The members of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) Board recently appointed by President Bola Tinubu resumed duties without inauguration in disobedience to the President’s orders, SaharaReporters has learnt.
SaharaReporters on Saturday exclusively reported that the board members resumed duties in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, without any official inauguration, and had already started holding meetings.
SaharaReporters gathered that the board members led by Samuel Ogbuku (Managing Director/CEO –Bayelsa State), Boma Iyaye (Executive Director; Finance and Admin. –Rivers), Victor Antai (Executive Director, Projects – Akwa-Ibom), and Ifedayo Abegunde (Executive Director; Corporate Services – Ondo) held a meeting last Tuesday with the NDDC workers and had fixed another one for this week despite not being officially inaugurated yet by the government.
Sources told SaharaReporters on Tuesday that the board members resumed duties despite an order by the President that the board’s inauguration should be put on hold.
“The illegitimate board first approached the SGF (Secretary to the Government of the Federation – George Akume), for the inauguration but he sought the President’s opinion which was negative. The President ordered that the matter should be put on hold.
“But SaharaReporters exposed them that notwithstanding the fact that they were yet to be inaugurated, they resumed work,” one of the sources said.
Earlier today (Tuesday), SaharaReporters reported that the board would be inaugurated on Thursday, November 16, 2023, as revealed by a letter obtained by the newspaper.
“The letter is proof of their desperation as they consider that commission as a useful tool,” another source said.
“After SaharaReporters reported that they’ve resumed work without being sworn in, they now scheduled an inauguration. What happened during their illegal resumption of duties?” the source asked.
The letter exclusively obtained by SaharaReporters on Tuesday with reference number MNDA/PRS/502/S.I/I/T/74, was signed by Unanaowo P. Abla, Director Planning, Research & Statistics for the Minister. The letter is titled: “Invitation To The Inauguration Of The Newly Constituted Board Of The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).”
The letter partly reads: “Following the recent confirmation and clearance of the newly constituted board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) by the Senate, the President has further granted approval for the inauguration of the Board to commence work immediately.
“Accordingly, you are hereby kindly requested to invite the Board members to attend the inauguration, which has been scheduled to hold as Thursday, November 16, 2023 at the Honourable Minister’s Conference Room, Ministry of Niger Delta Development, 11th Floor, Federal Secretariat Complex, Phase I, Abuja at 12 Noon Prompt.”
“While looking forward to receiving all Board Members at the occasion, please accept the esteemed regards of the Honourable Minister,” it also reads.
On August 29, President Tinubu approved the appointment of a new board and management of the NDDC.
The President had disbanded the former board and management of the NDDC led by Lauretta Onochie.
The new board and management of the NDDC would be led by Chiedu Ebie from Delta State as the chairman.
However, the Senate and the House of Representatives were at loggerheads over the screening and confirmation of the nominees.
The House of Representatives had halted the inauguration of the board and management of the commission screened and cleared by the Senate.
After the confirmation of the nominees, with Mr. Sam Ogboku as Managing Director and Mr. Chiedu Ibie as Chairman of the Board, the Senate transmitted a letter to the Presidency to inaugurate the appointees as a prelude to the resumption of their official engagements.
The appointees include Chiedu Ebie (Chairman –Delta), Samuel Ogbuku (Managing Director/CEO –Bayelsa), Boma Iyaye (Executive Director; Finance and Admin. –Rivers), Victor Antai (Executive Director, Projects – Akwa-Ibom), Ifedayo Abegunde (Executive Director; Corporate Services – Ondo), and Dimaro Denyanbofa (rtate representative –Bayelsa).
Others are Abasi Nkono (state representative – Akwa Ibom), Monday Igbuya (state representative –Delta), Tony Okocha (state representative – Rivers), Patrick Aisowieren (state representative – Edo), Kyrian Uchegbu (state representative –Imo), Victor Kolade Akinjo (state representative –Ondo), Dimgba Eruba (state representative –Abia) and Asu Oku Okang (state representative –Cross River) are others.
The three zonal members of the board are Nick Wende (zonal representative, North-Central), Namdas Abdulrazak (zonal representative, North-East, and Ibrahim Abdullahi Gobir (zonal representative, North-West).
SaharaReporters had exposed how the board members secretly resumed and went as far as sharing vehicles among themselves.
“The yet-to-be-inaugurated board which is made up of the Managing Director and three Executive Directors have assumed duties at the NDDC head office in Port Harcourt. They held a meeting on Tuesday with the staff and another to be held next Tuesday,” a top source revealed to SaharaReporters on Saturday.
“They have given themselves brand new official cars despite no inauguration,” the source had added.