By Onome Oghenetega

The Centre for Peace and Good Governance (CPGG) has called for investigation into the dissolution and reconstitution of a new board for the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) by the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF).

CPGG, in a statement on Wednesday, suspected foul play in the manner the acting board of the commission which was appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari was dissolved.

The statement said the manner the appointment of the new board was announced was a clear departure from the known process.

Below is the full statement:

CENTRE FOR PEACE AND GOOD GOVERNANCE (CPGG)

August 28, 2019

RE: APPOINTMENT TO THE BOARD OF THE NIGER DELTA DEVELOPMENT COMMISSION (NDDC)

AN URGENT CALL FOR INVESTIGATION INTO THE PURPORTED ANNOUNCEMENT OF NEW BOARD MEMBERS

We write in swift response to a Press Release issued on the 27th of August, 2019 by the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) signed by Olusegun A. Adekunle Esq (Permanent Secretary, General Services Office) with the above captioned title.

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It is pertinent to state here that the procedure employed for the purported dissolution of the Acting Management of the NDDC and appointment of a new Board for the Commission through the office of the SGF lies in bad taste and it’s worrisome.

Indeed, it is the procedure in respect of Appointment of Board Members of the Commission that the President normally makes the appointment and recommends such names to the National Assembly for confirmation. The names are announced on the floor of the Senate and assigned to the relevant committees specifically the Senate Committee on Niger Delta Affairs in conjunction with the House of Reps Committee on NDDC for screening. This is what has always been the procedure for the appointment of a new board into NDDC.

It is therefore disturbing to note that these purported appointees meant to be cleared by the National Assembly, were announced by the Office of the SGF at a time when the National Assembly that is saddled with the responsibility of accepting recommendations and screening, is on recess.

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This becomes even more suspicious with the absence of Mr President in far away Tokyo, Japan.

In view of the above development, CPGG calls on the Presidency particularly President Muhammadu Buhari to direct an urgent investigation into the dissolution of the Acting Management and purported appointment of cronies of the some powerful politicians as NDDC Board members.

Whereas the NDDC Act recognizes a position for OPTS members or representatives, surprisingly there is now a new position of South West representation which is not contained in the Act.

CPGG therefore queries:

Who can amend the NDDC Act?

Is it the Office of the SGF or the National Assembly that is presently on recess? Who should do the announcement, the SGF or the National ?Assembly

For all it’s worth, even an amendment doesn’t just fall from the sky, there are procedures that must be followed. This alien approach leaves more cause for worry.

Moreso, the immense pressure currently being mounted  on the NDDC Acting MD/CEO, Prof Nelson Brambaifa to hurriedly hand over to the most senior Director of the Commission, yet again, leaves room for more suspicions.

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Indeed, it is on record that in 2016, when the Sen. Victor Ndoma Egba led Board was announced, the then Acting MD (Mrs Ibim Seminitari) still functioned until the screening of the board members was completed. It was after this that she (Mrs Ibim Seminitari) handed over to the substantive board. This has been the order.

It therefore becomes a misnomer to direct that an Acting Management of NDDC hands over to the most senior Director in another acting capacity.

To this end, CPGG makes bold to state that the announcement declaring the dissolution and appointment of a new NDDC Board, without the purported recommended names by Mr President going the National Assembly, is suspicious and capable of causing tension in the Niger Delta region.

We trust Mr President to see that the new Board is constituted in the proper manner.

To this end, we therefore encourage the Acting MD/CEO and the two Executive Directors, not to hurriedly handover until the return of Mr President.

Signed:

Chike Oliseh

President

Preye London

Vice President

Michael Oboreh

Secretary


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