Bisi Longe Akure writes on the intense lobbying by the state APC leaders for the National leadership to zone the choice position of the Managing Director for the NDDC to the state as payback for their votes for the president- elect during the March 28 presidential elections
With the current board of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NNDC, expected to be officially dissolved in the first week of June, shortly after President-elect, Muhammadu Buhari takes over the mantle of leadership of the country on May 29, there are strong indications that some party leaders are scheming for their constituents to be given the top most positions in the Commission. Lobbying for who gets what positions in the new dispensation hot up. For Ondo State, the offices that are up for grabs in the coming days concern the board of the Niger Delta Development Commission [NDDC]. The positions are so lucrative that no one wants to be let out in this scheming.
The key positions that exist for Ondo State in the commission are: the Managing Director, Executive Director Project (EDP) and Executive Director Finance and Administration (EDFA) aside representatives from each member state on the board of the commission.
The leadership of All Progressives Congress [APC ] according to impeccable sources may have reached consensus that the position of the principal officers be shared among the three geopolitical zones that make up the member states accordingly.
A chieftain of the party who spoke under anonymity said the position of the MD has been zoned to Ondo State to represent the southwest geopolitical zone while Edo and Imo states have been mandated to nominate candidates for the position of EDP and EDFA of the commission to represent South-South and South East geopolitical zones.
The sources revealed that some states that have occupied any of the positions during the previous and current boards might not be considered for the jobs.
It was further gathered that the leadership of the APC have narrowed down their decision to favour Ondo which may likely be the state to produce the next Managing Director of the oilrich board while Delta State will tentatively produce the next Chairman of the board, since Ondo state has never been given the chance to produce such in the last fifteen  years of existence of the commission.
The sources said Ondo State was currently rated number five among the oil producing state that make up the commission and has never produced candidate for any of the top three management members of the governing board while the first four states that is: Akwa Ibom, Delta, Rivers and Bayelsa States have concurrently produced candidates for the aforementioned positions over the years.
“The appointment of the Managing Director and the two Executive Directors who are also members of the governing board of the NDDC as stated in Section 2 Paragraph I, G and H, seems to have raised dust on which of the states is to produce the next Managing Director of the Commission. Section 12 paragraph 1 of the NDDC Act 2000 stated that there shall be for the commission a Managing Director and two Executive Directors who shall be indigenes of the oil producing areas starting with the member states of the commission with the highest quantum of oil and the appointment shall rotate among member states in the order of their oil quantum”. The sources quoted.
Interestingly, Akwa-Ibom, Rivers, Delta and Bayelsa States who are often referred to as the “Big four” among the oil producing states, have repeatedly produced the Managing Director, EDP and EDFA of the commission while Ondo, Edo and others have not tasted any of the juicy positions since the inception of the commission 15 years ago.
Statistics made available showed that the first Managing Director of the Commission came from Delta State while Bayelsa and Akwa ibom produced the EDFA and EDP respectively.
During the second board of the commission, after the resignation of Hon. Emmanuel Aguariavwodo from Delta State, Timi Alaibe from Bayelsa State became the substantive Managing Director of the board having earlier served on the Board as EDFA while Delta produced the EDFA with the EDP position strongly occupied by Rivers State.
Moreover, in the third and fourth governing Board of the Commission, the statistics further revealed that Delta, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa and Rivers States in their usual manner reproduced the Managing Director, EDFA and EDP at the detriment of Ondo, Edo and other states.
APC spokesman in the state, Omooba Abayomi Adesanya said the state deserved the Managing Director’s position of the commission going by the rotational arrangement and the massive support APC enjoyed from the people of the state during the presidential election.
“If you look at the result of the last presidential election you will see that Ondo State was the only state among the oil producing states that voted massively for APC during the presidential election. I am not saying that other member states of the commission did not vote for APC. They did. And we quite appreciate that. But the fact remains that Ondo State has the highest vote among the member states during the presidential election. This fact must be considered in the scheme of things, particularly the appointment of principal officers of the commission”, Omooba Abayomi said.
Also speaking on the issue, the former secretary of Niger DeltaYouth Movement (NDYM) in Ondo State, Mr. Akinwumi Sowore, who also is one of the leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party [PDP] in the state, said the frequent appointment of principal officers of the commission from Rivers, Akwa-ibom, Delta and Bayelsa States by previous and current administration was an aberration and physical violation of the NDDC Act 2000.
He said the domineering tendencies of the commission by the four states, was a deliberate deprivation of Ondo State of its statutory rights on the Commission by the powers that be. Akinwumi who was the immediate past chairman of Eseodo local government specifically appealed to the President– elect Gen, Mohammadu Buhari to ensure that the laid down rotation policy among all member states is strictly adhered to in the appointment of principal officers of the commission.
“If all the first four states of the member states have repeatedly tasted these juicy positions, I think it is now the turn of Ondo State as number five state on the list to produce the incoming Managing Director of the Commission. We hope that the incoming president will address this imbalance and injustice accordingly. The sermon of justice, equity, fair play and protection of the right of the minority be preached in this process”. The former council chairman said. However, one of the cogent reasons why the party may consider Ondo as the likely state to produce the Managing Director of the commission is to enable APC as an opposition party in the state to source for enough resources to stabilize the party and fully prepare for next year governorship election in the state.
There are indications that governors of opposition parties under the coming regime may not have input in the appointment of principal officers and state representatives on the governing board of the commission when the time arises.