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Crisis looms as Akpabio sets up interim board to midwife NDDC

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… C’ttee was set 5hours after Senate started processing list of nominees
…despite moves by Senate to confirm Buhari’s nominees on Nov 5th(Tuesday)
…interim C’ttee to ensure unhindered forensic audit
…C’ttee has no time frame

By Emman Ovuakporie

Crisis looms as Minister of the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio inaugurates an interim board to manage the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC barely five hours after the Senate had scheduled November 5 to confirm President Muhammad Buhari’s nominees for the Commission.

Buhari had sent a letter to the Senate on Tuesday to confirm his nominees to run the affairs of the commission after announcing their names barely a month ago.

But in what could be described as a sudden twist, on the same day, within a period of 5hours, the minister inaugurated a three-man Interim Management Committee to oversee the management of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).

According to Akpabio the Interim Management Committee would be in place to create the enabling environment for the upcoming forensic audit.

Akpabio while performing the inauguration said President Muhammadu Buhari had approved the appointment of Dr. Gbene Joi Nunieh as the new Acting Managing Director, while Dr. Cairo Ojougboh is the Acting Executive Director, Projects and Chief Ibanga Bassey Etang is the Acting Executive Director, Finance and Administration.

The issue at stake here is what will happen to the 16 nominees after they must have been confirmed by the Senate next week Tuesday as Akpabio’s interim Committee has no time frame to oversee the 18years forensic audit.

While inaugurating the committee on Tuesday in Abuja, Senator Akpabio said the Committee would be in place to create the necessary ambience for a hitch-free forensic exercise, adding that the Inauguration of the Board Members would be put on hold until the forensic exercise is completed.
The Minister said that the forensic audit as ordered by President Buhari would cover 18 years of the Commission’s operations from 2001- 2019.
According to Akpabio, there would be ten (10) slots of auditing firms, and each state would be assigned one slot while the NDDC Headquarter’s slot would be the coordinating slot.

What this will eventually translate into is that Buhari’s nominees will need to wait endlessly until Akpabio’s interim committee concludes its supervisory role over the forensic audit spanning 18years of the commission’s existence.

Speaking further, Akpabio, said the Acting Managing Director Dr. Mrs Enyia Akwagaga had been directed to hand over to the new Interim Committee on Wednesday 30th October, 2019 by 10am.

Recall that the Senate gave its committee on Niger Delta one week within which it must conclude the screening of the nominees and submit a report.

Dr. Puus Odubu was nominated the board chairman of the 16 nominees sent to the Senate on Tuesday.

Among the board members are Bernard Okumagba from Delta State, who will serve as Managing Director; and Otobong Ndem from Akwa Ibom, who was nominated as the Executive Director, Projects.

Others are Maxwell Okoh from Bayelsa State; Jones Erue from Delta State; Victor Ekhator from Edo State; Joy Nunieh from Rivers State; Nwogu Nwogu from Abia State; Theodore Allison from Bayelsa State.

Also on the list are Victor Antai from Akwa Ibom State; Maurice Effiwatt from Cross River State; Olugbenga Elema from Ondo State; Uchegbu Kyrian from Imo State; and Aisha Muhammed from Kano State representing North-West area on the board.

From Adamawa State, President Buhari appointed Ardo Zubairu to represent the North-East; Ambassador Abdullahi M. Bage was appointed from Nasarawa State to represent North Central zone.

The question that needs a massive answer now is whether the Buhari nominees will wait for Akoabio’s timeless interim committee before resuming or better still is it that the nominees are not competent enough to oversee the 18years forensic audit?

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