The Niger Delta Stakeholders has accused Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State of lying in his unfounded statement, as reported in the media, that the APC National Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole “got top officials at the Presidency to approve the composition of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) Board when President Muhammadu Buhari was out of the country.”
In a statement issued in Calabar, Cross River State, by the President of Niger Delta Stakeholders, Chief Dimiebi Jackson, the group stated that “we do not wish to be dragged into the unfortunate turf battle between the Governor of Edo State and Comrade Oshiomhole, but as key stakeholders in the Niger Delta we urge the Governor to restrain from dragging NDDC Board into the war of words to sustain his narratives of imposition against the APC National Chairman.”
According to Chief Jackson, information already in the public domain confirms that President Muhammadu Buhari, on October 18, 2019, in a letter he personally signed, and addressed to the Senate president, Dr. Ahmad Lawan, requested the Senate to confirm the appointments of a 16-member Board of the NDDC. “From available records, the letter was duly received at the National Assembly on October 22, 2019, and the Senate President duly read President Buhari’s letter at Senate plenary session on October 29, 2019, and subsequently confirmed 15 members of the Board who presented themselves for screening on November 5, 2019.”
With regard to the inclusive process that led to the formation of the NDDC Board, it has also been widely reported, and hardly refuted by any leader in the region before this attempt which the group considers unfortunate.
In other to set the records straight Chief Dimiebi Jackson restated the process that led to the formation of the NDDC Board, which was duly confirmed by the Senate on November 5, 2019.
“As has been widely reported in the media, The Senate-approved board whose members had been waiting to be inaugurated by the President, was constituted with inputs from Niger Delta leaders, including the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Adams Oshiomhole; the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege; Minister of State for Petroleum, Chief Timpre Sylva, and Niger Delta Minister, Senator Goodwill Akpabio and approved by the Presidency as being in accordance with the Act setting up the Commission, which prescribes the manner in which the board and management is to be constituted.”
Continuing, the President of NDS stated that “Senator Omo-Agege had been contacted by Presidency officials that President Buhari needed upright and competent people to run the affairs of the NDDC because he felt the interventionist Agency had not been properly run in the past, and which also informed President Buhari’s decision to order a forensic audit of the Commission.
Senator Omo-Agege therefore reached out to the leaders of the Niger Delta region – Comrade Oshiomhole, Senator Godswill Akpabio, Chief Timpre Sylva, and other leaders – who nominated the commission’s members and approved by the Presidency as being in accordance with the Act setting up the Commission, which prescribes the manner in which the board and management is to be constituted.
Chief Jackson further regretted that Governor Obaseki, in his disingenuous imagination also stretched his half-truths on the NDDC Board composition by stating that it consisted of Comrade Oshiomhole’s “cronies apparently in violation of the existing rules…he did not care whether the rules were followed, nor the integrity of the people being appointed.”
“We need to remind Governor Obaseki that the Senate-approved members of the NDDC Board were properly nominated and forwarded to the Senate by the President. By questioning the integrity of the NDDC Board members that President Buhari personally sent their nomination to the Senate President, Governor Obaseki is unwittingly calling to question the President’s decision-making process.”
It is against this background that President Buhari, in his December 19, 2019 press statement announcing that the new Board will be inaugurated after the completion of the forensic audit being supervised by the Interim Management Committee, did not state that the Senate-approved Board has been dissolved or will be re-constituted, but rather that it will be “recomposed and inaugurated after the forensic audit”, re-affirming President Buhari’s implicit confidence and faith in the NDDC Board and the inclusive process that led to its formation
Niger Delta Stakeholders therefore urges His Excellency, Governor Godwin Obaseki, to refrain from making unfounded comments that contradict the established facts on the process for the composition of the Senate-approved Board of the NDDC.