Marginalization in NDDC Executive Appointment: A case for Ondo State By Maxwell Adeyemi Adeleye
In the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson, a German social critic and an anti-corruption crusader, “All lives are interrelated, we are being caught up in an inescable network of mutuality and tied up in a single garment of one destiny; whatever affect one directly affect all indirectly.” To Waldo Emerson, an injustice somewhere is an injustice everywhere. An illegality anywhere is an illegality everywhere.
Danthi Allegieri, in his own emotion-provoked affirmation, averred that “the hottest places in hell are reserved for those who remain silence in the period of moral crisis.”
From the umpteenth time, I ‘ve watched and read in aghast, of the activities of the Niger/Delta Development Commission (NDDC). The commission, for reason best known to the federal government of Nigeria, has confined the people of Ondo State into perpetual slavery. It is without being immodest that i avow that the NDDC has been under the formidable reign of some powerful Esau and Jacob as the rights and properties of Ondo State are being satanically and idiotically shared.
Historically, NDDC was created in the year 2000 by an act of parliament and provision was made for a governing board as stated below:
That there shall be for the Commission, a Managing Director (MD), and two Executive Directors (EDs) who shall be indigenes of oil producing areas starting with the member states of the Commission with the highest producing quantum of oil and shall rotate amongst member states in the order of producing.”Section 12(1) NDDC ACT.
That “the office of the Chairman shall rotate amongst the member states of the Commission in the following alphabetical order:
(a) Abia state; (b) Akwa-Ibom State; (c) Bayelsa State (d) Cross River State; (e) Delta State (f) Edo State; (g) Imo State; (h) Ondo State; and (i) Rivers State .
Country men and women, It beats common sense that despite the simple, clear and unambiguous rendition of the conditions for the appointment of executive board members, only 4 states – Rivers, Bayelsa, Delta and Akwa Ibom out of the nine Niger Delta states have continued to occupy the executive positions of MD, ED Projects and ED Finance and Administration. These four Niger Delta states have now served 12 years of monopoly into the positions of MD, ED project and ED finance and Administration.
Without much ado and for the avoidance of doubt, below are the analyses of the autonomous dictation of Bayelsa, Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Delta in NDDC:
Rivers served as the ED Project from 2005-2009 and MD from 2009 – 2013, Bayelsa has served as the ED fiancé and administration from 2001-2005 and M.D from 2005-2009, Akwa Ibom served as the ED project from 2001-2005 and 2009-2013, Bayelsa served as the ED finance and administration from 2001-2005 and MD from 2005 – 2009,
Delta served as the MD from 2001- 2005 and ED Finance and Administration from 2005-2013(two sessions amounting to eight years).
Curiously, It’s rather disheartening that for the past 13 years, only the aforementioned four states have constituted themselves into a cabal at the expense of the other 5 Niger Delta states. I consider this as an abuse of the principle of federal character and the law that established NDDC. Let me state that conventionally, I do not believe in federal character; I cherish meritocracy, but it is without tribal nor ethic notion that i posit that Ondo State, my sister state, is blessed with abundance human resources that can manage the financial lacuna of NDDC with an amazing ease.
Pathetically, the height of injustice at NDDC however, was witnessed last week when President Goodluck Jonathan released a fresh list of appointees for the NDDC board. True to the norm, the chairman was given to the rightful owner, Cross River which is next logical state based on the the statutory provision of the act which states thus: “The office of the Chairman shall rotate amongst the member states of the Commission in the following alphabetical order: (a) Abia state; (b) Akwa-Ibom State; (c) Bayelsa State (d) Cross River State; (e) Delta State (f) Edo State; (g) Imo State; (h) Ondo State; and (i) Rivers State ”
However, In the case of the MD, and the two EDs, we have an unusually strange continuation of the marginalization of Ondo State. Mr. President gave the M.D to Akwa Ibom state, which has occupied ED Projects twice as stated above; he gave the ED Projects to Delta State which has never missed any executive appointment since 2001 and gave ED finance and Administration to Rivers State which had occupied ED Projects and M.D in the previous boards. This continues to negate the statutory provision of the act which states thus: There shall be for the Commission, a Managing Director, and two Executive Directors who shall be indigenes of oil producing areas starting with the member states of the Commission with the highest producing quantum of oil and shall rotate amongst member states in the order of producing.”Section 12(1) NDDC ACT.
Consequent upon the foregoing, it is obvious that the four states have vowed to maintain their hold on the three valuable executive positions despite that it is clearly stated that the positions shall be rotated amongst the nine member states.
It is curious why the five marginalized states have maintained a criminal silence over this matter for 13 years with four sessions already observed. If the current list sent to the senate for approval scales through, then, it would have been 17 years that Edo, Ondo, Abia, Imo and Cross-Rivers States have been deprived of their constitutional rights.
It is far more suspicious as well why senators and house of Representatives members from these disadvantaged, marginalized, cheated and caged states have continued to keep quiet over such an important issue and instead have constantly joined other senators to approve these lists in time past without raising any questions. What a shame!
I am sure in nearest future, our children would ask that Daddy, Mummy, uncle: when this injustice was being perpetrated, what did you do? Are the National Assembly members from Ondo State jinxed? Are the Reps members from Ondo State cursed? Where are the trio of Senators Professor Ajayi Borofice, Boluwaji Kunlere and Ayo Akinyelure representing Ondo State in the Senate? What’s Governor Olusegun Mimiko of Ondo State doing to curtail the irresponsible marginalization of his state despite his seemingly closeness to the Jonathan led federal government? I assert without being immodest that Posterity will judge the present movers and shakers of Ondo State if they allow this injustice go unchallenged.
Lastly, I think the time has come for the four states that have unduly enjoyed what rightfully belongs to nine states to step aside and allow the other five states enjoy these positions in the spirit of fairness, equity and justice. It is simply, clearly and unambiguously stated that member states are to rotate these positions. In the case of chairman, this is religiously observed. Why should it be different for the other three critically important executive positions? Let there be equity, justice and fairness!
Maxwell Adeyemi Adeleye, a public affairs commentator, writes from Magodo, Lagos.
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