NDDC: Again, Ijaw Group Tackles Lori-Ogbebor Over Legal Suit Against Appointment Of Okumagba

Olorogun Bernard Okumagba, Managing Director, NDDC

By Sampson Boroh

The Warri Ijaw Political Forum (WIPF) has faulted the case filed against Chief Bernard Okumagba by Chief Rita Lori-Ogbebor from serving as the Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) over the claims that Chief Okumagba is not from an oil producing area.

In a statement signed by WIPF’s Coordinator, Hon. Michael Oweikpodor stated that apart from the fact that the argument by Lori-Ogbebor does not hold water, the case was filed in bad faith.

The statement urged President Muhammadu Buhari, the federal government and the people of the Niger Delta region not to take Chief Lori-Ogbebor’s reasons against Okumagba seriously as they are not serving the interest of the people of Warri and the Niger Delta region.

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It said, “It is on record that Warri South Local Government Area is an oil producing Local Government Area in Delta state and the Okumagba family is not only from this local government area but very prominent members of the entire Warri federal constituency and Delta State as a whole.

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“ If Chief Bernard Okumagba is not qualified to be Managing Director of the NDDC on the basis of his place of origin, who then is qualified? We wish to state clearly that the real reason for Chief Rita Lori-Ogbebor opposition is not because of the weak argument of Chief Okumagba not coming from an oil producing area but her age long attitude of antagonising  neighbouring ethnic groups and communities.

“It is on record that same Chief Rita Ilori took the Ogbe-Ijoh people and Delta State Government to court over sitting of the headquarters of Warri South West Local government Council and failed from the High court up to the Supreme Court. Therefore, he case against Okumagba would suffer same faith.

“If Chief Rita Ilori is honest, why did she keep quite when Governor Okowa appointed Michael Diden, an Itsekiri to take over from Mr. Godwin Ebosa, another Itsekiri as Chairman of DESOPADEC in express violation of the DESOPADEC law which state that a person from a particular ethnic group cannot be allowed to succeed another same from same ethnic group as Chairman of the Commission.

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“Why didn’t Chief Rita Ilori take the Delta State Government to court over the illegal appointment of Hon. Michael Diden (Ejele)? The obvious reason is that the illegal appointment of Hon. Diden serves the ethnic interest of Mrs. Rita Ilori; hence she is quite.”

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WIPF appealed to Chief Lori-Ogbebor to use her influential position to promote peace among the different ethnic groups in Warri.

The statement further urged the National Assembly to screen and clear Chief Okumagba, saying that the appointee is eminently qualified to head the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) as its Managing Director.

“Consequently, we call on Chief Illori to stop her promotion of ethnic hatred at her old age and do things that would promote ethnic harmony in Delta State. We also call on the National Assembly to screen and clear Chief Okumagba as the Managing Director of NDDC while calling on Deltans to support Okumagba to succeed”, Oweikpodor added.

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