APC crisis thickens as Oshiomhole draw battle line with Buhari
Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, national chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), suffered yet another blow on Thursday when President Muhammadu Buhari stopped the inauguration of the new board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) in which he has vested interest.
The president had recently approved a new 16-man board of the NDDC with Dr. Pius Odubu from Edo State as chairman.
Odubu was Oshiomhole’s deputy as Edo State governor between November 2008 and November 2016 and was nominated to the board by Oshiomhole.
The deputy Senate president, Court Invasion: Senate Gives DSS, AGF, Others 24 Hours To Submit Memorandum P39 Ovie Omo-Agege, also nominated Bernard Okumagba from Delta State as the new managing director.
The APC national chairman’s misfortune came less than a week after the presidency ordered the police to stop the party from holding a mega rally in Benin City, the Edo State capital, on Friday.
Presidential adviser on media and publicity, Femi Adesina, said in a statement on Thursday that President Buhari had approved that the board of the NDDC be recomposed and inaugurated after the forensic audit of the organisation.
“The president has also directed that the Interim Management Team of the NDDC be in place till the forensic audit is completed, and that the supervision of the commission shall remain under the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs,” Adesina said.
A credible source informed Daily Independent on Thursday that President Buhari approved the interim management committee of the NDDC on October 13, 2019, before he travelled to the United Kingdom on a two-week private visit.
Sunday Independent had reported exclusively in its October 6, 2019 edition that President Buhari might bow to pressure and reverse the newly constituted board of the NDDC due to widespread resentment and demonstrations across the nine states of the oil producing states.
Some governors of the oil bearing states had kicked against the NDDC board, saying politics was the only consideration used in selecting the members, adding that this ran contrary to the provisions of the NDDC Act.
According to them, the new board was “hurriedly put together” without the input of the governors of the oil bearing states.
The law setting up the NDDC provides that governors of the Niger Delta states be consulted on the composition of the NDDC board. Daily Independent gathered that governors of the oil producing states and the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio, had met with the president and prevailed on him to reverse the appointment in the spirit of the NDDC Act.
Board members whose hopes had been dashed by the latest development are Bernard Okumagba from Delta State, who was to serve as managing director, and Otobong Ndem from Akwa Ibom, who was appointed as the executive director, projects. Others are Maxwell Okoh from Bayelsa State; Jones Erue from Delta State; Victor Ekhator from Edo State; Nwogu Nwogu from Abia State; Theodore Allison from Bayelsa State; Victor Antai from Akwa Ibom State; Maurice Effiwatt from Cross River State; Olugbenga Elema from Ondo State; Uchegbu Kyrian from Imo State, and Aisha Muhammed from Kano State, representing the North-West on the board. From Adamawa State, President Buhari had appointed Ardo Zubairu to represent the North-East, while Badmus Mutalib was appointed from Lagos State to represent the South-West region on the NDDC board. Daily Independent gathered that Ondo State kicked vehemently against the composition and urged President Buhari to appoint an indigene as the next managing director of the interventionist agency.
The state had argued that as the fifth largest oil-producing community in Nigeria, it (Ondo) deserved to produce the next NDDC managing director. According to Ondo State official, other oil-producing states such as Akwa Ibom, Delta, Rivers, and Bayelsa, had had the opportunity of producing the managing director, executive director of finance and administration (EDFA) and executive director, projects (EDP) of the NDDC.
“The first board of the NDDC (2001-2004) had Godwin Omene and Emmanuel Agwariavwodo, both from Delta State; Chief Timi Alaibe, from Bayelsa, as well as Udoh Mboso and Ukot, both from Akwa Ibom State. “The second board (2005- 2009) had Chief Timi Alaibe from Bayelsa as the MD; Chief P.Z. Aginigha from Delta as the EDFA; and Beniah Ojurn from Rivers as the EDP. “The third board (2009- 2011) had Mr. Uguwoha from Rivers as managing director; Chief P.Z. Aginigha from Delta as the EDFA, and Etteh from Akwa-Ibom as the EDP. “Still, the third board (2011- 2013) had Dr. Christian Oboh from Rivers as the managing director; Mr. Lambert Konboye from Delta as the EDFA, while Edikan Eshiet Eshiet from Akwa Ibom was the EDP.
“If the NDDC Act can be strictly followed in the appointment of the board chairmen, why can’t they obey same Act in the appointment of the managing director and executive directors for the commission?” the top official of the state had queried. According to the official, “Under Part 1, Section 4 of the Establishment of the NDDC Board, the office of the chairman shall rotate amongst the member states of the commission in the following alphabetical order: Abia State, Akwa Ibom State, Bayelsa State, Cross River State, Delta State, Edo State, Imo State, Ondo State, and Rivers State.
“Ondo State has never produced the managing director since inception. It is now the turn of Ondo State and not Delta State as presently proposed.
“It is also the turn of Delta State to produce the chairman and not Edo State. It is a battle royale because Ondo State will not agree and allow the present nomination to stand.
“The present manipulation was done by the APC chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, and the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege,” he added. The Senate had on November 5, 2019, confirmed the nomination of 15 persons for the appointment on the board of the NDDC out of 16 names nominated by President Buhari.
The upper chamber had rejected the nomination of Dr. Joy Nunieh, nominee for Rivers, following her absence at the screening conducted by the Senate Committee on Niger Delta. Nunieh currently serves on the interim committee overseeing the activities of the NDDC.
The committee has Dr. Cairo Ojougboh as Acting Executive Director, Projects and Chief Ibanga Bassey Etang as the Acting Executive Director, Finance and Administration. In his remarks, the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, while speaking on the existence of the interim committee to oversee the NDDC, said: “I think there’s no ambiguity in this matter. Mr. President sent to the Senate his request for us to confirm his nominees.
“As soon as they (nominees) are confirmed, I’m sure any other structure that exists now is vitiated. “I don’t think we have anything to worry about, because this is something that is clearly established by the law.”
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