The South-south Elders Progressive Forum, SSEPF, Tuesday, warned on disquiet in the Niger Delta region over what it described as a flawed communication by the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation with regards to the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, on President Bola Tinubu’s directive dissolving the Governing Boards of all Federal Government parastatals, Agencies, institutions and Government-owned companies.
In a statement issued in Abuja at the end of a meeting with stakeholders, the elders said glaring ambiguities in the SGF’s communication of the development on June 19, paved way for vested interests to circumvent the presidential directive and its implementation in the breach at the NDDC.
The SSEPF expressed dismay that in announcing the presidential directive, failure of the SGF’s office to take cognizance of the diverse statutory provisions on procedure for appointment into Boards of the various Federal Government Agencies particularly as applicable to the NDDC occasioned the confusion and ongoing intense lobby and manipulations by officials at the Commission affected by the directive.
The statement which was signed by Chief Jolomi Ande and Dr Benedict Akparanta, Chairman and Secretary General respectively of the SSEPF reads in part:
“We wish to remind the SGF that while the managing directors/CEOs of some Agencies such as the Nigeria Ports Authority, NIMASA among several others are usually appointed individually irrespective of whether there is an existing Governing Board for these Agencies or not, and therefore, may not be affected whenever their Boards are dissolved, a substantive managing director of the NDDC and the two executive directors are appointed only when a Governing Board is constituted for the Commission, making them part and parcel of the Board.
“It is to be noted that no individual had been appointed substantive managing director of the NDDC without a Board and it is for this reason that the appointments of Engr. Emmanuel Audu-Ohwavborua in November 2022 and Mrs. Ibim Semenitari in December 2015 were all made in acting capacity by the immediate past administration pending the appointment of a substantive Board. In the same vein, a few others such as Prof. Kemebradikumor Pondei and Nelson Brambaifa also acted as managing directors alongside the two executive directors as an interim Board and were all removed from office jointly in both instances.
“It is also pertinent to note that contrary to the present scenario, no previous Governing Board of the NDDC had been dissolved with either the managing director or the two executive directors left to continue in office. The recently dissolved Board of the Commission shouldn’t be an exception in order not to heat up the rising temperature in the Niger Delta to a boiling point. Therefore, we enjoin the SGF to keep abreast of the NDDC procedure for appointments and rectify the anomaly promptly”.
While decrying what it termed the “manipulative activities of monstrous middle-men who paraded the corridors of power” during the tenure of ex-president Muhammadu Buhari, the SSEPF urged President Tinubu to take full charge of his administration as well as checkmate saboteurs and “middle-men” towards rekindling public confidence, good governance, peace, stability and development of the nation, just as it commended the President for taking giant steps within a short period in office.
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