*Rage In Ondo Oil Communities Over Gov’s Recommendations

Barring last minute change in plans, President Muhammadu Buhari will forward the list of nominees for the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) board to the Senate for confirmation as soon as it reconvenes on September 20.

While Governor Akeredolu recommended Olugbenga Edema and Mrs Juliet Ilawole for managing director and Ondo State representative respectively, Adams Oshiomhole had recommended Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu just as Sylva put forward the name of his erstwhile chief of staff, Sam Ogbuku, for the same position.

However, the battle for the plum job took a dramatic turn in the last few days when the Presidency reportedly dumped the recommendations put forward by Minister of State for Petroleum, Timipre Sylva and Ondo State governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, in respect of the MD.

“Edo looks good for the position of the NDDC’s managing director,” a top Presidency source disclosed to our reporter.

This development followed a memo by the Attorney General, Abubakar Malami and approved by President Muhammadu Buhari, revealed that Delta State is expected to produce the chairman of the NDDC while Edo State will produce the managing director.

Also, either of Ondo State or Imo State will respectively produce the executive directors for finance and accounts and projects.

But there appears to be tension in the oil-bearing areas of Ondo State following Governor Akeredolu’s recommendations for the NDDC jobs.

The Ugbo United Front (UUF) has vowed to drag the governor and the Senate to court over what it described as “Akeredolu’s ill-advised step.”

Another indigene of Ondo State, Andrew Omomehin who is also from the non-oil producing Mahin Kingdom like Edema, is reportedly pulling the strings in the Presidency to clinch the position of managing director.

A statement by the National President of UUF, Dr. Simon Ebijimi, urged President Buhari to ignore Governor Akeredolu’s recommendations, saying those recommended were not from oil-producing areas.

“The so-called recommendation of Barrister Olugbenga Edema and Dr Mrs Juliet Ilawole by Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu stands logic on its head because the duo do not hail from the oil-producing areas as enunciated in the NDDC Act.

“In all ramifications, the move by the governor is ill-advised, whimsical and provocative to the extent that he has allowed himself to be misled to believe a proposed Act that remains unsigned and even without the concurrence of the Senate is reliable enough to be used as a foundation for this blatant injustice against the real and rightful oil producing Ugbo kingdom of Ilaje Local Government Area.

“It must be known that both Edema and Ilawole are from Mahin kingdom and not Ugbo kingdom where oil is produced. There is nowhere in the Mahin kingdom that produces oil and gas. Edema’s claim of his community, Ogogoro being oil-producing is an unpardonable lie. We call on the Presidency as well as security agencies to dig deep and unravel the truth about this lie being told to secure an undeserving appointment. We are aware that the House of Representatives-proposed amendment of Section 12(1) of the NDDC Act through Hon. Victor Kolade Akinjo died a natural death,” the statement said in part.

“Section 12 (1) of the NDDC Act states: There shall be for the Commission, a Managing Director, and two 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.”

“The House of Representatives had, however, attempted to amend the above section which deals with ‘oil-producing areas’ to ‘local government areas’, an effort that was not supported by the Senate not to talk of the president’s assent. Therefore, any reference to the stalled effort by the House of Representatives in the determination of the NDDC Executive Management membership is an illegality that will not stand the test of time.”

Nonetheless, the Presidency source who dismissed the recommendations as merely advisory disclosed that it was within the powers of the president to nominate.

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