By Eric Teniola
OMPADEC: SINCE 2000 every President in Nigeria has been unfair to Ondo and Imo states in terms of appointments of chairman/managing director/executive director in the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC. It does not matter the quantum of oil produced in those two states as long as they are still members of the NDDC, the rotation formula as contained in the NDDC Act should be applied. Why do I say so?
On August 27, 1991, General Ibrahim Babangida, GCFR, created Delta State along with other states. He then named Asaba as the state capital, a decision that is still regarded as crucial even till today. A few months later on June 25, 1992, General Babangida established the Oil Mineral Producing Areas Development Commission, OMPADEC. On July 9, 1992, General Babangida signed into law the OMPADEC Decree.
Covered by OMPADEC were Rivers, Delta, Akwa Ibom, Imo, Edo, Ondo and Abia states. Port-Harcourt was named as the headquarters of OMPADEC in the decree. The decree states, among others, that the chairman and all other members of the Commission shall be appointed by the President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces.
The chairman and all members of the Commission shall be full-time members; the chairman shall be the chief executive of the Commission and the supplementary provisions contained in the Schedule to the Decree shall have effect with respect to the proceedings of the Commission and the other matters contained therein. In establishing OMPADEC, General Babangida took a cue from Section 159 of the 1963 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. General Babangida should be commended for establishing OMPADEC. From 1966 till 1992 nothing was done by the Central Government to cater for the plight of the people from that region. Section 159 of the 1963 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria states that – (1) There shall be a board for the Niger Delta which shall be styled the Niger Delta Development Board. (2) The members of the Board shall be – (a) a person appointed by the President, who shall be chairman (b) a person appointed by the Governor of Eastern Nigeria; (c) a person appointed by the Governor of Mid-Western Nigeria; and such other persons may be appointed in such manner as may be prescribed by Parliament to represent the inhabitants of the Niger Delta. (3) A member of the board shall vacate his office in such circumstances as may be prescribed by Parliament.
(4) The Board shall be responsible for advising the Government of the Federation and the Governments of Eastern Nigeria and Mid-Western Nigeria with respect to the physical development of the Niger Delta, and in order to discharge that responsibility the Board shall— (a) cause the Niger Delta to be surveyed in order to ascertain what measures are required to promote its physical development; (b) prepare schemes designed to promote the physical development of the Niger Delta , together with estimates of the costs of putting the schemes into effect; (c) submit to the Government of the Federation and the Governments of Eastern Nigeria and Mid-Western annual reports describing the work of the Board and the measures taken in pursuance of its advice.
(5) Parliament may make such provision as it considers expedient for enabling the Board to discharge its functions under this section; (6) In this section, “the Niger Delta” means the area specified in the Proclamation relating to the Board which was made on the twenty-sixth day of August, 1959; (7) this section shall cease to have effect on the first day of July, 1969, or such later date as may be prescribed by Parliament.
The objectives of the Niger Delta Development Board are the same as that of OMPADEC which are to (a) to receive and administer the monthly sums from the allocation of the Federation Account in accordance with confirmed ratio of oil production in each State – (i) for the rehabilitation and development of oil mineral producing areas, (ii) for tackling ecological problems that have arisen from the exploration of oil minerals; (b) to determine and identify, through the Commission and the respective oil mineral producing States, the actual oil mineral producing areas and embark on the development of projects properly agreed upon with the local communities of the oil mineral producing areas;
(c) to consult with the relevant Federal and State Government authorities on the control and effective methods of tackling the problem of oil pollution and spillages; (d) to consult with the relevant Federal and State Government authorities on the control and effective methods of tackling the problem of oil pollution and spillages;(e) to liaise with the various oil companies on matters of pollution control (f) to obtain from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation the proper formula for actual oil mineral production of each State, Local Government Area and community and to ensure the fair and equitable distribution of projects, services and employment of personnel in accordance with recognised percentage production.