The Urashi Peoples’ Congress (UPC) has appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to consider appointing the Managing Director of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) from the area.
The Urashi Peoples’ Congress is an umbrella body of Oil Producing Local Government Areas (LGAs) in Imo.
The community made the appeal in a letter to the president signed by its Coordinator, Mr Reginald Uwakwe.
UPC lamented that the appointments into key positions in the NDDC had been skewed in favour of the states of Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa and Delta out of the nine states that made up the commission.
The group pleaded with the president to reverse the trend as it violated the Act establishing the NDDC and could threaten the operation of the commission if left uncorrected.
“We, the Urashi Peoples’ Congress (UPC), an umbrella body of all the Oil Producing LGAs in Imo State, want to bring to your attention the urgent need for the correction of lopsided appointments in the leadership of the NDDC.
“The bias appointment which has persisted since the commission’s existence has assumed a critical and sensitive dimension of great concern.
“This development, if left uncorrected, is capable of threatening the operations and truncating the activities of the Commission,” the community noted in the open letter.
“While chronicling the beneficiaries of the lopsided appointments, the community emphasized that; “it is pertinent to inform you that a compromise was reached that the position would be rotated within the nine oil producing states.”
Uwakwe said., “The states are Abia, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Edo, Imo, Ondo and Rivers.
“However, the appointments into the key positions implicitly confirm that the position of managing director of the commission especially, has been skewed in favour of Rivers, Akwa-Ibom, Bayelsa and Delta.
“For the records, from 2001 to 2021, the list of managing directors and their states include: Dr Godwin Omene, Emmanuel Aguariavwodo, both from Delta state; Timi Alaibe, Bayelsa; Chibuzor Ugwuoha and Dr Christian Oboh, both from Rivers.
“Others are Nsima Ekere and Dan Abia, both from Akwa-Ibom; Nelson Brabaifa, Bayelsa; Joy Nunieh, Rivers; Kemebradikumo Pondei, Bayelsa; Okon Akwa, Akwa Ibom while executive directors of Finance/Administration and Project also from only these four states,” he said.
“Your Excellency, the crux of the matter is that this particular section of the Act has not been obeyed since the past 21 years the commission came into existence.
“This is because only four states mentioned above, have benefitted from the management positions.
“The authorities have continuously done this without any member of the other five states complaining.
“Essentially, a cursory look into subsequent appointments made will further confirm that nobody from Abia and Imo States has been appointed into the management positions.
“Either as a managing director, or executive directors previously,” Uwakwe added.
He explained that the mood of the South East members of the NDDC caught up in this situation was fast turning to frustration, helplessness, and despondency.
“Sir, it is also imperative to note that Ohaji/Egbema and Oguta Local Government Areas (LGAs) in Imo have the highest gas deposit in the whole of West Africa, currently explored by Seplat Energy Plc, SPDC and ANOH Gas Processing Company.
“These two LGAs in Imo house the highest number of Oil Wells and Flow Stations in Nigeria,” he said.
“We want to further bring to your notice that this issue has crystalized into a disturbing extent capable of disorganizing activities in the Niger Delta and derailing the successes the Commission has recorded so far,” the coordinator said.