NDDC Board: Senate rejects nominee from Rivers state, approves appointments of 15 others

The Senate Tuesday, rejected the nomination of Dr Joy Yimebe Nunieh from Rivers State as a nominated member for the Board of Niger Delta Development Commission ( NDDC) by President Muhammadu Buhari.

This is as the Upper legislative Chamber , confirmed the appointments of eleven other nominated members for the board along with two nominees for the position of Executive Directors as well as nominations made for the positions of Managing Director and Chairman of the Board as requested for , by President Muhammadu Buhari.

The rejection of the nominee from Rivers State by the Senate at the Committee of the whole , was sequel to  her refusal to appear before the Senate Committee on NDDC for screening as done by the 15 other nominees last week Thursday. 

The Chairman of the Committee , Senator Peter Nwaoboshi (PDP Delta North), had in his report presentation , told the Senate that the nominee from Rivers State refused to appear for screening despite several communications made to her to that effect .

According to him, the committee at the close of screening of the 15 other nominees who appeared before it last week Thursday, resolved to recommend non confirmation of appointment for the nominee from Rivers State.

“We made all the required efforts to get across to her and reliably gathered that information sent to that effect was received by her without honouring it with her appearance,” he said.

Consequently, the Senate at the Committee of the whole , confirmed the other nominees but rejected her.

But the question of a parallel NDDC management team constituted by the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio , was raised by some of the Senators who described it as sabotage. 

First to comment on it, was the Senate Minority Leader, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe ( PDP Abia South), who accused the executive of playing ‘basketball ball’ with the whole process. 

“While the President forwarded to the Senate for confirmation, appointnents of Chairman, Managing Director, Executive Directors and members for the NDDC Board , somebody somewhere , is setting up an interim management committee not captured by the Act establishing the Commission.

“Anything outside the provisions of the Act should be considered as an Act of sabotage and it is unacceptable. We should abide by the laws we made for the country,” he said.

Speaking in the same vein, the former Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ike Ekweremadu (PDP Enugu West), said the idea of setting up another management team outside the approved board by the Senate is unlawful and must not be allowed to stand.

“Anything outside the provisions of the Act is illegal and should remain so . Allowing such to stand will create unnecessary ambiguity in the entire process,” he said.

But Senator Bassey Akpan (PDP Akwa Ibom North East), said there was no ambiguity in the process since it is the Senate recognise by the Act to approve the NDDC board.  

Also dismissing the notion  of ambiguity,in the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan in his remarks said, “there is no ambiguity in this matter, President Buhari forwarded to us nominees for appointments into the board and as soon as we finish  with the process , any other structure is vitiated.”

He however, urged the Senate Committee on NDDC to rise up to the challenge of carrying out thorough oversight functions on the agency towards ensuring accountability and transparency in it’s financial transactions.

“This is very necessary as a result of the undesirable reputation the agency has on management of budgetary provisions over the years which made President Muhammadu Buhari to order for forensic auditing of its accounts.

“It is therefore our responsibility to ensure that public fund are properly put to use for the benefits of Niger Deltans and Nigerians generally,” he said. 

The nominees whose appointments were confirmed are , Dr Pius Odubu from Edo State as Chairman, Bernard Okumagba from Delta as Managing Director, Engr Otobong Ndem from Akwa Ibom State as Executive Director, Projects and Maxwell Oko from Bayeosa as Executive Director , Finance and Admin .

Others are, Prophet Jones Erue from Delta as member, Victor Ekhator from Edo as member , Nwogu Nwogu from Abia State as member , Theodore Allison from Bayelsa as member , Victor Antai from Akwa Ibom as member and Maurice Effiwatt from Cross River as member.

Other nominated members of the board confirmed are Olugbenga Edema from Ondo State , Uchegbu Kyrian from Imo State, Aisha Murtala Muhammed from Kano State , Shuaibu Ardo Zubairu from Adamawa State and Ambassador Abdullahi Bage from Nasarawa State .

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