Urge Buhari to respect statutory provisions
The South-South Elders Progressive Forum, SSEPF, has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to respect the law establishing the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), in the appointment of its new Board.
The position was contained in a statement jointly issued by its chairman, Dr Promise Okpolo and Coordinator, Community Relations, Chief Anderson Etiewo, in Abuja, yesterday.
SSEPF whose membership consists of elders from across the oil-rich Niger Delta region, expressed its confidence and support for strict adherence to the NDDC Establishment Act by the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, in the nomination of fresh candidates for the new Board expected to be inaugurated soon, with Dr Cairo Ojougbo as chairman and Elder Deinyanbofa Dimaro, managing director, among others.
While expressing the conviction that the composition of a substantive Board for the NDDC would provide the needed representation and participation of the nine states captured in the NDDC Act in the decision-making process of the Commission, the elders contended that anything else, whether an Interim Management Committee (IMC) or an Interim Sole Administrator, was an aberration and should be discouraged, to sustain the fragile peace in the region.
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“A critical look at the Board whose members got screened by the Senate in 2019 but was jettisoned revealed certain anomalies in the composition. This applied specifically to the positions of the chairman and the three Executive Directors.
“The Act says the position of Chairman shall rotate in an alphabetical order amongst the nine states. The first Chairman of the Board was Chief Onyema Ugochukwu from Abia State who was succeeded by a candidate from Akwa Ibom State, and then Air Vice Marshal Larry koinyan (retd) from Bayelsa State.
“Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba (SAN) from Cross River State was the last to occupy the position of chairman from 2016 to 2019. From the list of states, it is now the turn of Delta State, which was illegally denied by political shenanigans.
“The Act also unambiguously outlined the process in which the three executive directors, namely the position of the Managing Director (MD), the Executive Director, Finance and Administration (EDFA) and the Executive Director, Project and Monitoring (EDP) shall be appointed.
“It provides that the positions shall rotate amongst the four major oil producing States, namely Akwa-Ibom, Delta, Rivers and Bayelsa States. Delta State had the first shot at the position of the Managing Director, followed by Rivers and Akwa-Ibom, being the last in the person of Mr. Nsima Ekere. It is now the turn of Bayelsa State to produce the Managing Director.
“All past errors should be corrected to reflect the statutory provisions in the Act establishing the NDDC in the composition of a new Board.”