NDDC Board: You Lied, Group Tell Bayelsa Governor, Dickson

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Anti corruption and transparency group, Vanguard for Transparent Leadership and Democracy, (VATLAD), has described as tissue of lies, the claims by governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa state that the announcement of nominees for the Board of Niger Delta Development Commission, (NDDC), ignited widespread resentment and demonstrations across the nine oil-producing states.

Reacting to recent protest by governors of the oil producing states of the Niger Delta Region said to have been sponsored and hosted by Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State following the NDDC board announcement, the group in a statement signed by its National President, Emmanuel Igbini, noted that claims by Dickson were “very far from the truth”.

“We are compelled to respond to the widely reported protest by few governors of oil producing States of the Niger Delta Region, a protest which was obviously organised, sponsored, hosted and led by Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State, and to state unequivocally that the claim by Governor Dickson that the announcement of nominees for the Board of NDDC “ignited widespread resentment and demonstrations across the nine oil-producing states” is very far from the truth.

“The truth supported by verifiable facts on ground across the nine oil producing states particularly in the core oil-rich Niger Delta states show that there is no such opposition, protest, resentment or demonstrations except the one by a few sponsored youths who made brief peaceful protest on the street of Yenagoa for media attention. This protest was obviously sponsored and supported by Governor Dickson.

“Rather than condemning and trying to instigate the people of Niger Delta Region against President Buhari over the new nominees for Chairman and MD for the NDDC, Governor Dickson should eschew politics and to publicly display gratitude to the President for appointing such two very level headed, peaceful, non-violent and non-desperate politicians, Pius Odubu, former deputy governor of Edo state and Mr. Bernard Okumgba, former Commissioner for Finance, Delta State.

“Very cool headed, humble, well trained professional and not known to be interested in any elective office, as Chairman and Managing Director respectively. It is on record that in the past, politicians who are very desperate to use the powers and huge funds of the NDDC to pursue their governorship and other political ambitions were often appointed into the Board which led to the gross failure of the Commission.

“It is also not true that Presidents of Nigeria must first consult with the governors of the Niger Delta States before appointments are made into the Board of NDDC. If any President of Nigeria does so, it is not a right of the governors but only amounts to mere courtesy extended to them by such President.

“For avoidance of doubt, section 2(2) of the NNDC Act 2000, as amended, states that: “the Chairman and other members of the Board shall be appointed by the President, Commander-in-Chief of the Anned Forces, subject to the confirmation of the Senate, in consultation with the House of Representatives.

“While section 12 of the Act states that: “There shall be for the Commission, a Managing Director, and two Executive Directors who shall be indigenes of oil producing local government areas, starting with the member States of the commission with the highest production quantum of oil and shall rotate amongst member States in order of production”. Where then is the mention of governors to be consulted?

“Is Governor Dickson sincerely wishing that President Buhari appoints a Bayelsan who is expected to be a loyal and committed APC member and leading politician with vested interest in the forthcoming governorship election in Bayelsa State? Is governor Dickson expecting President Buhari to appoint a committed PDP member and leading politician from Bayelsa State with ambition to become governor in November 2019?

“If any of these is what Governor Dickson wants, then he should be very happy to support Chief Timi Alaibe a former three times Managing Director and Executive Director of Finance/Administration of NDDC. How else do we reconcile the fact that only in January when President Buhari appointed a Bayelsan (Prof. Nelson Brambaifa) as acting MD/CEO of NDDC, governor Dickson praised President Buhari to high heavens?

“What is clearly not in doubt is the fact that governor Dickson is only playing politics by trying to create the impression in the minds of the good people of Bayelsa State that he stands for their interest so as to win their supports and votes for his preferred Aspirant/Candidate for the governorship of Bayelsa State come November 2019.”, the group stated.

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