December 1, 2022

N’Delta: Lori-Ogbebor urges Buhari to revisit fresh NDDC board list

Says Senate shouldn’t proceed with screening

By Charles Kumolu

Rights activist, Chief Rita Lori-Ogbebor, has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to review the fresh list of nominees for the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, board recently sent to the Senate.

She particularly urged the President to address what she described as an anomaly on the list, saying it’s fraught with injustice.

Lori-Ogbebor in a chat with Vanguard expressed doubt that the list emanated from Buhari, lamenting that the highest oil-producing ethnic group in Delta State, Itsekiri, has no representative in the proposed board.

She explained that going by the NDDC Act, it is the turn of Delta State to produce the leadership of the board, adding that the Itsekiri are rightful beneficiaries of the slot.

Her words: “Mr. President, we need justice and fair play.  A list has just been released of the nominees of NDDC board. Mr President, I don’t believe this list came from you. I hold this idea very strongly because they did it before.

And I am not afraid of calling those who did it before your enemies and enemies of this country. They work for themselves and do not work for this country. Mr. President, I believe that nobody in your position will allow the list that was forwarded to the Senate.

“They did it before by sending a list of nominees to the Senate when you were away.  I stood my ground in the past three years that the list forwarded to the Senate didn’t reflect equity and was not your list.  For anyone to say that you brought out the new list and suddenly nominated the nominees as members of the NDDC board, I disagree. The list this time is even worse than the list we had before, which prompted me to go to court. Why am I against the present list?  First, the NDDC Act clearly stated that there should be a managing director and chairman.  It stated that these two positions are to be rotated in alphabetical order and oil quantum produced. I have kept quiet and Itsekiri have kept quiet all the while until now. It is the turn of Delta State to produce the leadership. And in Delta State, Urhobo and Ijaw have been running the show. They were the ones producing the managing directors and chairmen. But the Itsekiri who actually produce the highest quantity of oil in Delta State are left out. Is it because we are a minority?

“Now, enough is enough. That is why I am crying out that it is the turn of the Itsekiri. That is why I have been in and out of the court in the past three years. We need credible men and women to man the NDDC and entire Niger Delta region. And I believe we would find some among the Itsekiri whose turn it is to produce the leadership of NDDC in Delta State.  Everybody knows the Itsekiri man is gentle and that is the reason we have been calm for a long time about this injustice. The Itsekiri man believes in Nigeria.

“That is why we have been playing stabilizing roles when others are angry. That doesn’t mean we are fools or that we cannot fight. Mr. President, it is the turn of the Itsekiri to produce the Managing Director of NDDC. The lady that was proposed as Chairman is from your kitchen cabinet. She is from Delta North where they do not suffer oil pollution or environmental degradation as Itsekiriland where oil flows everywhere. There are so many reasons the list is not your list. I ask that you revisit the list. I give no ultimatum, but only ask that you revisit the list. I also urge the Senate not to proceed with the screening until the President corrects this injustice.’’