An Interest group from Ilaje Local Government Area of Ondo State, Ilaje National Alliance Movement (INAMO), has raised an alarm that some political and business elites from the Local Government are negotiating with some political and business men from Imo State to frustrate the confirmation of Mr. Charles Ogunmola as Executive Director (ED), Projects, Niger/Delta Development Commission (NDDC) in the Senate.
The group said the nomination of Ogunmola, an indigene of Ipele, Owo Local Government Area of Ondo State as ED project for the first time since the establishment of NDDC 22 years ago, did not breach any section of the NDDC Act because the Agency was not established to serve the interest of Ilaje Local Government where oil domiciles alone, but the entire Ondo State.
Speaking at a press briefing on Monday, the Chairman of the INAMO, Mr. Alex Omotehinse, alleged that those against the nomination of Mr. Ogunmola from Ilaje have also flooded the Senate with petitions against Mr. Gbenga Edema, the Commissioner nominee of Ondo State on the Board of NDDC because there’s no oil in his town in Mahin Kingdom within the same Ilaje Local Government.
Urging the senate not to surrender to the blackmail against Ogunmola, INAMO said those who are writing petitions to the senate against Ogunmola should be held responsible by the people of Ondo State if Imo State succeed in hijacking the ED Project from the state.
“We the undersigned, belonging to the above-named organization, representing the progressive and patriotic sons and daughters of Ilaje Nation Worldwide, write to intimate the Nigerian Senate and all men and women of good conscience within and outside the shores of Nigeria of the surreptitious moves by some disgruntled elements being sponsored by opposition parties, monopolistic businessmen and enemies of progress to deny Ondo State the nomination of Mr Charles Ogunmola for the position of Executive Director (Projects) on the Board of Niger/Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
“These characters have already flooded the Presidency and Nigerian Senate with a trailer-load of petitions to scuttle the confirmation of Mr Ogunmola as the ED project. These individuals, some of whom once represented Ondo State on the Board of NDDC and brought no meaningful infrastructural legacy to Ilaje, are now insisting that Ogunmola must be stopped by all means necessary. The most regressive move by these political charlatans is the surreptitious agenda to trade the ED Project slot of Ondo State to their business partners from Imo State.
“Well, we are grateful to President Muhammadu Buhari for nominating this worthy son of Ondo State in accordance with the NDDC Act to serve as ED (Projects). The NDDC Act which we have carefully and objectively examined was enacted to serve as an interventionist agency for Niger/Delta States and not the towns and villages where oil is explored.
“We, however, by this medium, want to inform the senate that it should not allow itself to be blackmailed into rejecting the nomination of Mr Charles Ogunmola on the false and bogus premise that he’s not from an oil-producing community in the state. “12.— (1) of the NDDC Act says “There shall be for the Commission, a Managing Director (applicable to the Eds), who Shall— (a) be an indigene of one of the member States of the Commission.”
“The foregoing is a retrogressive narrative being pursued by some enemies of the state who do not want Ondo State to enjoy the benefits of having her son as an Executive Director for the first time since the inception of the NDDC 22 years ago. These folks do not mind selling their heritage just to satisfy the cravings of their parochial and evil desire to the detriment of the people of Ondo-State. Out of hatred for where Ogunmola hails from in Ondo State, we are now being told that these opposition figures flooding Abuja with petitions against Ogunmola have already concluded that other states can take the position of ED Project if an Ilaje indigene won’t be given the position. As a matter of emphasis, these politicians from Ilaje are already negotiating with Imo State Government on how to trade to her, the ED Project given to Ondo State.
“It is worth mentioning that the Senate once screened and confirmed the nomination of His Excellency, Mr Nsima Ekere as the Managing Director of the NDDC. From available records, Mr Ekere, an Indigene of Ikot Oboroenyin, Edemaya, Ikot Abasi Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State, is not from an oil-producing community in Akwa Ibom yet virtually every who-is-who in the state rallied around him during his nomination and eventual confirmation by this August house, after all, the Commissioner representing the state on the board is from an oil producing community.
“We reaffirm that there is no way the nomination of Ogunmola will short-change the people of the oil communities or Ilaje Local Government where oil is domiciled in Ondo State because one of them, Mr Gbenga Edema, is already being nominated as a commissioner to represent them on the board of the commission.
“Even as we speak, we are aware that some disgruntled elements within Ilaje are also making clandestine moves to block the nomination of Edema on the same bogus sentiment that there’s no oil from his Mahin Kingdom within Ilaje Local Government Area.
“For us, we are guided by the verdict of history and posterity and therefore we will like to place it on record that we will never be a party to those who are bent on frustrating whatever that will bring inclusive development to the greater majority of our people.
“Regardless of whatever anyone wants to say, our position is that the oil in Ilaje belongs to Ondo-State just as the Cocoa in Idanre, the limestone in Ifon and Okeluse and the Bitumen in Irele belong to the people of Sunshine State.
“Therefore, in doing so, we encourage the Senate to ensure that the nomination of Mr Ogunmola is confirmed so that the prebendal forces of darkness and members of opposition parties hiding under the divisive guise of ethnic jingoism will not have their way especially now that all leaders of conscience are pushing for more ethnic integration as a panacea for bringing peace and stability to the country. We appeal to the senate to ensure that this position is not taken to another state and Mr Charles Ogunmola is confirmed.
“We hereby want to let the whole world know that if God forbid, the nomination of Ogunmola is scuttled and Ondo-State loses the position of the ED project to another state, the Elites from Ilaje should be held responsible.”