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Clark to Buhari: Reverse lopsided appointments in NNPC

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Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari addresses a Franco-Nigerian business forum at French employer association Medef’s headquarters in Paris on September 15, 2015. PHOTO: ERIC PIERMONT/AFP/Getty Images

ELDER statesman and chairman of the Pan-Niger Delta Forum, (PANDEF) has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to reverse recent appointments and redeployments made at the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) which have been considered lopsided in some quarters.

Speaking at a press conference in Abuja on Wednesday, he argued that the reversal was a necessary ingredient for the sustenance of peace in the country.

He observed that the appointments and redeployments were skewed in favour of a particular part of the country without regard for equity, fairness and justice to others, particularly the South-South, an area he said, hosts the nation’s crude oil.

Clark noted that the appointments and redeployments grossly negated the Local Content Act.

While ruling out violent confrontation with the federal government, Clark was of the view that lack of equity, fairness and justice has led to increased agitation and call for restructuring in the country.

He assured that the Niger Delta has moved beyond using violence to press home their demands.

Clark observed that a group of people around the president have constituted themselves into a cabal, depriving him of the opportunity to perform the way he should.

The former Federal Commissioner therefore urged Buhari to shake them off and see himself as president for the entire county.

He said: He added: “The list shows that the whole of the South has 19 positions out the 55 positions and the North, a non-oil producing zone, has 36 positions, which include the very senior positions.

“We challenge the NNPC or whoever has a list that ‘adequately’ distributes these positions to all the zones, to make such list available to the public.

“Top management positions in other subsidiaries such as the Petroleum Product Marketing Company (PPMC), Petroleum Trust Development Fund (PTDF), Petroleum Equalisation Fund (PEF), and the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), one of the Departments in the Ministry of Petroleum, are also majorly held by Northerners.

“The people of the Niger Delta Region stand by our earlier position that the recent appointments/redeployments made in respect of the NNPC Board and its subsidiaries by Mr President, is very much lopsided in favour of the Northern part of the country.

“If the NNPC and some others are making counter claims, they should also make public the ‘correct’ list. Otherwise, we in the South-South (Niger Delta) standby our earlier position that the appointments/redeployments be reversed and an equitable one made in the spirit of fairness, equity and justice.”

Speaking further, he said: “We cannot continue like this. The country belongs to all of us. This is why everybody is now calling for restructuring.

“There is no other option but to restructure. I don’t want our boys to go violent. We have worked for peace and peace has returned.

“So, we cannot go to fight. Let us restructure so that everyone controls what is produced in his area.”

Chief Clark pointed out that the people of the Niger Delta/South-South were still contending with the disturbing issue of the composition of the Board of the NNPC, where out of the nine members of the Board only one person is from the South-South in the person of Dr. Thomas M. A. John, apart from the Minister of State, Petroleum and one person from the South-West.

According to him, “the rest members including the Chief of Staff to the President are all from the North. The South-East, an oil producing zone, does not have a representation in that Board.”

He regretted what he said was the marginalization of parts of the country and admonished President Buhari to give a sense of belonging to all parts of the country.

 

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