The three senators from Ondo State have rejected the nomination of Charles Ogunmola by President Muhammadu Buhari as Executive Director, Projects for the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
The senators are Ajayi Boroffice,(Ondo North); Ayo Akinuelure (Ondo South) and Nicholas Tofowomo (Ondo South).
Mr Ogunmola is on the list of 15 nominees sent by President Buhari to the Senate for confirmation as chairman, managing director, executive directors and members of the board of the NDDC.
But the list has drawn criticisms and petitions from some quarters in the oil and gas- rich region.
The Senate on Wednesday referred the screening of the nominees to its Committee on Niger Delta Affairs, which was asked to submit its report on Tuesday for further legislative action.
But the three Ondo senators, in a 8 November letter to Senate President Ahmed Lawan, urged the Senate to uphold the provisions of the NDDC Act 2000 in considering the nominations.
“We write as distinguished senators representing the three senatorial districts of Ondo State to reject the nomination of Mr Charles Ogunmola, as Executive Director, Projects of the Niger Delta Development Commission(NDDC),” the letter partly read.
“Our petition is premised on the fact that the nomination of Mr Charles Ogunmola is non-compliant with the provisions of Section 12(1) of the NDDC(Establishment) Act 2000.
“The aforementioned Act clearly stated that the nominee for the position of Executive Director Projects of NDDC ‘shall be an indigene of oil producing area.’ Mr Charles Ogunmola is not an indigene of oil producing area of Ondo State.”
Earlier, a coalition of lawyers from Ilaje town in the Ilaje Local Government Area of Ondo State, Ilaje Lawyers Forum, had sent a petition to the Senate, calling for the rejection of Mr Ogunmola’s nomination for the same reasons.
“We are the sole body of all lawyers of Ilaje extraction from Illaje Local Government Area (LGA) of Ondo State and we hereby write this petition in a representative capacity, of the long suffering citizens, of all producing llaje LGA,” the petition reads.
“We petition your noble office in protest against the arbitrary and illegal nomination of one Mr. Charles B. Ogunmola (“Mr. Ogunmola”) for the position of the Executive Director, Projects (EDP) of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, pursuant to his letter to your goodself dated 21 October 2022.
“Please see page 2 of the said letter where Mr. Ogunmola was listed as Nominee No. 15. We hereby appeal to your noble office to refuse the confirmation of the said Mr. Ogunmola for the EDP position.”
The lawmaker representing Ilaje/Ese-Odo Federal Constituency, Kolade Akinjo, had also urged the Senate to reject Mr Ogunmola, saying it was against the Act that established the commission.
The lawmaker said the nomination is against “the letters of Section 12(1) of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) (Establishment etc) Act, 2000 (hereinafter referred to as NDDC Act) which provides that:
“There shall be for the Commission, a Managing Director, and two 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.”
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However, a counter position was promoted by another group, Ilaje National Alliance Movement, which urged the Senate not to succumb to “blackmail” by rejecting the nominee.
The group claimed that the President followed due process and did not breach any law by nominating capable individuals for several positions on the NDDC board.
The statement signed by the group’s Chairman, Alex Omotehinse, and Secretary, Oluwatobi Fagbemi, noted that those against Mr Buhari’s nominees were bent on derailing the projected development of the current regime.
According to them, the President did not breach any section of the NDDC Act because the agency was not established to serve the interest of a singular ethnic group or people.
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