July 13, 2024

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Fresh Battle Over New NDDC Board * New List Of Board Members Rattle Region

5 min read




There is uneasy calm in the Niger Delta, following the news of plans by the federal government to submit a fresh list of nominees for membership of the board of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC.


Already, there are emerging indications that the Muhammadu Buhari government may have decided to dare the senate and drop the names of those that were initially cleared as members of the board in 2019.



TNN learnt that whereas the Minister for Justice and Attorney- General of the Federation, Mallam Abubakar Malami had advised the president to retain the list of nominees that was cleared by the senate, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Boss Mustapha was said to have given a contrary advice to the president.


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The SGF was also said to have moved to secure an approval for a new list which now has a former chief of staff, Government House, Yenagoa as the managing director designate, while Lauritta Onochie, the president’s former nominee for appointment as INEC REC, from Delta State was said to have been listed as chairman of the board.



The nomination is believed to have caused some serious trouble within and around government circles. Also, some top stakeholders in the Niger Delta are not comfortable that the team that was screened and cleared by the senate was about to be dropped.


Vice President 2, Ijaw National Congress and leader of the Associaton of Rural Chiefs for Peace and Development, Chief Nengi James is not happy about the development. He is also not happy that the federal government was playing games with the NDDC.


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He said: “The NDDC is not given the authority to develop the area. What will they campaign of? So maybe some of these talks that we have already put forward and pressurized, must have been their thought to have reversed the trend.


“I have severally argued that the nominees that have been properly done should have been the nominees that should have been there, if there is misplacement of state on a particular person or persons, that can only be reversed, but I think with what Mr. President has done, I think it does not go down well with some of us.




“The change of nominees for me is also very wrong, so, everything about NDDC which ought to be an agency that should have intervened for us for good things, of which they have used agency of North East, humanitarian commission to almost replace what we have got in the Niger Delta, and theirs is working without probing and audit, and they try to stampede and keep us in this kind of situation and come with all manner of confusion, and strategy to cow the people of the Niger Delta; it is unacceptable, it’s just a strategy.


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“So those people who passed the screening process, at the end you promised and you did not inaugurate them, why are you looking for a new list? So, it’s becoming over political, in fact, to a large extent, for me, people like us, there is no much trust on Mr. President and his people, actually on the board, because the board has been over political.



How does the INC view this development?
“We see it as something that he just did politically to favour their political moves, that is it, because campaigns have started. It’s just a move to see that he does something that will keep people, giving people hope. Somebody is coming to act, what does it stop them to start the process immediately?


“If we know whether it is a new nominee or it’s the old people coming back, it’s a political strategy; for us, the initial trust is not there again, I think so. But then, we thank God that Mr. President finally, is replacing the sole administrator with a substantive board. But it should not be delayed.”

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An environmentalist, Mr Morris Alagoa however said it was unfortunate that some governors from the region were fighting hard against the team that was screened and cleared “which also led to the ugly situation the NDDC just went through, maybe sacrificing the development of the Niger Delta on the altar of politics.


“Somehow, I am not sure that team screened then would wholly make part of the new board, as a lot has happened since then and influential Stakeholders are pushing and trying to get things their own way.


“It is regrettable that what happened, happened in 2019; where fellow citizens screened and cleared were denied assuming the offices they were screened and cleared. The Presidency should look into the matter and do justice to those persons in one way or the other.


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“Sadly, we are yet to see any benefits from the so-called forensic audit of the NDDC; the excuse which was used to deny those Nigerians of their appointments.”


Another Niger Delta activist, Mr Saviour Oscar, in reacting to the development said it “is obvious that we do not have a responsible system government; reason we are faced with situations like this and beyond. NDDC was set up as an interventionist agency to see through the success and yearning of the people of Niger Delta due to the economic contribution of the region.


Still On The Flood Havoc

“But sadly to note that the Niger Delta region suffered in the midst of plenty. Before now a board was cleared and the people have been waiting to be sworn in. The question is, what stops the process of swearing them in?”


TNN learnt that a new list ought to have been sent to the National Assembly for screening, but that there have been some silent opposition to the idea. It was learnt that some persons in the National Assembly and also in the cabinet of the Buhari government are not comfortable with the new nominees and are fighting to stop it.


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