Following years of drama around the operations and audit of its finances, President Buhari is ready to inaugurate a substantive board for the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC). However, in what may have come as a surprise to many; he nominates his social media aide for Senate’s conformation as Chair of the NDDC Board
Barely three years after the dissolution of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) board, President Muhammadu Buhari has sent for the Senate’s confirmation a list of fifteen nominees as new members of the commission’s board.
The development was contained in a letter read at the beginning of Wednesday’s plenary by the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan. As contained in the letter, President Buhari seeks the confirmation of Lauretta Onochie and Samuel Ibukun as substantive Board Chairperson and Managing Director, respectively.
Ms Onochie, who until her nomination is the President’s Social Media aide is known to be a very controversial figure and was, in July 2021, dropped as National Commissioner-nominee for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) after huge pressure from Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) and other Nigerians.
Notably, Dr Pius Odubu, who had on November 5, 2019, been confirmed by the Senate alongside sixteen others as Chairman and members of the NDDC board, is listed among the fourteen new nominees sent to the Red Chamber. The immediate past Edo State Deputy Governor is listed alongside Dimgba Erugba (Abia), Ene Wilcox (Akwa Ibom), Gbenga Odegba (Ondo) and Anthony Ekene (Imo).
Others are Onyekachi Dimgba (Rivers State), Mohammed Abubakar (Zonal Representative, Nasarawa), Tallen Mamma (North East Representative), Sodique Sani (North West Zonal Representative), Charles Airhiavbere (Executive Director, Finance) and Charles Ogunmola (Executive Director, Projects, South West).
At the plenary, the Deputy President of the Senate, Ovie Omo-Agege, (APC, Delta Central) earlier protested that the absence of a representation from Delta State, in line with the NDDC Act, which stipulates that each oil-producing state must have a representative on the board. This is as he pleaded with the Executive to correct the anomaly.
Similarly, the Senator representing Rivers East; George Sekibo citing Orders 52(6), 71(2), 10, and 11, urged the Senate to follow due process and do the right thing in confirming the nominees of the NDDC Board.