Kingsley Nwezeh in Abuja
The Imo State government is currently pitching for the headship of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), which it claims it’s its right in the spirit of equity, justice and fairness.
The NDDC has been embroiled in crisis following the failure to inaugurate the board of the commission, the list of which was submitted to the National Assembly by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The situation was further aggravated by the insistence of the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Chief Goodwill Akpabio, to conduct a forensic audit of the agency’s financial dealings.
Akpabio has since submitted the audit report but the situation remains the same.
THISDAY gathered that out of the 9-member-states of the commission, only four states have produced and dominated the position of managing director. They are Akwa Ibom, Rivers, Delta and Bayelsa.
Other member states include Imo, Abia, Edo, Ondo and Cross River States.
However, the dominance of the headship of the commission by the said states violates the provisions of the commission, which states that the position of managing director should rotate amongst member-states, starting with state with the highest quantum of oil and shall rotate among member states in order of production.
A document sighted by THISDAY, however, listed the former heads of the agency to includeMr. Godwin Omene, Delta State (2000); Mr Emmanuel Aguorivwodo, Delta State; Timi Alaibe, Bayelsa State (2007) and Mr Chibuzor Ugwuoha, Rivers State.
Others were Chris Oboh, Rivers State (2011 to 2013); Mrs. Ibim Semenetari, Rivers State (2013); Mr Nsima Ekere, Akwa Ibom State 2016; Prof Nelson Broimbaifa Bayelsa State (2019) and Mrs. Jol Nunieh, Rivers State (2019 – 2020); Prof Pondel Bayelsa State (2020) and Barr. Effiong Akwa, Akwa Ibom State (2020 to present).
“From the list of past managing directors of the commission, it is obvious that only four states: Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Rivers and Delta States, have monopolised the position since the inception of the commission.
“This is in conflict with the express provisions of Section 12(1) of the NDDC Act 2000,which provides, ‘That there shall be for the Commission a Managing Director and two Executive Directors, who shall be indigenes of oil producing areas starting with the members states of the commission with the highest production quantum of oil and shall rotate among member states in order of production,” it said.
Section 2(1) of the NDDC Act 2000 states that, “There is hereby established for the Commission a governing board (in this Act referred to as ‘the Board’) which shall consist of, (a) Chairman, that is one person, who shall be an indigene of an oil producing area to represent each of the following States. (i) Abia State (ii) Akwa Ibom State (iii) Bayelsa State (iv) Cross River State (v) Delta State (vi} Edo State (vii) Imo State (viii) Ondo State, and (x) Rivers State.”
It further stated that (c) Three persons to represent non-oil mineral producing States (d), one representative of oil producing companies in the Niger Delta nominated by the Oil producing companies (e), one person to represent the Federal Ministry of Finance (f), one person to represent the Federal Ministry of Environment (g), the Managing Director of the Commission; and (h) two Executive Directors.
“Section 12(1) of the NDDC Act provides that there shall be for the commission, a Managing Director, and two Executive Directors, who shall be indigenes of the areas starting with the members states of the Commission with the highest production quantum of of and shall rotate among member states in order of production.”
The documents further showed that Imo State was ranked the 4th highest oil producing state of the NDDC states, but has never headed the commission.
“At present, Imo State is ranked the 4th highest in production quantum of oil and has never been represented in the executive management of the commission. As a nation founded on law and justice, it is important to implement the provisions of the NDDC Act by rotating the position of managing director as provided by its enabling legislation and to give the Imo people a sense of belonging. There can be no better time to appoint the managing director of the commission from Imo State than now,” it said.