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NDDC: Senate committee turns back Ondo, Abia nominees

•Senator declines nomination

THERE was a drama on Tuesday in the Senate as two nominees from Ondo and Abia states on the board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), who were to appear before the Senate committee, were turned back on the grounds that they were not indigenes of oil-producing areas of their states.

Also, another drama played out in the Red Chambers as a former Senator and the National Organising Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Osita Isunazo, declined his nomination as the representative of Imo State on the board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).

When the nominee from Abia, Donatus Enyinnah, appeared before the committee, he was simply asked whether he is an indigene of oil producing area of the state.

When he answered in affirmative, the chairman referred him to a document from Shell Petroleum Company and the office of the Surveyor General of the Federation, which both confirmed that the nominee was not from oil producing area.

The chairman asked the nominee to leave the screening venue.

Similar drama was played out when the Ondo nominee, Chief Tokunbo Ajasin, appeared before the Senate committee.

Senator Nwaboshi asked him whether he was from oil producing area and he said ‘No.’

The Senator told the Ondo State nominee: “I don’t want any crisis from Ondo State that is the more reason that l made the screening open for everybody to witness. I respect your father the late Pa Adekunle Ajasin, the leader of the Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN) but the power to appoint resides with the President, we can’t decline the nomination, we would recommend to the Senate who has the power to decline the appointment.”

He said that there were over 30 petitions against Ajasin, adding that the committee would make appropriate recommendations to the Senate.

The Committee, thereafter, asked Ajasin to leave the screening venue.

Earlier, Chairman of the Senate Committee, Senator Peter Nwaboshi, who told his colleagues of the decision by Isunazo to decline the nomination, told the Senators at the screening that the lawmaker had written the committee to decline the offer.

In the letter by Isunazo, the former Senator told the committee that he does not want crisis in the state and that he would not want to take up the appointment since he was not an indigene of oil producing area in the state.

The APC chieftain said that while he appreciated President Muhammadu Buhari’s nomination, he would not be taking up the nomination because it was against the NDDC Act.

There were, however, more drama as two other nominees, from Abia and Ondo states appeared before the committee.

Earlier, the Senate Committee had screened the former Senate Leader, Senator Victor Ndoma Egba, who is a nominee into the board of the NDDC.

The chairman of the committee had told the lawmakers during the exercise that the committee would not bend the rules.

He said that the committee had written to appropriate authorities to collect necessary data following the barrage of petitions against some nominees.

He said: “We have made the screening open; we don’t want to hide anything. We want Nigerians to see everything; some said we have been compromised, we have the backing of the leadership of the Senate not to bend the rules and we are not ready to bend the rules.”

Ndoma-Egba, who later spoke to newsmen after he was asked to take a bow and go, said that the NDDC Board, when constituted would take stock of all NDDC projects, systems and finances, with a view to cleaning the books.

He also said that his board would do the right things adding: “We promise a new narrative for the Niger Delta Region; the commission was set up for the Niger Delta Region and the commission must return to the regional body.

“We will take stock of our projects, systems, processes and finances and to know which projects are viable, we need to clean our books and start on a new slate. We will do things right when we get there.”