***Tells Tinubu to re-enact a new bill to exclude the three states from NDDC act
An Ijaw leader and politician from Delta State, Edwin Clark, has indicated that the inclusion of the States of Abia, Imo and Ondo in the 2000 Niger Delta Development (NDDC) Act was an aberration that must be corrected without further delay.
He therefore called for an ammendment to the NDDC act 2000 for total exclusion of the three non-Niger Delta states from the commission
The former national commissioner therefore urged President Bola Tinubu to re-enact a new bill for the Oil producing states of Delta, Bayelsa, Rivers, Edo and Akwa Ibom.
Clark spoke on Tuesday in an address to the media titled Request to President Bola Ahmad Tinubu amend Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) law to remove Non-Niger Delta oil producing States of Abia, Imo and Ondo fron the NDDC act 2000
His grouse is that the three minority oil producing states are now agitating for equal distribution of appointment and infrastructural development to the extent that there are more staff from the three non Niger Delta state combined currently by the commission
“I have taken it as my obligation to inform the Government and people of Nigeria the real situation leading to the establishment of NDDC; but regrettably and sorrowfully today, I am the oldest stakeholder of the (NDDC) in the entire Niger Delta under our group the South-South Peoples Conference (SSOPEC).
He quoted an extract from the communiqué of one of the earliest meeting of their organisation, SSOPEC held at Petroleum Training Institute (PTI) Effurun, Warri Delta State which was ably attended by prominent personalities and Governors on 9th October 1999.;
“The meeting which was held to hear the report of the 13 man SSOPEC Delegation to Abuja in August to meet with the then Mr President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo and members of the National Assembly concerning amendments to the presidential Bill on the establishment of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC); and to propose further amendments necessary to protect the interest of the Niger Delta people was presided over by the SSOPEC Chairman, HRM Pere (Dr) H.J.R. Dappa-Biriye and supported by the Deputy Chairman of SSOPEC, Chief E.K Clark.
“The meeting also registered the attendance of His Excellency Obong Victor Attah, the then Executive Governor of Akwa-Ibom State, Government Representatives of the South-South States, Traditional Rulers and Chiefs, Opinion Leaders, women groups, youth and Non-Governmental Organisation”.
Explaining further how the NDDC Bill included Imo State and Abia State from the South-East and Ondo State from South-West Nigeria, he said,
“We fully participated when President Obasanjo the initiator of the Bill invited us; HRM (Dr) H.J.R. Dappa-Biriye (OON,JP), my humble self and Sen. Fred Brume as leaders and we went with some other leaders of the South-South Peoples Conference for dinner at Aso Rock, on the 22nd August 2000, and during that interaction with Mr President, we went through the drafted Bill of NDDC which he said he will later submit to the Attorney General of the Federation for necessary action.
According to him, ex-president Obasanjo had informed them that Northerners were opposed to the establishment of NDDC, instead they also demanded Shiroro Dam Commission.
“President Obasanjo advised that we should accept the three Non-Niger Delta Oil producing States of Abia, Imo and Ondo State in order to have their added votes of the South-East and South-West Legislators for the Bill to succeed.
“I also asked him if there is oil in Sokoto and that will Sokoto be part of the Niger Delta? And we moved on”.
“Thereafter, we met the Representatives of the three (3) States at the National Assembly and they were very happy. We discussed the strategy that will contribute to the passing of the NDDC Bill and we did the lobbying together.
“Some vicious and unpatriotic Nigerians saw the establishment of the NDDC as a denial or deprivation of the Nigerians from enjoying the wealth that accrues from the oil resources from the Niger Delta.
“It is noted that during the National Conference of 2014, we recommended the setting up of the North East Development Commission to rebuild the war devastated areas of North-East as it was done in Germany and the rest of Europe called the Marshall Plan after the second world war of 1939-1945.
“After the agreement with the members of the National Assembly from the three (3) Southern States, the joint committee went round to lobby National Assembly Members including the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the President of the Senate and Chairman of Appropriation Committee when President Obasanjo refused to sign his own Executive Bill which he presented to the National Assembly.
“The National Assembly used their constitutional power and after thirty (30) days, they signed the Bill into law.’
According to him the NDDC Establishment Act 2000 signed by the then Senate President Chuba Okadigbo outlined the functions of the Nine States and who should be the Executive Management.
“One should bear in mind that the addition of Ondo, Imo and Abia was a political aberration. However, Cross Rivers State was in the NDDC Act, then Bakassi was removed to Cameroon and Littoral Oil dispensation removed Wells in the High Seas.
“The final blow came with Akwa-Ibom State winning the ownership of the Oil wells on the Land in the Supreme Court. This has resulted in Cross Rivers being a zero contributor to the NDDC. I will like to refer to the relevant sections of the Act in my write up; Part I Section 4 of the NDDC Act states ‘The office of the Chairman shall rotate amongst the member states of the Commission in the following alphabetical order; Abia State, Akwa-Ibom State, Bayelsa State, Cross-River State, Delta State, Edo State, Imo State, Ondo State and Rivers State’
“Part II Section 7 Sub-Section 2 ‘in exercising its functions and powers under this section, the Commission shall have regard to the varied and specific contributions of each member state of the commission’.
“Part IV Section 12 Sub-Section 1 ‘there shall be for the commission, a managing director, and the Executive Directors who shall be indigenes of oil producing areas starting with the member states of the Commission with the highest production quantum of oil and shall rotate amongst member states in the order of production’.
“It is true that the law provided for the rotation of the Executive positions among the states based on the quantity of production but did not mention the sequence of rotation among the states. “But the federal government decided that these Executive positions only rotate among the four majorities of oil producing states i.e. Delta, Akwa-Ibom, Bayelsa and Rivers States based on equity, fair-play and justice because it will be unreasonable and chaotic to extend it to the minority oil producing states including Abia, Cross-River, Edo, Imo and Ondo.
“For instance, whereby, Imo is producing 1.02% of the total oil production by the nine states.”
Xplaining further he said under the rotation, the Chairmanship in accordance with the Act started with Abia State where Chief Onyema Ogochukwu became the pioneer chairman.
“Thereafter, he was replaced by a representative from Akwa-Ibom State in person of Amb. Sam Edem. Bayelsa State took over from Akwa-Ibom State when Air Commodore Larry Koiyan was appointed. “Cross-River took over after Bayelsa State and Sen. Bassey Ewa Henshaw was appointed and he did not finish his term when he was removed by the succeeding Federal Government and was replaced by Sen. Victor Ndoma-Egba.
“After Cross River state, it will now the turn of Delta state, but what happened? Adams Oshiomhole recommended Pius Odubu, his former Deputy Governor when it was not yet the turn of Edo state to produce the Commission’s Chairman against the law established the Commission.
Explaining further he said,later there were accusations and counter-accusations between the Interim Management Committee and the National Assembly where some of them were callously insulted that we the leaders of the Niger Delta looted NDDC treasury by award of contracts which were paid for, and never completed.
“We the leaders and stakeholders of NDDC vowed at the time that we will no longer allow the corruption and the mess that characterized the Commission.
“The Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) under my leadership set up a committee to secretly and discreetly investigate the happenings in the NDDC.
“Incidentally, the NDDC now reports to the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs instead of the Presidency via the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, but the transfer of the NDDC to the Ministry of Niger Delta has not been legalized.
He accused the politicians from the Niger Delta including Sen. Adams Oshiomhole, Sen. Ovie Omo-Agege, Rt. Hon Rotimi Amaechi and Chief Timipre Sylva of Appropriation of the Board positions amongst themselves.
He said however, that later the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs now Senate President, Sen. Godswill Akpabio intervened and set up an interim committee and another set of illegal sole administrators, who held that position alone and single handedly operated the budget of the Commission amounting to billions of Naira for a period of about two years.
“Again, a new board was put up by the same politicians, appointing the Managing Director from Bayelsa State and the Executive Director for Finance from Edo State, Maj. Gen Charles Arhiavbere and Executive Director for Project from Owo in Ondo State in the person of Charles Ogunmola and Chairmanship now reverted to Delta State with the appointment of Mrs. Lauretta Onochie and also created a position of Executive Director for Cooperate Services even though not provided for in the NDDC Act and appointed Ifedayo Adegunde from Ondo State.
“The President Tinubu’s Government at last decided to correct the position and a new Board has now been set up in accordance with the NDDC Act.
“I repeat, by convention and understanding, the Federal Government has conveniently restricted the management position to the four (4) major oil producing states i.e. Delta State, Akwa-Ibom State, Bayelsa State and Rivers State.
“The crisis has not died down because these three (3) non-Niger Delta States of Abia, Imo and Ondo are insisting that they must occupy the post of Managing Director and the two (2) Executive Director for finance and Executive Director for Project.
His grouse is that Imo State oil producing community in a publication in a national daily had asked a court to stop the inauguration of Board members.
PANDEF rejoices with King Diete-Spiff, Tompolo, over honorary awards
The National Leadership of Pan Niger Delta Forum,(PANDEF), has congratulated the duo of His Majesty, King Dr. Alfred Papapreye Diete-Spiff, Seriyai II, Amanyanabo of Twon-Brass Kingdom, pioneer Military Governor of Old Rivers State; and the dynamic and prolific mobilizer of men and resources; High Chief Dr. Government Oweizide Ekpemupolo (aka Tompolo), on the conferment of Honorary Doctorate Degrees on them by the Nigeria Maritime University, Okerenkoko, Delta State.
The National Publicity Secretary of the Forum, Dr. Ken Robinon in a statement issued in Abuja on Wednesday, indicated that Diete-Spiff and Tompolo received the awards during the first convocation ceremony of the premier maritime university in Nigeria last Saturday.
The explained that the conferment of the Doctor of Education (Honoris Causa) on High Chief Dr. Government Ekemupolo by the University is most appropriate and well-deserved, given his extraordinary foresight, vision, and contributions to educational development in his Delta State.
According to him, Tompolo established Mienka Dive, a model diving institute, which helped to midwife the take-off of the Nigeria Maritime University, as well as his peace-building efforts in the Niger Delta region.
“His various efforts in creating value and contributing to the sustenance of peace in the Niger Delta, and the development of the national economy, particularly through Tantita Security Services Nigeria Limited, deserve commendations.
“PANDEF is likewise delighted at the installation of His Majesty, King Dr. Alfred Papapreye Diete-Spiff, the pioneer Co-Chairman of the PANDEF Steering Committee, and current Co-Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the flagship regional body, as Chancellor of the Nigeria Maritime University (NMU), and his admittance into the degree of Doctor of Letters (D.Litt) Honoris Causa.
“PANDEF commends the Management and Staff of the Nigeria Maritime University for the honour bestowed on these great men as well as the impressive running of the university.”
He indicated that the reopening of the university for academic activities at the Nigeria Maritime University was one of the items in the “16-Point Demand” presented to the federal government on 1st November 2016 by PANDEF, It is, thus, gratifying that the University is alive and well.
“”We equally use this opportunity to thank the Visitor to the University, the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, Federal Republic of Nigeria, His Excellency, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, GCFR, for the federal government’s continued support to the university.
Once again, PANDEF extends hearty felicitations to His Majesty, King Dr. Alfred Diete-Spiff, and our dear brother and son, High Chief Dr. Government Ekemupolo on the well-deserved conferment of Honorary Doctorate Degrees of Doctor of Letters (D. Litt), and Doctor of Education (D.Ed), respectively.”
Bayelsa guber: PANDEF tells Timipre Sylva to emulate former President Jonathan
The National leadership of the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), has urged Chief Timipre Sylva of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and all the other governorship candidates in the Bayelsa gubernatorial election to emulate former President Goodluck Jonathan
Former President Jonathan a noble son of Bayelsa State and the Niger Delta had set an example in reaching out to his opponent Former President Muhammadu Buhari with a message of congratulations even before the results of the 2015 Presidential election was officially declared.
A statement by the National Chairman Pan Niger Delta Forum, (PANDEF) Senator Emmanuel Ibok Essien said, following the declaration of incumbent governor Douye Diri of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as the winner of Saturday’s governorship election in Bayelsa State, by the Independent National Electoral Commission Sylva and other opponents should congratulate Governor Diri who has been returned winner of the November 11 Governorship election, in the overall interest of Bayelsa State.
“PANDEF, accordingly, congratulates His Excellency, Governor Douye Diri on his well-deserved re-election for a 2nd Term and urges him to be magnanimous in victory while calling on all political leaders in Bayelsa State to work together by placing the peace and stability of the state above all other considerations.
“PANDEF further commends the people of Bayelsa State for the relatively peaceful governorship election, which was devoid of violence in most places.
“We are using this opportunity to also commend the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), and the security agencies for the orderly manner in which they conducted the off-season election in Bayelsa State. It should be noted that Bayelsa State is critical to the stability of the Niger Delta region, and the national economy in general. Hence, the peaceful electoral outcome is quite pleasing to all.
“We must also commend the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, GCFR, for his stately stance of non-interference in the electoral process.
“PANDEF calls on the security agencies to investigate the circumstances surrounding the reported unfortunate incident of death in Brass local government area of the state as well as other infractions committed during the election.”
INEC Declares Gov Diri winner of Bayelsa guber polls
The Independent National Electoral Commission on Monday declared Governor Douye Diri Winner of the keenly contested guber polls in Bayelsa State
According to the State Returning Officer, Prof. Faruq Kuta, Diri, having polled the highest number of votes and met the conditions specified in the Electoral Act, was declared winner of the election.
Diri, candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), was declared as the duly elected governor of the state after polling a total of 175, 196 to defeat his closest rival and former minister of Petroleum Resources and candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief Timipre Sylva, of the All progressives Congress (APC), who garnered 110, 108 votes.
Total number of votes cast was 291, 212; voided votes was 3, 668, while valid votes were 287, 534.
The governor defeated Sylva in six out of the eight local councils- Kolokuma/Opokuma, Ogbia, Yenagoa, Sagbama, Ekeremor and Southern Ijaw,- while Sylva won in Nembe and Brass, with Labour Party’s (LP) candidate, Udengs Eradiri, winning none.
A breakdown of the results show Kolokuma/Opokuma: APC- 5,349; PDP-18,465; Ogbia: APC-16,319, PDP-18,435; Yenagoa: APC-14,534, PDP- 37,777; Sagbama: APC- 6,608, PDP- 35504; Ekeremor: APC- 8,445, PDP- 23,172; Nembe: APC 22,249’ PDP- 4,556; Brass: APC- 18, 431, PDP- 12, 602; Southern Ijaw: APC- 18,174, PDP- 24, 685.
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