NDDC: How 1998 court order stopped FG from nominating non-indigenes

NOMINATION of no fewer than two candidates, whose names were recently forwarded to the National Assembly as Board members of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) appeared to have run into a hitch, following the discovery of a 1998 order of the Federal High Court which stopped the government from nominating persons from non-oil producing areas of the state as nominees.

Indigenes of Ilaje area of Ondo State and leaders of Abia State have  been protesting the nomination of indigenes of non-oil producing areas of the states to the Board of NDDC.

The Ilajes in Ondo State have rejected Mr Tokunbo Ajasin, while leaders of Abia State, including Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe and Honourable Uzoma Abonta have also rejected the nomination of Mr Donatus Enyinna for the state on account of their being non-indigenes of oil-producing areas of the states as contained in the NDDC Act.

President of the National Association of Ilaje (Gwama) Dynamic Patriots (NASIGDYP), Koseda Alfred Aganyebi, said in a statement that the provision of Section 2(1b) of the NDDC Act, 2000, which provides for the nomination of  “one person who shall be an indigene of an oil-producing area to represent each of the nine oil-producing states i.e. Abia, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross Rivers, Delta, Edo, Imo, Ondo and Rivers,” is a carryover  from OMPADEC Act, adding that the order of the Federal High Court in 1998 was not vacated.

Justice Abdul Kafarati had, in a ruling restrained the Federal Government or its agencies from appointing a non-indegene of oil-producing area as representative of the state in the OMPADEC Board.

The court also restrained the nominee from parading himself as representative of the state on the Board of the interventionist agency.

The court had ordered: “That the third defendants, her servants, agents and or privies are restrained from recognising, patronising, or however, allowing the fourth defendant to act as representative of Ondo State in the commission’s Board, take or participate in the taking of any decision affecting the interest of oil-producing communities of Ondo State, including the allocation, disbursement, determination and execution of projects or however, deal with the said fourth defendant in all matters affecting the interest of the oil-producing communities.”

The ruling, given by Justice Abdul Kafarati of the Federal High Court sitting in Akure, Ondo State, was in respect of the nomination of one Mr Adeyinka Gbegudu as representative of Ondo State on the Board of OMPADEC by the regime of General Abdulsalami Abubakar in 1998.

Some indigenes of oil-producing areas of Ondo State had taken the government to court, protesting the nomination of the state’s representative in OMPADEC on account of his not being a representative of oil-producing area of Ondo State.