NDDC leadership: Ondo indigines demand justice, urge Buhari to stop ‘illegality’

A socio-cultural pressure group, Ilaje/Ese Odo Progressive Union has faulted succession arrangement of the position of the Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) which has denied Ondo State the occupation of the highest seat of the intervention agency since it’s inception.

 The group described the development as unacceptable and at variance with the extant laws establishing the agency and demanded that President Muhamadu Buhari should stop the illegality and discrimination.

A statement by the National President of the Union, Ambassador Ebiesuwa Samuel in Abuja maintained that: “for equity, fairness and justice, the section 12(1) of thevNDDC Act stipulated that the position of the Managing Director (MD) shall be rotating among the member states in order of oil production quantum”. 

Samuel noted that the other four states higher in oil production than Ondo state have been producing the managing director of NDDC for the past 21years of the commission. 

According to him, “the position should be a four year tenure for each state, meaning we have been cheated because our state, Ondo has never for once produce the Managing Director (MD)”.

Tracing the board of the Commission since inception, Samuel noted that the first substantive board MD tenure was completed by Godwin Omene and Aguarivwodo Emmanuel both from Delta state, while the second substantive board MD was Timi Alaibe from Bayelsa state. The third substantive board MD was Chibuzo Ugwuoha and Christian Oboh both from Rivers state and the fourth was Bassey Dan-Abia and Nsima Ekere both from Akwa-Ibom state. 

He then observed that when it was the turn of Ondo state to become substantive board  Managing Director as the fifth oil producing state, “Interim management committee (IMC) and sole administratorship were introduced with Nunieh Joy as the acting managing director from Rivers State and Kemebradikumo Pondei from Bayelsa, this was outside the NDDC Act”

The Union further complained that upon the removal of the IMC in December 2020, another sole administratior from Akwa-Ibom sttate was appointed for the commission thereby rotating the MD/ head of the commission among the first four states that have eailer benefited, contrary to the commission’s Act, without any regard for Ondo State being the fifth oil producing state.

“We condemn this illegality in it’s totality and call for justice, we are peace loving people who believe in equality. We therefore call on  President Muhamadu Buhari to come to our aid  and see the need for Ilaje candidate as the next managing director of the Niger/Delta Development Commission to prevent build up anger, further agitation and protest like the previous avoidable #ENDSARS saga.”

The appointment of the chief executive of the NDDC as enshrined in the Act, is to create attention on the development of each member states rotationally. Samuel stressed that “Ilaje/Ese Odo communities are lacking development due to lack of the necessary attention since our state have not mounted the leadership position.

“The underdevelopment of Ilaje Ese-Odo is very high, no road, no basic amenities like electricity, portable water and many more. Serious sea incursion is ravaging many of our communities, some are already going extinct while some are half way into the sea and properties worth millions of Naira have been destroyed. Gbagira, Awoye, Mese, Odofado, Ayetoro, Abereke and many others are seriously impacted”.

“History is counting and all those perpetrating these evils and wilfully violating the NDDC Act and Laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria because they are in power today. The turn of the Ilajes of Ondo State to produce the MD has been unjustly delayed due to introduction of several Interim Management Committees and Sole Administrators to head the NDDC. We appeal once again to our President, a man that advocates for the rule of law to leave a legacy of correcting the past wrongs this time for an Ilaje indigine to emerge as the next Managing Director of NDDC,” he concluded.End

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