The Senate has confirmed Chief Bernard Okumagba as a member of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC). Others confirmed along with him are Patrick Aisowierien and Kyrian Chidiebere Uchegbu and Kyrian Chidiebere Uchegbu.
Their Senate confirmation was sequel to the adoption of the report of the Committee on Niger Delta, presented by Senator Amos Bulus (APC, Gombe State), after President Muhammadu Buhari had earlier in May, written to the Senate to screen and confirm the three nominees on the board of the NDDC.
President Buhari stated in his letter that he wrote in accordance with the provisions of Section 2(2)A of the NDDC Act, Cap N 86, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004, saying:
“I am pleased to present for confirmation by the Senate, the appointment of under- listed three( 3) nominees as members, representing Delta, Edo and Imo States in the Board of Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC”
The names are Bernard Oboatarhieyeren Okumagba member, Delta State; Patrick Aisowieren, Member, Edo State and Kyrian Chidiebere Uchegbu, Member, Imo State.
Former Deputy Governor of Edo State, Dr. Pius Odubu, who had been nominated as State Representative, Edo State, South-South, did not however appear for the screening which necessitated the nomination of a new person.
The screening process began Tuesday, following an Executive Communication by the Senate Leader, Senator Ibrahim Gobir, APC, Sokoto East for the Confirmation of the nomination of three persons for appointment as members of the Governing Board of NDDC that the Senate do consider he request of Mr. President on the confirmation of the nomination of the following persons for appointment as Members of the Governing Board of Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC in accordance with the provision of Section 2( 2)(a) of the NDDC ( Establishment) Act, Cap N86, LFN, 2004.
Thereafter, the President of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan referred the names to the Senator Amos Bulus, APC, Gombe South led Senate Committee on Niger Delta Affairs to report back in one week for further legislative action.
The confirmation today concluded the legislative screening of members for the NDDC Governing Board.
Chief Okumagba, former Delta State Commissioner for Finance, as well as Commissioner for Budget and Economic planning, will represent Delta State on the Governing Board of NDDC, while the two other board members, Patrick Aisowieren will represent Edo State and Kyrian Chidiebere Uchegbu will represent Imo state respectively.
It could be recalled that in November 2019 the Senate confirmed 15 nominees for the board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
The confirmed nominees included the Chairman, Pius Odubu (Edo); Managing Director, Bernard Okumagba (Delta); Executive Director Projects, Otobong Ndem (Akwa Ibom); Executive Director Finance and Admin, Maxwell Okoh (Bayelsa); Delta State representative, Jones Erue; Victor Ekhatar (Edo) and Nwogu Nwogu (Abia).
Others were Theodore Allison (Bayelsa); Victor Antai (Akwa Ibom); Maurice Effiwatt (Cross River); Olugbenga Elema Ondo); Uchegbu Kyrian (Imo); Northwest Rep, Aisha Muhammed (Kano); Northeast Rep, Ardo Zubairu (Adamawa) and Southwest Rep, Badmus Mutalib (Lagos).
The nominees were however waiting to be sworn in by the President Muhammadu Buhari, when a combination of factors including disenchantment by some Niger Delta governors, as well as some top Senators from the Niger Delta, over some nominees, compelled President Buhari to write to the Senate, barely two months later, in January 2020, seeking the dissolution of the Board and the subsequent appointment of an interim Board to oversee the affairs of the Commission.
About three years after and two interim boards later, President Muhammadu Buhari in 2022, finally forwarded to the Senate for confirmation, the names of his Special Assistant on new Media, Lauretta Ifeanyi Onochie from Delta as Chairman of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, and fourteen other Nominees for the board.
According to President Buhari’s letter, Chief Samuel Ogbuku (Bayelsa, S/South), would serve as the Managing Director for a term of two years to complete the term of his predecessor in office, while Major General Charles Airhiavbere, rtd (Edo, S/South) would be the Executive Director, Finance and Charles Ogunmola (Ondo, South West), Executive Director Project.
Other members of the NDDC board as forwarded to the Senate are Former Deputy Governor of Edo State, Dr. Pius Odubu as State Representative, Edo State, South-South; Dimgba Erugba (State Representative, Abia, South-East); Dr. Emem Wilcos Wills, State Representative, Akwa Ibom, South-South; Elder Dimaro Denyabofa, State Representative, Bayelsa State, South-South; Hon. Orok Duke, State Representative, Cross River, South-South; Engineer Anthony Okanne, State Representative, Imo State, South-East and Hon. Gbenga Edema, State Representative, Ondo State, South – West.
The members also included, Elekwachi Dinkpa, State Representative, Rivers State, South-South; Alhaji Mohammed Kabir Abubakar, ( Zonal Representative, Nasarawa State, North-Central; Alhaji Sule Iko Sadeeq Sani Sami (Zonal Representative, Kebbi State, North-West; and Professor Tahir Mamman, SAN, (Zonal Representative, Adamawa State, North-East.
Also recall that soon after the list was read, the Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, APC, Delta Central however protested that there was no representation from Delta State in line with the act establishing the NDDC that each state of the NDDC must have a representative, just as he pleaded with the Executive to correct the anomaly.
Lawan however promised that he would ensure that the Act was adhered to as he promised to take it up and that due process would be followed by adhering strictly to the Act establishing the NDDC in order not to delay the screening.
The three names whose nomination have now been confirmed by the Senate, would complete the names as members of their respective states for the NDDC Governing Board.
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