By Perez Brisibe
THE Warri Indigenes Network (WIN) has asked the President and Nigerians to ignore the statement credited to Chief Rita-Lori Ogbebor on the new Board of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC as it is a complete misinterpretation and misrepresentation of provisions of the NDDC Act.
In a statement signed by its chairman Pere Tombra and secretary Neye Omatsola, the group said the statement by Chief Ogbebor that Mr Bernard Okumagba, the managing director – designate of NDDC, is not from the oil-producing area is unfortunate and regrettable.
Quoting Section 12 (1) of the NDDC Act 2017 (as amended), which deals with the qualifications for appointment of executive directors of the commission, it stated that Okumagba was duly qualified to be the Chief Executive of the Commission because the Section specifies that, “there shall be for the Commission a Managing Director and two Executive Directors who shall be indigenes of oil-producing areas.”
In its words, the group said: “Mr Okumagba is a bonafide indigene of Warri South Local Government Area of the Delta South Senatorial District, which is an oil-producing area, and is duly qualified to be nominated for the position of Managing Director of the NDDC as provided for in the Act.
“What is important is for a nominee to come from an oil-producing area and Warri South Local Government Area is an oil-producing area.
“It is mischievous for anyone to try to play up narrow interests, hiding behind spurious claims, which bode no good for the people of Warri and the Niger Delta region.”
The group commended the high professional qualities of Mr Okumagba as an acclaimed technocrat and his avowed non-tribal disposition, which has seen his nomination receive kudos from Niger Deltans around the world.
It added that the position as stated by Chief Rita-Lori Ogbebor smacks of ethnic chauvinism that has no place in the new Niger Delta that is unfolding.
It also condemned the usual tendency of indigenes of the region to raise petitions and condemn people appointed to work for the region, rather than network and engage them in finding common solutions to the developmental problems in the region.
“We express confidence in the capacity of new NDDC board to make a difference in the lives of the people of the region, given the array of experienced and committed people appointed by the President,” it added.