JUST IN: Senate Confirms Okumagba, Odubu, 12 Others NDDC Nominees, Rejects One


The Nigerian Senate on Tuesday confirmed Pius Odubu (Edo) and Bernard Okumagba (Delta) as chairman and Managing Director respectively for the board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).

The senate also confirmed the nomination of 12 other nominees who were screened alongside the duo.

The senate however withheld confirmation of Dr Joy Nunieh (Rivers) who was incidentally appointed and inaugurated by Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio as Managing Director in the now controversial Interim Management Committee (IMC) of the NDDC set up to oversee the forensic audit of the commission ordered by President Muhammadu Buhari.

The confirmed nominees include the Chairman, Pius Odubu (Edo); Managing Director, Bernard Okumagba (Delta); Executive Director Projects, Otobong Ndem (Akwa Ibom); Executive Director Finance and Admin, Maxwell Okoh (Bayelsa); Delta State representative, Jones Erue; Victor Ekhatar (Edo) and Nwogu Nwogu (Abia).

Others are Theodore Allison (Bayelsa); Victor Antai (Akwa Ibom); Maurice Effiwatt (Cross River); Olugbenga Elema (Ondo); Uchegbu Kyrian (Imo); Northwest Rep, Aisha Muhammed (Kano); Northeast Rep, Ardo Zubairu (Adamawa) and Southwest Rep, Badmus Mutalib (Lagos).

The Senate, however, rejected the nomination of Joy Nunieh (Rivers).

President Muhammadu Buhari wrote the Senate last week seeking confirmation of the 16 NDDC nominees.

The Senate Committee on NDDC was thereafter, asked to screen the nominees and report back after a week.

Joy Yimebe Nunieh and Aisha Murtala Muhammed, who were absent at the screening, were asked to return on Monday.

The confirmation and rejection of the nominees was sequel to the presentation of the report of the committee by the chairman, Peter Nwabaoshi (Delta).

He explained that Ms Muhammed appeared before the committee and was screened. He said the educational qualification of the screened nominees will help impact positively in the Niger Delta region.

While stating that the nominees are “qualified to serve in the commission”, he recommended that they should be confirmed.

He, however, urged the Senate not to confirm Ms Nunieh as she failed to show up for screening on both days of the process.

In his contribution, the Minority Leader, Enyinnaya Abaribe, urged the Senate to adopt the recommendations of the committee having done what was requested of the president.

Former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, also moved that the recommendations be adopted.

He noted that an interim management has been set up by the federal government to oversee the commission and that the earlier the nominees were confirmed and assume duty, the better.

The Senate thereafter, resolved into the Committee of the Whole to confirm the nominees.

In his remark, the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, commended the committee for the transparent and open manner of screening and confirmation.

He hoped that the nominees will keep the trust of Nigerians and discharge responsibilities bestowed on them by the NDDC Act.

Mr Lawan also stressed the need for the lawmakers to “do oversight and ensure that every kobo counts.”

With their clearance by the Senate, the next step is for the nominees to be sworn in by the President Muhammadu Buhari or his representative.