The three senators from Ondo State had rejected the nomination of Charles Ogunmola as Executive Director, Projects of the NDDC.
The Ondo State Government has joined in faulting President Muhammadu Buhari’s nominations into the board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), insisting that it is the turn of the state to produce the Chief Executive Officer of the commission.
The state government also threw its weight behind the state’s federal lawmakers who rejected the nomination of Charles Ogunmola, who was Executive Director, Projects of the NDDC.
Following the position of the lawmakers, the Senate Committee on NDDC on Thursday rejected Mr Ogunmola’s nomination on the ground that it was not in tandem with the provisions of the NDDC Act 2000.
Mr Ogunmola is from Owo, which is not part of the oil-producing areas of Ondo State. The NDDC Act requires an appointee to the board of the commission to be from an oil-producing area.
There are however fears that the rejection of Mr Ogunmola could jeopardise the chances of the state to get the President’s nomination, especially for the top job of the commission.
“Our Senators have taken the step of courage and have refused to accept arbitrariness when it is evident that it is the path of least resistance,” a statement by the state Commissioner for Information, Bamidele Ademola-Olateju, said on Friday.
“Instead, they have done the right thing by their fearless, selfless and rightful rejection of any infraction on legal authorities, including that, in reference, with regards to the nomination of anyone outside what the NDDC Act stipulates.
“Their resolve can only strengthen our oneness and peculiar status as the only oil-producing State in the Southwest, for now. This is one shrewd bipartisan political collaboration worthy of huge commendations.
“If feelers at our disposal are anything to rely upon, it is heart-warming to note, that, on the strength of the resistance and joint rejection by our Senators, the Senate Committee on Niger Delta has rejected the nomination of Mr Charles Ogunmola as nominee for the position of Executive Director, Projects of the NDDC.
“Going by the provisions of the NDDC Act, 2000, and with specific reference to the position of the Managing Director, it is the turn of Ondo State to produce the next Chief Executive of the Commission.
“We have done what is required by Law over time, to pursue this worthy cause. We shall continue to reactivate all efforts even beyond today, to achieve this aim for our State.
“Notwithstanding, we urge our Distinguished Senators to sustain this courageous pursuit, for it to berth successfully.
“We count on them to zealously guide and guard their conscionably displayed passion for the people of the oil-producing areas of Ondo State. We are in congruence with them, as they monitor events between now and the next plenary session, where their report is most likely to be submitted and debated.
“However, the next collective battle is for all hands to be on deck to achieve what is most desirable in the immediate. Put simply, we must all work together to ensure that Ondo State is not short-changed under the flimsy guise of our ‘rejection of an earlier opportunity.
“The next EDP of the NDDC is still for the mandate areas of Ondo State to produce. We shall give whatever it takes to achieve this. For this reason, we will ensure a more robust, holistic stakeholders engagement, in a matter of days.”
The senators from the state, Robert Ajayi Boroffice (Ondo North), Pius Akinyelure (Ondo Central) and Nicholas Tofowomo (Ondo South), had unanimously rejected Mr Ogunmola’s nomination, arguing that the position should go to the oil-producing Ilaje and Ese-Odo local council areas in the southern part of the state.
Explaining the reasons for Mr. Ogunmola’s rejection, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions and Senator representing Ondo Central, Ayo Akinyelure, said President Buhari was misinformed on the nomination.
“Though Mr. Charles Ogunmola is from Ondo State he is not from the oil-producing area of Ondo State and that was why the three Senators from Ondo State unanimously rejected his nomination,” he had said.
Mr Akinyelure urged Mr Buhari to “kindly re-forward another qualified person to be screened on the Board of NDDC to represent the good people of Ondo State.”
Mr Ogunmola was nominated by the President in November, along with 15 other persons, to the NDDC board.
The Senate NDDC committee has screened the nominees and its report is expected to be laid before the Senate on Tuesday for consideration.