The Senate Committee on Niger Delta Affairs on Thursday, October 31, 2019, screened the nominees, whose names were forwarded to the National Assembly on Tuesday by President Muhammadu Buhari as members of the new Governing Board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
Expectedly, the first person to be screened was the nominee for the position of Chairman of the Commission, Dr. Pius Odubu, a former Deputy Governor of Edo State to Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, now national Chairman of the All Progressives Congress. APC.
Dr. Odubu, who was also a member of the House of Representatives from 1999 to 2007 was asked to “take a bow and go” in adoption of the parliamentary tradition of the Senate to extend such privileges to former members of the National Assembly and parliamentarians nominated for any Federal appointment.
Next was Chief Bernard Okumagba, the nominee for the position of Managing Director, NDDC and he was also asked to “take a bow and go” after both the Chairman of the Committee, Senator Peter Nwaoboshi (Delta North) and Senator James Manager, (Delta South), spoke glowing about his excellent credentials, especially recalling his sterling track record as a Commissioner in Delta State and his unquestionable suitability for the job.
The Senator representing Delta Central, where Chief Okumagba also hails from, is Obaisi Ovie Omo-Agege. He is of course the Deputy Senate President and it is widely believed that he is very pleased with the nomination of the former Delta state Commissioner for Finance and Economic planning.
Others who were also successfully screened included the nominee for the position of Executive Director Finance and Administration, Maxwell Okoh from Bayelsa State, as well as the ststes representatives; Prophet Jones Erue (Delta State); Chief Victor Ekhator (Edo) and Nwogu Nwogu (Abia).
The committee also screened Theodore Allison, representing Bayelsa State, Victor Antai (Akwa Ibom); Maurice Effiwatt (Cross River); Olugbenga Elema (Ondo); Hon. Uchegbu Chidiebere Kyrian (Imo); Northeast representative, Ardo Zubairu from Adamawa state and Ambassador Abdullahi Bage from Nasarawa State to represent the North Central geopolitical zone.
A mild drama reportedly occurred during the screening of Engr. Otobong Ndem (Akwa Ibom), the nominee for the post of Executive Director Projects, when some members of the Senate Committee, who observed discrepancies in the documentation of academic qualifications listed in the nominees CV, opted to grill him and demand for clarifications.
The fact that the nominee was grilled thoroughly, despite his status as a former member of the Akwa Ibom State Assembly, instead of accorded the customary ‘bow and go’ privilege reserved for former parliamentarians, was also said to have led to heated exchanges between some members of Senate Committee.
Calm was however restored by the Chairman of the committee, Senator Peter Nwaoboshi, whose intervention clarified the direction of the committee’s mandate and the nominee Engr. Ndem was eventually asked to bow and go, after he had promised to avail the committee with the omitted information in his CV and had been admonished not to disappoint Nigerians on confirmation as a member of the NDDC Board.
The Rivers state representative nominee, Dr. Joi Yimibe Nunieh, as well as the Northwest representative, Aisha Murtala Muhammed, from Kano State, were understandably not available for screening.
The Committee then reportedly mandated its Chairman to screen the two nominees on Monday.