Olorogun Bernard Okumagba, New Managing Director of NDDC

By Onome Oghenetega

President Muhammadu Buhari has been urged to disregard calls to dissolve the recently composited board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), saying that the appointment is in order with the act establishing the interventionist agency.

The call was made by the Warri Indigenes Network (WIN), saying that the statement credited to Chief Rita-Lori Ogbebor on the new NDDC board was a complete misinterpretation and misrepresentation of provisions of the act.

A statement on Wednesday signed by the group’s chairman, Pere Tombra, and Secretary, Neye Omatsola, said the claims that new Managing Director designate, Olorogun Bernard Okumagba, is not from an oil producing community was false.

The statement citing relevant section of the NDDC, noted that the act is being misinterpreted to arm-twist President Buhari into doing the bidding of the some certain persons who are obviously not happy with the choice of Okumagba as MD.

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WIN quoting Section 12 (1) of the NDDC Act 2017 (as amended), it stated that Okumagba is duly qualified to be the Chief Executive of the Commission because the Section specifies that, “there shall be for the Commission a Managing Director and two Executive Directors who shall be indigenes of oil producing areas.”

The group said, “Mr Okumagba is a bonafide indigene of Warri South Local Government Area of the Delta South Senatorial District, which is an oil-producing area, and is duly qualified to be nominated for the position of Managing Director of the NDDC as provided for in the Act.

“What is important is for a nominee to come from an oil-producing area and Warri South Local Government Area is an oil producing area.

“It is mischievous for anyone to try to play up narrow interests, hiding behind spurious claims, which bode no good for the people of Warri and the Niger Delta region.”

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The group commended the high professional qualities of Mr Okumagba as an acclaimed technocrat and his avowed non-tribal disposition, which has seen his nomination, receive kudos from Niger Deltans around the world.

It added that the position as stated by Chief Rita-Lori Ogbebor smacks of ethnic chauvinism that has no place in the new Niger Delta that is unfolding.

It also condemned the usual tendency of indigenes of the region to raise petitions and condemn people appointed to work for the region, rather than network and engage them in finding common solutions to the developmental problems in the region.

“We express confidence in the capacity of new NDDC board to make a difference in the lives of the people of the region, given the array of experienced and committed people appointed by the President,” it added.

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