A former member of the House of Representatives and former minister for housing, Nduese Essien, has said that the appointments made by President Muhammadu Buhari into the board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) are in line with the extant law establishing the agency and should not cause any disagreement in the region.
Reacting to concerns raised by some pressure groups and stakeholders from the Niger Delta about the constitutionality of the appointments, Essien said in a they are in order, but urged the National Assembly to review the act which set up the commission.
Essien, who was part of the team that drafted the NDDC Act, said that the confusion, claims and counter claims of ownership of the key posts in the agency were either borne out of mischief or ignorance and were unnecessary since the right thing had been done by the government.
Essien also suggested that the supervision of the NDDC be taken away from the Office of the Secretary to the Government (OSGF) of the Federation to the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs.
“The continued retention of the NDDC in the OSGF, which is overburdened by various tasks, has resulted in inefficiency, maladministration and incompetence in the management of the NDDC over the years,” Essien said.
He said that under the law establishing the commission, the post of the chairman is to rotate among the nine-member states in alphabetical order starting with Abia, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River and now the turn of Delta State.
Said Essien: “The position of the Managing Director also falls on Delta State at the same time with that of the chairman. The positions of the Managing Director and those of the Executive Directors of Finance and Administration and Projects rotate among the major oil-producing states of Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Delta and Rivers states according to the quantum of oil produced.
“The rotation of the post of the Managing Director started with Delta, followed by Bayelsa, Rivers and Akwa Ibom State. It should now be the turn of Delta State to re-start the rotation among the major oil-producing states. But the point is that both the posts of the Managing Director and the Chairman have fallen simultaneously on Delta at this time.
“And, for the purpose of fairness and equity as well as to create checks and balances in the system, it would not be inappropriate to concentrate the two key positions simultaneously on the state. This explains why the chairmanship has been moved to the next state in alphabetical order, which is Edo while Delta keeps the Managing Director. Subsequently, Delta will still take its chairmanship position while the Managing Director moves to Bayelsa State.”