By Musa Adamu and Ikechukwu Okaforadi
The Senate yesterday confirmed the nomination of Dr Pius Odubu as chairman, Benard Okumagba as Managing Director of the Board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and 13 others as members.
Presenting the report of the Committee on Niger Delta by its Chairman, Sen Peter Nwaoboshi, however, disclosed that the Committee failed to recommend for the confirmation of the Dr Joy Nunieh (Rivers State) due to her failure to make herself available for screening.
Sen Nwaoboshi said apart from the nominee from Rivers State, other nominees were duly qualified given their qualifications and wealth of experience.
He said committee found that the nominees would add value to the board if confirmed.
Further explaining the reason behind the committee failure to recommend Dr Nunieh for confirmation, Sen Nwaoboshi informed that the nominee had two opportunities to appear before the committee but failed to do so without any communication from her.
A member of the Committee Sen Eyinayi Abaribe, said the committee was right not to have recommended the confirmation of Dr Neniuel since efforts were made to get her to appear but refused to do so.
In his remarks, Sen Ike Ekweremadu, decried the setting up of an interim management Board for the Commission, describing it as sabotage and usurpation of the powers of the National Assembly.
Sen Albert Akpan said: “we are pleased with the nominees from Akwa Ibom state and we further pleased with array of the nominees of Mr President for the Commission. By what we did we have shown that we are resolved to support Mr President in his vision for the region.”
The President of the Senate, Dr Ahmed Lawan, praised the committee for doing a diligent job, vowing however that the current Senate would take its oversight duty more serious to avoid the “ the unpleasant happenings” that warranted Mr to set up panel of inquiry on the activities past Board.
He also had noted that once the Board was confirmed any structure currently in place at the Commission ceases to exist.
He said: “ I don’t think there is any ambiguity about anything. The President has sent his nominees and once they are confirmed any other structure in place at present ceases to exist.
“I want to task the committee on Niger Delta Commission to take its oversight duty serious because for the President to set up committee to carry clinical audit of the board I am sure it only goes to say we may not have done our job well enough.
“We called on the incoming Board to work for the attainment of the vision behind the creation of the Commission in the first place.
“We are not unmindful of the fact the some undesirable happenings have taken place there in the past hence we re calling on the new board to be different. We are also putting them on notice that as Senate we are going to hold them to account to enusre that what happened before did not continue under the new order.”
The new Board comprised Dr Pius Odubu, as Chairman and Bernard Okumagba (Delta) as Managing Director.
The Senate also confirmed Engr. Otobong Ndem (Akwa Ibom), as Executive Director (Projects), Maxwell Oko (Bayelsa) as Executive Director (Finance and Administration) and Prophet Jones Erue ((Delta).
The rest are Chief Victor Ekhator (Edo), Nwogu N. Nwogu (Abia) and Theodore Allison (Bayelsa).
Others are Victor Antai (Akwa Ibom), Maurice Effiwatt (Cross River), Olugbenga Edema(Ondo), Uchgbu Kyrian(Imo), Aisha Murtala Muhammad (Kano), Shuaibu Zubairu (Adamawa) and Amb Abdullahi M. Bage.