As protests continue to trail the recently constituted board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), there is palpable tension in certain circles in the Presidential Villa, Abuja as indications emerge that the announcement of the board was made without the knowledge of President Muhammadu Buhari.
The announcement, which was made on August 26, 2019 while President Buhari was attending the 7th Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD), has been generating mixed reactions with some Delta State and Ijaw groups expressing disappointments with the names of those that emerged as members of the board.
Our Aso Rock sources has reliably informed us that President Muhammadu Buhari was miffed by the announcement and has vowed to axe some members of his inner circle whom he suspected to have conspired with some high ranking officials of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to reward their political acolytes to the detriment of the interests of the President and the party.
Our source revealed that the announcement of the NDDC board was deliberately timed to happen when President Buhari would be away to Japan because they reasoned that, like in previous occasions when similar thing happened, the President would find it difficult to reverse the appointments.
Already, moves are being made to by the hawks to convince Mr President to pacify aggrieved party members who had been promised board positions in NDDC with other equally “juicy” appointments in order not to compromise the party’s unity and the integrity of the president’s office.
“You know that on many occasions, Nigerians have been left with the notion that Mr President is mostly not aware of a lot of things that are going on around him. So these people are working round the clock to convince him not to either fire people nor reverse the appointments already made because that will reinforce that negative view of the Commander-in-Chief,” our source revealed.
The president’s anger, we also learned, is strongly against the Chairman of APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomole, who was said to have manipulated the party’s hierarchy to install Dr. Pius Odubu, who was Deputy Governor of Edo State during Oshiomole’s tenure as Governor, as Chairman of the NDDC board, even when it was generally expected that the slot was going to Ondo State.
Further investigations also reveal that President Buhari had preferred Delta State to produce the Managing Director of the NDDC, especially as compensation to party henchman, Mr Great Ogboru, who lost the ministerial position of the Ministry of the Niger Delta to Senator Godwill Akpabio. Buhari was said to have favoured Mr Ogboru for the role he played during the last elections, especially his effort in ensuring that the statutory minimum 25 percent of votes cast went to the APC candidate.
Although the list of the board members had been sent to the senate for confirmation, our source said efforts are being made by the desperate Aso Rock hawks to ensure that Mr President does not recall the list until it is approved.
Recall that the Permanent Secretary, General Services, Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Olusegun Adekunle, had in a statement released on August 27, 2019, announced the 16 member board for the NDDC as “approved” by President Buhari.
The list, which has Bernard Okumagba from Delta State as Managing Director designate of the new NDDC board also had 14 other names, in addition to the board Chairman. The statement also requested the interim management of the Commission to hand over to the most senior director in the Commission pending the confirmation of the new board members by the Senate.