NDDC posts: Pressure mounts on senators over Abia, Ondo nominees •We ‘ll follow the law —Committee chairman

Dr Tokunbo Ajasin

Intense pressure is being mounted on members of the Senate Committee on Niger Delta over the impending of screening of nominees into the board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).

Sources close to the committee told the Nigerian Tribune in Abuja that the pressure is coming mainly from chieftains of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Abia and Ondo states who are worried that the

Committee might reject the nominees from the states on account of the volume of petitions already received.

It was gathered that no fewer than ten petitions have been received against each of the nominees, who are accused of not hailing from oil-producing areas of the respective states.

The Committee and some focal Senators were said to have been reached by a delegation of the APC who were said to have gone round to lobby for the nominees, a source said on Monday.

It was also gathered that a serving Minister has taken up the lobbying assignment by sending emissaries to the identified senators and asking them to support the presidential nominees.

The nomination of Mr Tokunbo Ajasin from Ondo State and Donatus  Enyinnah (Abia) had come under intense criticisms and attracted series of petitions as delegations from the two states claimed that the nominees are not indigenes of oil producing areas of the states as contained in the NDDC Act 2000.

The Chairman of the Senate Committee, Senator Sam Nwaboshi, who spoke in the National Assembly on Monday however insisted that the Committee would do its work according to the law.

Nwaboshi, who spoke to newsmen, said that his committee would undertake a  thoroughjob in line with NDDC Act.

According to him, the NDDC Act indicates that nominees from non oil-producing communities  should not represent the affected states, adding that the Committee would stick to that rule.

He said that the Committee has written to the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN) and  the Surveyor  General of the Federation to give report  on number of oil-producing  local government areas in the federation to enable the committee determine the indigenes of oil producing areas.

He said: “The Senate has referred the list to us, we are gathering information, for the fact that we have not started open screening doesn’t mean that we are not gathering information. We are looking at

the law establishing NDDC. What does the law say, for the Chairman it rotates, for Managing Director it also rotates while for the members, they must come from oil-producing communities within the states .

“We have written to the Surveyor  General of the Federation to give us report  on number of local government that produce oil in every state of the federation, when he gives us that information, we can now be able to look at the candidates from the various state whether they are from the oil producing communities, this is a matter of the law and not a discretional issue.”

, it is what the law has said, and this NDDC law  was made by the National Assembly  when they had to override the president on a particular matter, so we must be seen to implement the law.

“Immediately the surveyor general replies our request, then we can now look at it whether their local governments  fall within the ones that produce oil, before looking at their CVs and the 8th Senate is very thorough, we have been asked by the Senate President to be thorough and we  want to use this to set a very good example, we are going to be very thorough so that if I stand here to talk,  I will be able to defend my action before God and man.”