By Emmanuel Nduka
Presidential candidate of Nigeria’s main opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party ( PDP) Atiku Abubakar, has promised to relocate the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs to the oil-rich South South region if elected president in the 2023 polls.
Atiku, who made the promise recently at an interactive session with the business community, in Abuja, decried the level of development in the Niger Delta region.
The former vice president strongly affirmed that as president, he would ensure that the Ministry lives up to its expectation of developing the region, adding that when he proposed the creation of Niger Delta Ministry, as presidential candidate in the 2007, the idea was that the ministry would be situated in any part of the Niger Delta.
“In my proposal I said the ministry should be situated in the Niger Delta. Whether it is Port Harcourt or any other place. The responsibility is to develop the infrastructure and human capital and so on of the Niger Delta.
“What has happened? The ministry of the Niger Delta has been created; billions of monies has been allocated to it. Where is the monies going to, into pockets. If I am elected the ministry of Niger Delta will be in the Niger Delta. I will make sure the ministry develop all the infrastructure, education institutions are fully equipped and well funded,” he recalled.
Atiku also promised that that if elected president, he would give premium to women empowerment, noting that the empowerment of women is critical to increased prosperity.
“If we are serious about increased prosperity, then we must increase empowerment of women.
“If we are to recover Nigeria from its current mess that the APC has put us through, then we must begin that recovery from the demography that is most hit by the failure of the APC, which are the women and youth.
“The records are there to compare the performance of the PDP and the APC and the upcoming election should be a referendum on the performance of the APC.
“Nigerians have had a taste of the two parties, and I am not saying this for myself, but we should be proud of the records that the PDP offered,” Atiku added.
Since its establishment in 2008 by the President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua administration, the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs has not fully lived up to its mandate as an interventionist agency.
It has been marred with bad leadership, corruption, political instability and gross mismanagement of funds.