THE piece under the above headline by a former commissioner representing Abia State at the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, Mr. Okey Nwaubani made claims that cannot be said to be true.
However, the one truth in Nwaubani’s piece is his assertion that 16 years after the enactment of the NDDC Act and the existence of the commission, the mandate of the commission in terms of tackling the ecological and infrastructural needs of the oil producing areas are yet to be met.
This situation is due mainly to the lapses on the part of the commissioners who have served in the NDDC Board. In fact, many observers say the new restiveness in oil producing areas is due to the failure of past NDDC officials to deliver on their mandate.
The tragedy of it all is that it is these past officials who have in the past been in control of the politics of the succession into the board often times recycling themselves or their anointed cronies that are making it difficult for Mr. President to push in those who believe in his Change agenda and who will carry his message and mission of Change into the commission . In the case of Abia, it is these individuals who have ensured that the nomination of Hon. Donatus Enyinna Nwankpa, an apostle of change, a former vocal member of the state House of Assembly and the current state chairman of the APC, did not pass through the Senate.
This they have achieved through information calculated to ensure that the President’s nominee did not go through.
The article written by Mr. Nwaubani is just one of the instruments used to achieve their aim. For instance, Nwaubani spoke about NDDC section Act section 2(lB) which states that one person who shall be an indigene of an oil producing area will be nominated to represent each of the following states: Abia, Akwa lbom, Bayelsa, Delta, Edo, Imo, Ondo and River State, respectively, yet, he failed to say that his Umunteke community has no oil well (either capped or uncapped) hence is a non-oil producing community. This was also the case with all his successors in office, but Chief Sam Nwogu, who hails from Owaza. Conversely,
Nwankpa’s Osisioma LGA has oil wells and houses the largest oil and gas installation and thus the criteria used in nominating previous commissioners including Nwaubani and Nwagboso that was extended to him by Mr. President. The same consideration was used to appoint the current chairman of Abia State Oil Mineral Development Commission (ASOPADEC) Hon. Emeka Stanley who hails from UKwa East Local Government Area. This point was made very clear by Hon. Uzoma Abonta, a lawyer and current PDP member representing Ukwa West/East in the Federal House of Representatives. In the affidavit, sworn in the Supreme Court of Nigeria,
Abuja and dated 24th October while canvassing for an Ukwa East person to be appointed into the board in the year 2000, he averred “that the claim of Ukwa West being the only oil producing or oil bearing local government in Abia State is absolutely incorrect and deceitful”. It is indeed ironic that Hon. Abonta a legal practioner is now one of the instigators of this present conspiracy.
The fact is that the NDDC Act laid emphasis on oil producing areas without specifics. It is this ambiguity in the law that has enabled people like Nwaubani and others whose communities do not have oil wells that is directly in current production to benefit from the NDDC Act. It is the same such benefit that has been extended to the current nominee Hon. Donatus Nwankpa. Besides, Osisioma LGA where Nwankpa hails from has oil wells and also harbours a lot of strategic oil and gas infrastructure hence also suffer from oil derived ecological problems.
Again, in this season of Change, Mr. President made a very good decision in his quest to reposition the NDDC with the appointment of capable hands like Nwankpa. It has to be recalled that Nwankpa has been a dogged fighter for good governance in Abia State since his days as first, an APP and later ANPP House of Assembly member and minority leader. His administrative capability and principled approach as the State Chairman of APC came to fore with his role in uniting various interests within the state chapter of the Party. Today APC is a peaceful cohesive party capable of winning future elections.
With his appointment into NNDC, it is expected that he will bring his organisational skills and integrity to ensure that the NNDC will deliver on its mandate of rapid development of the oil communities in tandem with Mr. Presidents Change agenda.