ABUJA – Elder statesman and leader of the Pan-Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), Chief Edwin Clark, has explained why he wants President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to amend the Act establishing the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and remove non-Niger Delta oil producing states of Abia, Imo and Ondo states from the intervention agency.
Addressing newsmen in Abuja on Tuesday, Clark, who also told President Tinubu to publish the report of the forensic audit of the NDDC, added that the inclusion of these three states was a political aberration.
The elder statesman, who noted that the three states have taken more share than the main oil producing states, in terms of management positions, added that “there are more staff from the three non-Niger Delta states combined and the infrastructural development in equal basis.”
Explaining how the three states were included in NDDC in the first place, Clark said, “During that interaction with Mr. President (Olusegun Obasanjo), we went through the drafted Bill of NDDC which he said he will later submit to the Attorney General of the Federation for necessary action.
He informed us that Northerners were opposed to the establishment of NDDC, instead they also demanded Shiroro Dam Commission and President Obasanjo advised that we should accept the three non-Niger Delta oil producing states of Abia, Imo and Ondo states in order to have their added votes of the SouthEast and South-West legislators for the Bill to succeed.”
Explaining why he demanded the removal of the three states from the NDDC, the elder statesman said, “The NDDC Establishment Act 2000 signed by the Senate President Chuba Okadigbo outlined the functions of the nine states and who should be the executive management.
One should bear in mind that the addition of Ondo, Imo and Abia was a political aberration. However, Cross Rivers State was in the NDDC Act, then Bakassi was removed to Cameroon and littoral oil dispensation removed wells in the high seas.
The final blow came with Akwa Ibom State winning the ownership of the oil wells on the land in the Supreme Court.
This has resulted in Cross Rivers being a zero contributor to the NDDC. “I will like to refer to the relevant sections of the Act in my write up. Part I Section 4 of the NDDC Act states, ‘The office of the chairman shall rotate amongst the member states of the commission in the following alphabetical order: Abia State, Akwa Ibom State, Bayelsa State, Cross River State, Delta State, Edo State, Imo State, Ondo State, Rivers State.’
“Part II Section 7 sub-Section 2 ‘in exercising its functions and powers under this section, the commission shall have regard to the varied and specific contributions of each member state of the commission.’ “Part IV Section 12 sub-Section 1 ‘there shall be for the commission, a managing director, and the executive directors who shall be indigenes of oil producing areas starting with the member states of the commission with the highest production quantum of oil and shall rotate amongst member states in the order of production.’
“It is true that the law provided for the rotation of the executive positions among the states based on the quantity of production but did not mention the sequence of rotation among the states. But the Federal Government decided that these executive positions only rotate among the four majorities of oil producing states i.e. Delta, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa and Rivers states based on equity, fair-play and justice because it will be unreasonable and chaotic to extend it to the minority oil producing states including Abia, Cross River, Edo, Imo and Ondo. For instance, whereby, Imo is producing 1.02% of the total oil production by the nine states.”
Clark, who insisted that the NDDC should remain the six original Niger Delta coastal states, commended President Tinubu for the action he has taken so far. He said: “The President Tinubu’s government at last decided to correct the position and a new board has now been set up in accordance with the NDDC Act.
By convention and understanding, the Federal Government has conveniently restricted the management position to the four major oil producing states i.e. Delta State, Akwa Ibom State, Bayelsa State and Rivers State.”
Urging President Tinubu to publish the forensic report of NDDC, Clark said, “All the supervising committees of both National Assembly and board committees have not been alive to their mandates.
“Their only interests have been in Projects and Finance. This was the catalyst for the rot in the NDDC. This circle of rottenness must stop! And I also request Mr. President to publish the report of the forensic audit for which the Federal Government spent so much money, an action which was hailed by Nigerians.”....CONTINUE.FULL.READING>>>