Home Oil and Gas Senate urges Onochie’s NDDC, to hit the ground running to make up for lost time

Senate urges Onochie’s NDDC, to hit the ground running to make up for lost time

by Business News Report

Senate has urged the newly confirmed Chairman of Niger Delta Development Commission to hit the ground running to make up for lost time. The Senate said this after the confirmation of  the Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on new Media, Mrs Lauretta Ifeanyi Onochie from Delta State as the Chairman,  board of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC. The Senate confirmed appointments of 13 out of the 15 Presidential nominees for the Board sent by President Muhammadu Buhari,  just as the law makers demanded for forensic report carried out on the commission by the Presidency. Also confirmed by the Senate  Chief Samuel Ogbuku for the position of Managing Director for a term of two years, to complete the unexpired term of his predecessor un office. The Senate also confirmed Major- General Charles Airhiavbere, retd  from Edo State, South -South for the position of Executive Director, Finance.and Charles Ogunmola, Ondo State, South West for the position of Executive Director, Projects. 

In his remarks after the confirmation of  Onochie and 12 others, the President of the Senate who demanded for a forensic report on the Commission, asked the confirmed Chairman and members of the NDDC board to as a matter of urgency hit the ground running against the backdrop that much time has been lost. Lawan said, “At last we have the Commission has gotten the proper management and board and I believe that time is of essence here the chain and members should hit the ground running so much time has been lost. I believe that from now until when their tenure will elapse,  they have a lot of work to do because NDDC as we all know is an interventionist institution created by government in 2000 and of course it was a sacrifice of the members of the National Assembly members especially those who are not from the Niger Delta to ensure that there is peace and unity and that there is fairness in the region. 

“For those that will take over the mantle of leadership let see NDDC as a development institute rather than a cash cow. You should ensure that communities that this institution that is supposed to work for really benefit from its existence and from the resources. I also want to ask the Executive arm of Government to send down the result of the Forensic Audit, yes let us see the result of the Forensic Audit,  the Audit had taken its toll on the Commission, most of the time the argument was that there should not be a management in place until the Audit is over. Now that the forensic audit is over,  we want to see what the report is saying and the best place to bring it is the National Assembly. So the copies of the Forensic Audit should be brought to the two chambers for us to see what has happened and what the Auditors have unraveled because we also need to know what our mistakes were . We are supposed to oversight certain things escaped our scrutiny so we need to see what the report says.”

The confirmation of the Chairman and other board members by the Senate was sequel to the presentation and consideration of the report of the Senate Committee on Niger Delta Affairs by the Acting Chairman, Senator Buius Amos. The confirmation was carried out in spite of criticisms that trailed the nomination of Ogunmola from Ondo State where the three Senators from the State had written a protest letter to the Committee on Niger Delta Affairs rejecting the name against the backdrop that he is from Owo, a non oil producing area of the state. Senator Nicholas Tofowomo, spoke on behalf of the Deputy Senate Leader, Robert Ajayi Boroffice, and Senator Ayo Akinyelure. It will be recalled that a Federal High Court, Abuja, had last week  stopped the National Assembly from screening and confirming the nominated chairman and Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Lauretta Onochie and Chief Samuel Ogbuku. It ordered that all actions on the matter be suspended pending the determination of the suit filed by Chief Edward Ekpokpo Esq., Engr. Victor Wood (both representing the Itsekiri Leaders of Thought (ILOT) and Mr. Edward Omagbemi (representing Omadino Unity Forum) on behalf of the Itsekiri ethnic nationality, challenging the nomination of the duo as Chairman and MD of the NDDC board.

The Senate however stepped down the confirmation of former Deputy Governor of Edo State, Dr. Pius Egberanwen Odubu, State Representative, Edo State, and Engr.  Anthony Okanne, Imo State, South East for non appearance for screening before the Committee. Odubu had earlier been screened and confirmed as Chairman of the board on November 5, 2019, but the board was never inaugurated. His name was sent back to the Senate in the new list sent by Buhari last November, but as Edo State representative. He, however, did not show up for screening and the Senate in its report presented on Tuesday, December 20, 2022 chose to step down his nomination. The Committee in the report said, ” During the Screening exercise, the Committee observed that two of the Presidential Nominees were absent and there was no information from the Senior Special Assistant to Mr. President on National Assembly Matters( Senate) explaining their absence. The two Presidential Nominees that were absent and therefore not screened are Dr. Pius Egberanwen Odubu, Nominee to represent Edo State on the Governing Board of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC and Engr. Anthony Okanne, Nominee to represent Imo State on  the Governing Board of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC. As a result, the Committee stepped down the screening of the two nominees for reason of non- appearance before the Committee.”

Also confirmed were Dimgba Erugba (State Representative, Abia, South-East; Dr. Emem Wilcos Wills, State Representative, Akwa Ibom, South -South; Elder Dimaro Denyabofa,  State Representative, Bayelsa State, South -South;  Hon. Orok Duke, State Representative, Cross River, South-South;  South-East and Hon. Gbenga Edema,  State Representative, Ondo State, South – West. Others were  Elekwachi Dinkpa, State Representative, Rivers State, South-South;  Alhaji Mohammed Kabir Abubakar, ( Zonal Representative, Nasarawa State, North-Central; Alhaji Sule Iko Sadeeq Sani Sami (Zonal Representative, Kebbi State, North-West; and Professor Tahir Mamman, SAN, (Zonal Representative, Adamawa State, North-East.

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