By Andrew Ossai Eke
Having rather shamefully fled the electoral battlefield by throwing in the towel and repudiating the senatorial seat he claimed he could easily win, anytime any day, Niger Deltan Affairs Minister, Godswill Akpabio, has seen fit, within the same depressing week of one embarrassing shenanigan after another, to tell a barefaced lie to Nigerians regarding the composition of the board of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, as to which of the four core oil-producing states of Delta, Bayelsa, Rivers and Akwa-Ibom should occupy the position of MD/CEO in the present dispensation.
Lest anyone be misled into sitting at Akpabio’s dinner table and be spoonfed a multicourse serving of truly shameful falsehoods, below is a brief timeline of the top positions in the NDDC as occupied by various states since inception:
- Onyema Ugochukwu (Chairman 2001-2005), Abia; Godwin Omene (MD/CEO 2001-2003), Delta; Timi Alaibe (EDFA 2001-2005), Bayelsa, Ndo Mboro (EDP 2001-2002), Akwa-Ibom State; Emmanuel Agwariavwode (MD/CEO 2003-2005) Delta State; and, Ukot Ukot (EDP 2002-2005), Akwa-Ibom State.
- Sam Edem (Chairman, 2005-2007), Akwa-Ibom; Emmanuel Agwariavwodo (MD/CEO 2005-2006), Delta; Timi Alaibe (EDFA 2005-2006), Bayelsa; Timi Alaibe (Acting MD/CEO 2006-2006), Bayelsa; PZ Aginighan (Acting EDFA 2006-2006); Delta; and, Beniah Ojum (EDP 2005-2009), Rivers.
- Dan Abia (Acting Chairman 2007-2009), Akwa-Ibom; Timi Alaibe (Substantive MD/CEO 2006-2009) Bayelsa; and, PZ Aginighan (Acting EDFA 2007-2009), Delta.
- PZ Aginighan ( Transition Acting MD/CEO 2009-2009), Delta.
- Larry Koinyan (Chairman (2009-2011), Bayelsa; Chibuzor Uguoha (Substantive MD/CEO 2009-2011), Rivers; PZ Aginighan (EDFA 2009-2011), Delta; and, Engr. Etteh (EDP 2009-2011), Akwa-Ibom.
- Osato Arenyeka-Iyasere (Transition Acting MD/CEO 2011-2011), Edo.
- Tarifa Tebepah (Chairman 2011-2013), Bayelsa; Christian Oboh (Substantive MD/CEO 2011-2013), Rivers; L.E.J. Komboye (EDFA 2011-2013), Delta; and, E. Eshiet (EDP 2011-2013), Akwa-Ibom.
- Christy Atako (Transition Acting MD/CEO 2013-2013), Rivers.
- Bassey Henshaw (Chairman 2013-2015), Cross River; Dan Abia (Substantive MD/CEO 2013-2015), Akwa-Ibom; Itonanen Ogiri (EDFA 2013-2015), Rivers; and, Tuoyo Omasuli (EDP 2013-2015), Delta.
- Ibim Semenitari (Transition Acting MD/CEO 2015-2016).
- Victor Ndoma-Egba (Chairman 2016-2019), Cross River; Nsima Ekere (Substantive MD/CEO 2016-2019), Akwa-Ibom; Mene Derek (EDFA 2016-2019), Rivers; and, Samuel Adjogbe (EDP 2016-2019), Delta.
- Nelson Brambaila (Transition Acting MD/CEO 2019-2019), Bayelsa, Chris Amadi (Transition Acting EDFA 2019-2019), Rivers; Samuel Adjogbe (Transition Acting EDP 2019-2019), Delta.
Nothing could be further from the truth than the utterly shameless lie that Bayelsa has not held the position of MD/CEO in a substantive capacity for whereas Timi Alaibe held it in acting capacity for a year, a later continued in substantive capacity for another three years!
In fact, Timi Alaibe, the Bayelsan, has arguably been by far the most powerful, visible and colourful chief executive the commission has had so far!
The last chief executive of the commission was yet another Bayelsan, in the person of Nelson Brambaifar.
Indeed, similar to Bayelsa, none of the other core oil-producing states of Delta, Rivers and Akwa-Ibom can claim to have been shortchanged in any tenable manner in the rotation of the position of MD/CEO. What any of them lost in substantive capacity was eventually recovered in acting capacity. There is really no difference in terms of influence between substantive and acting capacity and someone serving in acting capacity may in fact end up exercising more power because of the absence of the compliment of a full board to serve as a check.
There is neither legal nor equitable basis for supposing that it is the turn of Bayelsa to now produce the MD/CEO. In either acting or substantive capacity, Bayelsa has held the post for a total of five years similar to Delta and Rivers who have held it for six years each.
To take it to Bayelsa at this point in time is to potentially grant Bayelsa a total of nine to ten years when though a core oil-producing state, it has not by any means historically produced more oil than its big brother, next door, Delta State. This will not be tolerated by any other core oil-producing state.
Those who constituted the Pius Odubu-led board, including Akpabio, himself, now pretending to be holier than other people when we know just the sort of person he really is, actually did the right thing by rotating the position of MD/CEO to Delta where it properly belongs.
The manner in which the NDDC has been run over the years leaves much to be desired and it is generally as a result of not timeously constituting, confirming and inaugurating a substantive board that inconsequential disparities, usually only a few months in duration, might have arising amongst the periods these states have occupied top positions.
While pretending to be keen on writing such perceived wrongs, Akpabio is actually pepertuating them through his handpicked three man committee of Men Fridays and errand boys and a girl, while further truncating the smooth duration of the substantive and more representative board thus distorting the rotational nature of the commission’s top leadership!
Yes, Delta State is alphabetically due the Chairmanship of the commission in the present dispensation but this should not be misconstrued to mean it is not entitled to its Managing Directorship. Delta was actually due both positions but it was considered unwholesome for both the Chairman and MD/CEO to come from the same state.
There is nothing wrong with Edo occupying the Chairmanship in the present dispensation. The man that was nominated into the position from Edo is most eminently qualified to man the post and hails from the only oil-producing senatorial district of the state which is in fact, part of the geographic Niger Delta! Moreover, the Chairmanship was zoned, out of turn, to Edo with the understanding that it will revert back to Delta in the next dispensation. No other state would have thereby been cheated so no one should cry more than the bereaved.
In any case, those peddling the fiction that what is due to Delta is just the Chairmanship with the insinuation that the Managing Directorship should go either to Bayelsa or indeed to Ondo, which is not even a core oil-producing state in the first place and therefore not in any way equitably entitled to it, they should be careful what they wish for because if indeed the Chairmanship had gone to Delta, it would only have done so alphabetically amongst all nine NDDC states.
That same Delta would still have rotationally gotten the MD/CEO position upon its status as a core oil-producing state and in fact the greatest contributor to the total quantum of oil produced in this country since it became an oil-producing country!
In his sickening desperation to retain absolute control over the NDDC as his new favourite cashcow, Akpabio seems to have already negotiated with someone from Bayelsa to be recruited as MD/CEO, hence his uneducated descent into the sort of substandard mathematics and computation of duration of tenure we would be inclined to upbraid a primary school pupil on.
Plagued with a deep personality flaw that renders him unable to exercise self-restraint, be a team player or subject himself to supervening authority, Akpabio is pitiably demystifying his own self with the rascality of his recent antics.
Being a man who hails far from anywhere oil is actually produced and its effects felt, Akpabio’s entire interface with oil is hostage to a fixation on oil-money, which explains his obsession with exercising imperial control over a commission that belongs to the entirety of the Niger Delta.
If he continues on his avaricious path, those whose areas actually produce the oil will soon show him that he is a complete outsider in the Niger Deltan scheme of things while clearly demonstrating to Mr. President that he made a very big mistake to have made such an unstable character a Minister at all and the Minister for Niger Deltan Affairs, for that matter!
Mr. Eke, a commentator on national issues wrote from, Warri.