Tag Archives: NDDC board

Buhari writes Senate on reconstitution of NDDC board

President Muhammadu Buhari has written to the Senate, informing it that recomposition of the board of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, would be done immediately after the Interim Management Committee had completed its audit oversight of the interventionist agency.

The letter from President Buhari was read on the floor of the Senate, Tuesday, at resumption by President of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan.

According to the President, he would after the Audit work, present to the Senate the list for the board.

Recall that the Senate had last year, confirmed President Muhammadu Buhari’s nominees for the board of NDDC.

The former Deputy Governor of Edo State, Dr. Pius Odubu, was confirmed by the Senate as Chairman of the NDDC Board, just as a nominee from Delta State, Chief Bernard Okumagba, was also confirmed as the NDDC Managing Director.

The confirmation followed the presentation and consideration of the report of the Senate Committee on Niger Delta Affairs by its Chairman, Peter Nwaoboshi, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Delta North

Also confirmed were Otobong Ndem who is now the Executive Director, Projects and Maxwell Oko as Executive Director, Finance and Administration.

The Senate had also confirmed Prophet Jones Erue (Delta), Chief Victor Ekhator (Edo), Nwogu Nwogu (Abia), Theodore Allison (Bayelsa), Victor Antai (Akwa Ibom), Maurice Effiwatt (Cross River), Olugbenga Elema (Ondo), Hon. Uchegbu Chidiebere Kyrian (Imo), Aisha Murtala Muhammed (Kano), Ardo Zubairu (Adamawa) and Amb. Abdullahi Bage (Nasarawa).

Only a nominee from Rivers State, Dr. Joy Yimebe Nunieh was not confirmed by the Senate as she did not appear for screening.

Also recall that the Senate had on Tuesday, 26th November said that those it screened and subsequently confirmed as Chairman and board members of the NDDC are the only rightful people that will come and defend the budget of the Commission before its Committee on Niger Delta Affairs.

The Senate had last year urged President Muhammadu Buhari to as a matter of urgency, swear in the Dr. Pius Odubu led NDDC Board.

Recall that the interim Committee was set up by the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio and he currently manages the commission.

Also recall that Akpabio had said that the three-man committee will oversee the management of the commission to create an “enabling environment” for the audit.

He said Buhari approved the appointment of Dr Gbene Joi Nunieh as the Acting Managing Director; Cairo Ojougboh, as acting executive director, projects; and Ibanga Bassey, as acting executive director, finance and administration.

Akpabio had asked the interim committee to discharge their duties ”without fear or favour”.

He said the outcome of the committee’s work will go a long way in alleviating the suffering of the people of the Niger Delta region.

‘DON’T TAMPER WITH DELTA STATE’S RIGHT TO PRODUCE THE MANAGING DIRECTOR OF NDDC’-Press Release

Our attention has been drawn to an article published in The Guardian of Sunday, December 8 2019 titled ‘NDDC: Board Crisis, Power Play Cripple Agency’ and written by one

Kelvin Ebiri who goes by the title ‘South-South Bureau Chief.’

Ordinarily, we would not have reacted to the issues raised in the said article, given the politicking that has attended the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) since the list of board nominees was presented by President Buhari and confirmed by the Senate on November 5, but we are alarmed at the false claims made in that article, which can threaten the fragile peace in the Niger Delta region.

In trying to explain the crises in the NDDC, Mr Ebiri wrote: “The genesis of the current crisis plaguing the interventionist agency that was established to address the dire developmental needs of the Niger Delta, as well as oil-producing states, lies in the alleged flawed manner, which the new board members were appointed, particularly in the case of the chairman, Dr. Pius Odubu (Edo) and Bernard Okumagba (Delta) as managing director.”

He takes the argument further: “On the position of a managing director, NDDC Act stipulates that the persons must be indigenes of oil-producing areas, and the slot is to be occupied sequentially starting with member-states of the commission with the highest production quantum of oil. Owing to the fact that Akwa Ibom State, which is the presently the highest oil-producing state just vacated the position, and the position of the chairman ought to go to Delta State, which is the second-largest oil-producing, it follows that Rivers State ought to produce the next managing director being the third producer of oil based on current data obtained from the Department of Petroleum Resources.”

It is clear that Mr Ebiri is acting out a script, because the NDDC Act 2000 is very clear on the on the appointment of Board Members. It is obvious that the usurpers in the IMC are trying to sell a false narrative to justify their agenda to remain at the NDDC.

Nothing can be more revealing than the statements credited to the acting managing director of the interim management committee Ms Joi Nunieh, who decided to throw herself into the succession politics, contrary to what we were made to believe is a temporary role for her committee. The Guardian quoted Nunieh as justifying her position thus: “In reaction to the Senate stance, Nunieh, who said that the NDDC Act was clear on the matter of the Commission’s chairmanship, emphasised that after Cross River State, Delta State was supposed to produce the chairman of the NDDC board. ‘If the Act says that after Cross River State, Delta State should produce the chairman, why would anyone say no?’ ”

What is apparent is that Nunieh’s comment and Ebiri’s analysis have one source and one objective, which is to sell the story that it is Rivers State’s turn to produce the MD, and strangely, labour to convince the public that the nomination of the MD of NDDC from Delta State is misplaced. This is the most ludicrous argument anyone can make.

The NDDC Act states clearly that the MD position was to commence with the state with the highest production then, as at 2001, which was Delta State, and rotate subsequently. This is why Delta State produced the first MD in the person of Engr Godwin Omene. That rotation came full circle with the position going from Delta to Bayelsa, Rivers and Akwa Ibom State in the last four substantive boards. Now is the turn of Delta State to produce the MD. So where did Ebiri and Nunieh get their fictional conclusion that Rivers state should get the MD position ?

It is pertinent at this point to remind Mr President and Nigerians in general of the reports and agreements that predated the constitution of the new board, several of which were published in Nigerian newspapers. In The Vanguard of June 14, 2019, the paper reports under the headline: ‘NDDC BOARD: It’s Delta’s turn to produce Chairman, Managing Director, stakeholders insist,’ that “A coalition of activists and stakeholders drawn from the nine states that make up the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, yesterday insisted that it was the turn of Delta State to produce both the Chairman and Managing Director of the next Board of the commission.” The report stated further that: “While condemning in strong terms the report credited to one Chief Perekeme Kpodoh from Bayelsa State faulting the claim of Delta State to the two positions, the stakeholders took a swipe at Kpodoh, saying there was contradiction in his ( Kpodoh) statement acknowledging that it was actually the turn of Delta State to produce the occupants of both positions. To this end, they called on President Muhammadu Buhari to follow due process and the law to let Delta State produce the occupants of both offices as enshrined in the NDDC Act 2000 in order to promote equity, fairness and justice and sustain the current peace in the region.”

It is incontrovertible that Delta State is entitled to both positions, and it was the state’s prerogative to choose whichever of the two it wanted. This is what the stakeholders did in choosing the position of MD since both may not be allowed because of governance issues. Having chosen to take the MD position, this was communicated to the presidency on which basis a Delta State nominee was presented for the position.

Following from Delta State’s preference for the MD position, the chairmanship was ceded and Edo State, being the next in line was asked to nominate someone for the position and did so. This was the settled position that produced the current board members, which the President presented to the Senate and who were subsequently confirmed. Everything was done in accordance with law, equity, due process and in line with good governance principles.

Therefore, the attempted false interpretation of the law as canvassed by Nunieh is fraudulent, dubious and quite unfortunate.

Unfortunately, too, this is something we have seen whenever an interim MD is foisted on the NDDC outside the system. It happened in 2015 when Ibim Semenitari of Rivers State was appointed and campaigners were raising false narratives to perpetuate her stay, until President Buhari appointed and promptly swore in a new board, with Nsima Ekere from Akwa Ibom state as MD. It happened this year when campaigners from Bayelsa State pushed to make the position of the acting MD Prof Nelson Brambaifa substantive. But when the facts were presented, that also crumbled and the President’ nominated the new board in line with law. Now, that there is another delay in inaugurating the board, the acting MD Nunieh is presenting her own false narratives in order to perpetuate her stay in office.

The Niger Delta region has undergone too many ethnic and interstate conflicts that we do not need another on our hands because of the inordinate ambitions of social climbers in the corridors of power who show no regard for law and due process.

We will not sit by and allow anyone usurp the legal and logical order. We urge President Buhari to inaugurate the new NDDC board without further delay to stem these latter-day revisionists of facts and due process.

Comrade Seiyefa Opuowei

Convener, Niger Delta Peoples Assembly

Reps Urge Minister To Dissolve Three-Man NDDC Interim Board 

The House of Representatives has called on the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio to dissolve the three-man interim board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).

Ossai Nicholas Ossai (PDP, Delta) presented a Motion on Matters of Public Importance at the plenary on Wednesday titled: “Urgent need to stop the illegality in Niger Delta Development Commission”.

Ossai noted that the constitution of the interim leadership by the minister contravenes the law establishing the Commission.

According to him, section 8 of NDDC Act provides that its management and administration shall be the responsibility of its Governing Board.

He explained that “the governing board of the Commission included the Chairman, the Managing Director and the other members with the powers to manage and supervise the affairs of the Commission making rules and regulations for effective functioning of the Commission.”

He stressed that “concerned that on the 29th of October after the Senate Committee on the Niger Delta had screened the President’s nominees and in the same day the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs inaugurated an interim committee to midwife the Commission’s forensic audit.”

Representative Ossai therefore advised the Senate to discontinue attending to the budget process of the Commission and urged the House of Representatives Committee to do the same.

Group Calls For Immediate Dissolution Of NDDC Interim Mgt

Following the successful confirmation, by the Senate, of President Buhari’s nominees to the Board of NDDC, and Senate President’s call that the Board should assume duties immediately, prominent Niger Delta Group, Ijaw Nation Diaspora Coalition (INDC) has lent its voice to patriotic calls urging the Presidency to inaugurate the Board which is representative, broad based, and backed by law.

According to the President of the Coalition, Elder Johnson Ebibai, “it is presently illegal to have an interim management committee with an indeterminate tenure when the Act setting up NDDC clearly states that the Commission will be run by a Senate-approved Board, which is now in place.”

The INDC President further noted that a properly constituted Board and management for NDDC would mean that the Federal Government and the Commission have official backing through senate confirmation and thereby accountable to the people and the region, unlike the current interim management contraption that was unilaterally set up.

Elder Ebibai who is also a legal practitioner noted with dismay that different interim managements have been in place in NDDC since February 2019, pointing out that at no point in Act No.6 of 2000 setting up NDDC is provision made for interim management, and that further elongating interim management existence should therefore be avoided immediately by inaugurating the Senate-approved Board.

On the claims of accomplishments by the interim management committee, the INDC President faulted them restating that what is at issue is the illegality of the 3-member management that is not representative of the people of Niger Delta, noting that a Senate approved Board, which will be process-driven in its activities will deliver more enduring results than the current knee-jerk approach of the interim team which desperately seeks an underserved legitimacy.

Elder Ebibai therefore thanked the Senate and its leadership for rising to the occasion by doing what is right in confirming the 15-man NDDC Board as forwarded to them by President Buhari, and has urged the Presidency to ensure that the new Board and Management assume office immediately.

Senate confirms new NDDC board

Sola Charles, Asaba

The Nigerian Senate Confirmed The Newly Board Of The Niger Delta Development Commission By The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan asked the newly confirmed board members to take over the affairs of the agency immediately.

Lawan who stated this after the upper chamber confirmed the appointment of the nominees forwarded to the Senate last week, said the law setting up the NDDC does not recognise any interim arrangement once a board is in place.

The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio, had set up an interim management team that would be in place for six months to oversee a forensic audit of the agency.

But Lawan said the new board, members should take over immediately according to the law setting up the NDDC.

He added that inaugurating the new board members would not affect the works of the forensic auditors.

Lawan asked the senate committee on the NDDC to be alive to its responsibility by carrying out its oversight functions.

First to be confirmed was a former Deputy Governor of Edo State, Dr. Pius Odubu as Chairman of the Board followed by the nominee for the position of Managing Director, Bernard Okumagba.

The Senate also confirmed the nominee for the position of Executive Director, Finance and Administration, Maxwell Okoh from Bayelsa State.

Others confirmed by the red chamber include Delta State representative, Jones Erue; Victor Ekhator (Edo State) and Nwogu Nwogu (Abia State).

Others are Theodore Allison, representing Bayelsa State, Victor Antai (Akwa Ibom); Maurice Effiwatt (Cross River State); Olugbenga Elema (Ondo State); and Uchegbu Chidiebere Kyrian (Imo State).

The others are the North-East representative, Ardo Zubairu from Adamawa State and Ambassador Abdullahi Bage from Nasarawa State to represent the North Central geopolitical zone and the North-West representative, Aisha Murtala Muhammed, from Kano State,

Meanwhile, the nominee from Rivers State, Dr. Joy Yimebe Nunieh, who is the current managing director of interim management board of the agency shunned the Senate screening.

Chairman of the Senate Committee on the NDDC, Peter Nwaoboshi, while presenting the report of the screening exercise said all invitations extended to the nominee, were turned down.

The Senate, therefore, rejected her nomination.