Mr. Igbini Emmanuel, a Social Commentator, Analyst and National President, Vanguard for Transparent Leadership and Democracy based in the Niger Delta region explains to Chuks Okocha the politics surrounding the composition of the NDDC management and board.
Some respected traditional rulers and leaders from Delta State recently declared that Delta State is entitled to produce Chairman and Managing Director of NDDC? Do you agree with them?
It is not a question of whether I agree with them or not, it is the undisputed fact which I have also stated months ago.
They also used this point to argue that Edo State is therefore not entitled to produce the Chairman of the Board of NDDC now which tends to justify the plan by President Buhari to re-compose the Board. What is your reaction to this?
First, our respected Traditional Rulers and Leaders of TROMPCON are not asking that President Buhari to recompose the Board of NDDC in order to remove the already confirmed position of Managing Director of NDDC rightly zoned to Delta State. I need to make this point very clear in order to correct the wrong impression being created now that our Traditional Rulers and Elders of our Oil Producing Areas of Delta State are pushing for chairmanship of NDDC in place of Managing Director. They are not!
What they are asking for is for Edo State to relinguish the Chairmanship of NDDC to Delta State and to wait till the next four years when it shall be their turn by virtue of the alphabetical rotation principle as provided for in section 4 of the NDDC Act, as amended.
If you carefully read the recent interview by His Royal Majesty, King Charles Ayemi-Botu, who is a first class Traditional Ruler in our Ijaw Oil Producing Community of Delta State and the former National Chairman of Traditional Rulers of Oil Minerals Producing Communities of Nigeria (TROMPCON), he said it very clearly that it is the turn of Delta State to produce the Managing Director of NDDC based on the fact that this position is rotated among the four core Oil-producing States of Delta, Rivers, Bayelsa and Akwa Ibom. He went further to state unequivocally that the position of the Managing Director of NDDC "is not open to all the nine oil producing states of NDDC because some are just nominal producers.
This is the key point that must guide and continue to guide President Buhari from being misled to alter the Managing Director position he appointed and the Senate has rightly confirmed to be that of Delta State.
Will it be morally right for Delta State to also produce the Chairman of the Board?
Delta State is known to be a Big Heart for Love particularly in our oil producing areas with commercial headquarter in the oil city of Warri.
As you know, it is for this Big Heart for Love for all Nigerians irrespective of one's state of origin, tribe, religion that Warri is known and celebrated as equal home for everyone. A city for all.
Is Delta State willing to allow Edo State take its slot of Chairman of NDDC?
When I wrote Common Entrance Examination in the 70s as a pupil of Army Children School, Kakuri, Kaduna State, I was told that having scored very high in the exam, beating the cut-off mark for Federal Government College, I was also automatically qualified to gain admission into Government College. That meant I had two choices and the decision was entirely mine to make on which to place as First Choice and Second Choice.
I made my First Choice which was Federal Government College which was higher in status than Government College then. That was what happened and my decision was respected by the Examination Board even though at the end, I had to abandon the Federal Government College to return back to my home state of then, Bendel.
It is the same principle when students apply for JAMB and choose their first, second and third choices.
All patriotic Indigenes of Delta State have unequivocally chosen the position of Managing Director of NDDC as our First Choice for the simple reason that the position of Managing Director of NDDC which is also the Chief Executive and Accounting Officer of the Commission is the most critical and most relevant position of the Commission.
Are you saying the position of Managing Director is higher than Chairman of NDDC?
It is the more critical and important. There is no debate about it. Everyone who has been president, governor, etc knows this fact.
When you carefully read the NDDC Act which defines the functions and powers of the Chairman and Managing Director of the Commission you will see that the position of Managing Director is the most critical, most important and most relevant office in the Commission.
The Managing Director by virtue of section 10 of the NDDC Act, is the Chairman of the Management Committee of the Commission which has two Executive Directors and the other Directors responsible for over 11 directorates of NDDC.
This Management Committee is lawfully and solely responsible for the general and day-to-day administration of the Commission.
Section 12 of the NDDC Act further defines the Managing Director of NDDC as the Chief Executive and Accounting Officer of the Commission. Don't we know what it means to be a C.E.O/A.O of any establishment?
Whereas the Chairman leads other members of the Governing Board who operate on part-time basis except the Managing Director and the two Executive Directors who are also members of the Governing Board.
The Governing Board only meet once in a while to formulate policies for the Commission that are executed only by the Management Committee under the leadership of the Managing Director and the two Executive Directors.
The Board also has powers to manage and supervise the affairs of the Commission and make regulations for the Management Committee to implement and few other functions.
But what is very important to note is that, in this Governing Board too, the Managing Director and the two Executive Directors of the Management Committee remains very prominent and critical in all meetings of the Board and the decisions to be taken by the Board.
Does this not settle beyond any doubt, the fact that the position of Managing Director is the most important and critical in the Commission and therefore the natural First Choice position? Who then will abandon or be expected to abandon any First Choice?