Emameh Gabriel in Abuja
The alarm has been raised by some stakeholders over moves by certain Individuals allegedly of “vested interest” to undermine the confirmation and re-constituton of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) board.
The alarm came just a day after the Senate made the announcement of President Buhari’s nominations of members of the a new board to manage the affairs of NDDC.
A group under the aegis of Foundation Against Fraud, Indiscipline and Corruption (FAFIC) Thursday alleged that people in high places in government were working against the interest of the President, who they said has the prerogative to make appointment for the head of the board.
Consequently, the group has called on the people of Niger Delta region to resist any attempt by people they said have held the Commission by the jugular since inception, therefore denying them the dividends for which the Commission was created for.
In a statement titled, ‘We Must Not Let Corruption Win’ and signed by its President/National Coordinator, Dr. Uche Diala, which was made available to journalists in Abuja, the group cautioned that any move made to undermine the confirmation and re-constitution of the board “would be inimical to the efforts of the President to restore sanity, excellence, probity and accountability to the Commission and to return it to the path of delivering dividends to the people of the Niger Delta and member states”.
Dr. Diala said in the statement:
“We are aware of some clandestine and desperate moves by certain individuals and vested interests to undermine the President’s nominations as the Senate confirmation hearings loom.
“It is our objective view that the NDDC Board as re-constituted by the President awaiting the confirmation of the Senate is an important first step to repositioning the Commission and implementing the recommendations of the Forensic Audit as the nominated Board is made up of qualified Nigerians and is significantly headed by a woman of integrity and impeccable character who is not tainted in any way by corrupt tendencies and affiliations nor has she any record of corruption against her.
“It bears stating that, Laureta Onochie; if confirmed by the Senate, would be the first woman ever to head the Commission since its inception. We acknowledge it as a plus for the often sidelined Nigerian women who nonetheless in their majority have always proven to be diligent, dependable, hardworking and accountable when assigned such tasks.
Dr. Diala said from his lense, it was obvious that corruption was fighting back to ensure that the Commission continue to be a cash cow for certain individuals who have almost made it there personal estate.
He continued: “We are all aware that the Forensic Audit “opened a can of worms in the commission”, in the words of the erstwhile Interim Administrator of the Commission, Dr. Effiong Akwa. The Forensic Audit revealed among other things that there are over 13,777 projects embarked upon by the Commission, the execution of which is substantially compromised. This is an addition to the discovery that the Commission operated 362 bank accounts with lack of proper reconciliation of accounts.
“On the backdrop of these, Nigerians in general and citizens of the NDDC Member States in particular should be concerned and interested in what happens with the management and administration of the Commission going forward especially as the current administration is determined to change the status quo and address challenges militating against the delivery of the mandate of the NDDC; including corruption.
He concluded by saying that “it is the sole prerogative of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to make such appointments in the best in interest of the nation; after due considerations and consultations.
“This we believe the President has done in this case and it would amount to deliberately working against the interest of the people of the Niger Delta and NDDC member states, the good intentions of the President and the nation’s anti-corruption drive for anyone, no matter how highly placed to unduly fight or seek to obstruct the President’s nominations; especially that of the Chairman of the Board on the grounds of flimsy excuses, chauvinism, selfishness and personal ego.