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Monday, March 27, 2023

Group frowns at new NDDC Board, demands review

The Centre for Peace and Good Governance (CPGG) has asked President Muhamadu Buhari to review the newly announced board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), saying that its composition and announcement were hurriedly done and worrisome.

Muhammadu Buhari
President Muhammadu Buhari

The group, in a statement by its President, Chike Oliseh, said that the new board was announced without compliance with due process and the extant law governing the NDDC or recourse to the National Assembly.

In reference to the August 27, 2019 press statement from the Office of the Secretary to the Government announcing the appointments, the CPGG wondered why the announcement was made when President Buhari left the country for the ongoing Tokyo International Conference in Japan.

The new appointees and their states of origin are: Dr. Pius Odubu (Edo) – Chairman; Bernard O. Okumagba (Delta) – Managing Director; Otobong Ndem (Akwa Ibom) – Executive Director Projects; and Maxwell Okoh (Bayelsa) – Executive Director Finance & Admin.

State representatives in the board are: Delta Rep – Prophet Jones Erue (Delta), Edo Rep – Chief Victor Ekhatar (Edo), Rivers Rep – Dr. Joy Yimebe Nunieh (Rivers), Abia Rep – Nwogu Nwogu (Abia), and Bayelsa Rep – Theodore A. Allison (Bayelsa).

Others are Akwa Ibom Rep – Victor Antai (Akwa Ibom), Cross River Rep – Maurice Effiwatt (Cross River), Ondo Rep – Olugbenga Elema (Ondo), Imo Rep – Hon. Uchegbu Chidiebere Kyrian (Imo), Northwest Rep – Aisha Murtala Muhammed (Kano), Northeast Rep – Ardo Zubairu (Adamawa), and Southwest Rep – Engr. Badmus Mutalib (Lagos).

The Chairman and members of the newly composed Governing Board have been invited to the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation on Monday, September 2, 2019 for proper documentation and briefing.

But Oliseh said that the announcement was in total disregard of the NDDC Act and a threat to the relative peace existing in Niger Delta currently.

The group quoted Section 2 of the NDDC Act (as amended) to justify its position, saying the Act is unambiguous about the Composition of the Board and the procedure for setting it up.

“In Section 2.2 it states: The Chairman and other members-of the Board shall be appointed by the President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, subject to the confirmation of the Senate, in consultation with the House of Representatives.

“Section 4 states: “The office of the Chairman shall rotate amongst the member states of the Commission in the following alphabetical order: Abia State; Akwa-Ibom State; Bayelsa State; Cross-River State; Delta State; Edo State; Imo State; Ondo State; and Rivers State.

The group said that Nigerians are aware that the National Assembly is currently on recess and never acknowledged receiving any communication from the President as regards the composition of the board neither was any communication on the Board composition  read anytime on   at the floor of the Senate as was the practice.

The group frowned at the fact that the immediate past Board Chairman was from Cross River and that, going by the NDDC Act, the new chair should be from Delta and not Edo state.

The CPGG urged President Buhari to immediately revert the composition of the board, begin an investigation of the actors behind the black-market procurement and immediately begin the process of re-constituting the board in accordance with NDDC Act and the rule of law.

“We restate our firm belief in the integrity of Mr. President in ensuring that the laws of our land remain sacrosanct against the greed and personal aggrandisement being orchestrated by hawks who does not wish well for the Buhari government,” the group said.

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