There was tension in the Niger Delta region following moves by a section of the All Progressive Congress (APC) in Bayelsa State to force replacement of the newly-appointed acting Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Prof. Nelson Brambaifa.
It was gathered the appointment of Brambaifa shocked the Bayelsa APC leadership and altered the calculation of the party’s camp loyal to the state leader of APC and former Governor Timipre Sylva.
The camp was said to have expected Sylva or someone loyal to him to clinch the coveted position in NDDC ahead of the forthcoming general and governorship elections in the state.
But the camp was said to have been thrown into crisis after the Presidency opted for Brambaifa, whose recommendation reportedly came from the Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi.
A member of Sylva’s camp, who spoke in confidence, told The Nation that the appointment would not stand insisting Brambaifa’s role as the managing director was temporary.
“We were sure that either Sylva or a candidate he recommended would be announced as the new boss of the NDDC. We were surprised when Brambaifa was announced. But for us this is one appointment that will not stand. He will surely be replaced,” he said.
But the Central Zone of the Ijaw Youths Council (IYC) Worldwide, Coalition of Niger Delta Youth Bodies (CNDYB), Ijaw Unity and Peace Committee (IUPC) and ex-militants commended President Muhammadu Buhari for the appointment and urged persons against Braimbaifa to sheathe their swords.
Speaking at the Ijaw House, Yenagoa, the Chairman, IYC Central Zone, Tare Porri, said the new boss of the NDDC, being an Ijaw man, deserved the support of all Ijaw people.
He urged persons from Bayelsa making moves against the new managing director to desist and mobilize support for him to succeed in his assignment.
He said: “We have just been told that some persons are not satisfied with his appointment.
“We want to say that the Ijaw cannot be more blessed than now. God has given us an Ijaw man to head the commission.
“So, l call on Ijaw leaders to mobilize support for Prof. Brambaifa as the MD. When a man from Akwa Ibom was the MD, the entire state and people of Akwa Ibom mobilized support for him. That should be our own case”.
Also ex-militants, under the auspices of the Third Phase Ex-Agitators, warned persons planning to protest against the appointment of Brambaifa to desist from it.
The Chairman of the group, Osaanya B. Osaanya, described such persons as devilish and urged people in Bayelsa to stay away from them.
He said: “We thank President Muhammadu Buhari for appointing Prof. Brambaifa from Bayelsa state as the head of the NDDC. He is more than qualified to occupy the position.
“We want to warn those, who are planning any form of protest against the appointment of Professor Nelson Brambaifa as enemies of Bayelsa State
“It is on this note that we as ex-agitators call on all Bayelsa to be wary and run away from devilish people who don’t mean well for our state. We will stand against any form of oppression against the will of the people”.
Similarly, the CNDYB, in a statement by its coordinator, Ayebakuro Igbeta, described Brambaifa as an astute professional with the ability to administer the affairs of the commission.
Igbeta said: “The coalition wishes to on behalf of the people of the region commend President Muhammadu Buhari, the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and the Federal Government of Nigeria for laying to rest the disturbing issue of the NDDC tenure.
“It cannot be overemphasized that the issue was at some time beginning to brew disaffection and acrimony amongst the people of the region.
“This appointment has most certainly laid to rest the burning questions bothering even on the integrity and sincerity of the President Buhari-led Federal Government”.
Convener of the IUPC, Justin Ogboma, said the appointment of Brambaifa showed the sincerity and commitment of President Buhari to develop the region.
“The decision of Brambaifa in particular is worth commending, as he is one man, with virtue of honesty, commitment and all-embracing.
“We are confident that instead of causing disaffection, Brambaifa is one man that will build bridges and utilize the position to advance your good work in our region,” he said,
Aggrieved by the move against Brambaifa, militants, who identified themselves as the Strike Force of MEND, threatened resistance from its ranks, if the Presidency, yields to selfish demands by replacing or removing Brambaifa.
They said Brambaifa’s appointment was a product of the cries, protests, agitations and sacrifices of Ijaws, who refused to be cowed by fear, death or intimidation.
Speaking through their spokesperson, Capt. Jhoto Koankiri, the group advised the Presidency to jettison desperate moves capable destabilizing peace in the region.