Emmanuel Addeh in Yenagoa
The Niger Delta Entrepreneurs Forum (NDEF) yesterday frowned at the dissolution of the Prof. Nelson Brambaifa led Board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), alleging that the law was not strictly adhered to in picking the new board.
A statement by its Coordinator, Comrade Kester Okele and Secretary, Ebipade Timi, in Yenagoa, said the decision smacked of a larger plot to expose the presidency to ridicule by those who came up with the idea to dissolve the erstwhile leadership. It noted that Section 4 of the Act establishing the NDDC was clear on the rotation of the chairmanship position of the commission in alphabetical order, insisting that ‘Edo was gifted the chairmanship’ of the board after Cross River State.
The forum queried why part IV of the Act section 12(1) which says that “ a Managing Director and two Executive Directors who shall be indigenes of oil producing areas starting with the member states of the Commission with the highest production quantum of oil and shall rotate amongst member states in order of production “ was jettisoned.
It wondered how a state like Rivers which is amongst the first three highest producers of oil in Nigeria, playing host to two refineries and refining the highest amount of crude oil would be left out in the appointment of the management committee of the NDDC.
It said there were anomalies in the procedure of the new appointments with the announcement by the Permanent Secretary, General Services, Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation asking appointees to come with their updated credentials rather than the office of the president which should forward a letter to the senate to approve and confirm such appointments
NDEF maintained that the previous set of appointments by the President in January was duly signed by the President’s Spokesman with a directive for the NDDC to come under the supervision of the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs rather than the office of the SGF.
While thanking the President for appointing two sons of the region to serve as Ministers in the Niger Delta Ministry, including the appointment of an SSA on Niger Delta Affairs to solve the challenges in the region, the group urged him to direct the withdrawal of the ‘controversial and procedurally defective directive’ in the appointment of the new Board of the NDDC.
“We believe that the speed of dissolution of the Prof Nelson Brambaifa led board leaves much to be desired and smacks of a larger plot to expose the Presidency of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to public opprobrium.
“For instance, Section 4 of the Act establishing the NDDC is abundantly clear on the rotation of Chairmanship in alphabetical order. Our question is simple – How come Edo is being gifted the Chairmanship of the Board after Cross River state took the last shot?
“ Again Part IV of the Act Section 12(1) expounds that the “a Managing Director and two Executive Directors who shall be indigenes of oil producing areas starting with the member states of the Commission with the highest production quantum of oil and shall rotate amongst member states in order of production”. Our question is – which three states amongst the oil producing States should benefit from the three key appointments?
“What parameters were deployed in what we can safely refer to as the “NDDC swap-gate”? Who were the stakeholders consulted before such a historical decision was taken in order to rob Peter to pay Paul’’ the group asked.