elder statesman made the appeal when the Interim Administrator paid him a courtesy visit in his residence on Wednesday in Abuja.
Akwa who arrived the Asokoro, Abuja residence of Clark alongside his entourage, was welcomed by prominent Niger Delta personalities including Ambassador Godsknows Igali, former Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Power.
Receiving the new NDDC boss, the Niger Delta leader recalled that Mr Akwa was not the first Sole Administrator of the NDDC and wondered why certain persons should make a fuss about his appointment.
He noted that in the past, dtates like Bayelsa, Rivers and Delta had at some points produced Sole Administrators who ran the interventionist agency and appealed to all to support Mr Akwa to succeed.
He warned against any act by persons that tended to give a bad impression about the Niger Delta region as restive and urged the people to rally round the Interim Administrator to bring developmental projects to the region, noting that it is only in an atmosphere of peace that development can thrive.
Speaking further, Clark frowned at a situation that the NDDC Act was breached through the appointment of the last disbanded board.
Going memory lane he recalled past Chairmen of the board of the NDDC which appointments followed the alphabetical order of the NDDC States and insisted that it was the turn of Delta State to produce the next Chairman of the board as stipulated by the Act establishing the Commission.
Clark also hailed the appointment of the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio and said he was a proven performer as the Governor of Akwa Ibom State and urged him to bring to bear his developmental acumen in the Niger Delta region.
Earlier, Mr Akwa had informed the Niger Delta leader that his appointment was borne out of necessity being the most Senior Director so as not to create a vacuum since the court had ordered the disbandment of the Interim Management Committee of the Commission.
The Interim Administrator appealed for the cooperation of the stakeholders in the ongoing forensic audit of the Commission being the mandate handed over to him by the President to see through.
Mr Akwa thanked the National Assembly for the support he has received since his appointment especially the passage of the budget of the Commission. He said the Commission had concluded the payment of scholarships to her overseas scholars, completed the NDDC headquarters Complex which he said would soon be commissioned by President Buhari.
He reeled out several interventions that the NDDC would embark upon, including educational and agricultural projects and said these could only be achieved through the cooperation of the people of the region who have borne the brunt of underdevelopment over the years.