Home News Itsekiri youth cry marginalisation over NDDC Board nominations

Itsekiri youth cry marginalisation over NDDC Board nominations

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The Itsekiri National Youths Council (INYC) has kicked against the newly-composed board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) describing the nominations for both the Chairman and Managing Director as “a calculated attempt by the administration of the President Muhammadu Buhari to subjugate the oil bearing people of Warri kingdom”.

In a strongly-worded petition signed jointly by INYC President, Isaac Oritseweyinmi Agbateyiniro and Secretary-General, Appearance Afejuku, the group called on the Senate to “suspend the screening of all nominees on that list until the right thing is done”.

According to the group, the composition of nominees into the NDDC Board, as released by the Federal Government, has short-changed the Itsekiri oil bearing kingdom of Delta State against the framework of the Act Establishing the NDDC.

The Itsekiri youths demanded that “in deriving their position from all extant laws guiding the oil industry, persons from Itsekiri, foremost oil and gas producing area in Delta State, should immediately be nominated on the list.

“Specifically, the position of Chairman, Board of the NDDC zoned to Delta State should be unconditionally given to the Itsekiri ethnic nationality for the huge economic contribution/responsibility she is carrying on behalf of the Nigerian state.

“The Senate should suspend the screening of all nominees on that list until the right thing is done as the Itsekiris truly deserve to benefit from their labour”.

They further said that “it is very correct to state that there will be no NDDC without the statutory remittances from IOC’s (Integrated Oil Companies) operating at the various oil and gas producing areas in the Niger Delta region”.

According to the group, “it will therefore be only appropriate to reason that those who bear the highest burden of the economic sustainability of the nation must be given preferential consideration/treatment on issues of appointment into the NDDC Board and that is what the law establishing the NDDC accommodated.

“To do otherwise by always imposing or promoting the interest of those who produce little or nothing at all over the interest of those who carry such magnitude of burden for the economic sustainability of the nation is not only an infraction/ infringement on the law establishing the NNDC but also an invitation to anarchy and sure recipe for unwarranted crisis”.

The group then declared: “In our despair, we can’t help but wonder if our present marginalisation was what our forbears foresaw when as ethnic minorities they expressed their fears of ethnic domination, subjugation and suffocation by larger ethnic nationalities in the Nigerian Federation before independence; concern that led to the Willink’s Commission of Inquiry into the minority fears in 1958 and recommended special protection for minorities, as contained in the Mid-Western Constitution of 1964.

“Expectedly, with all the ministerial and other appointments into various MDAs (Ministries, Departments and Agencies) that President Buhari has done since inception of this administration, the Itsekiri nation has not been protested despite been shortchanged because all of such appointments reside in the prerogative or discretional power of the Office of the President. But on this present marginalisation of the Itsekiri nationality in the nomination of the NDDC that is stipulated by the NDDC Act itself, we shall surely resist it.

“We make bold to state at this juncture that given our humongous contribution to the economic survival of Nigeria, and given the fact that we have been treated with disdain, disrespect and deprived of our due rights as stipulated in the Constitution and even the NDDC Act, the non-recognition and/or deliberate exclusion of the Itsekiri Ethnic Nationality from the position of Chairman or Managing Director will be resisted with all the legitimate fiber in our veins”.

The statement read partly: “Significantly, the principle of rotation by states in the NDDC has completed its first cycle where the itsekiri ethnic nationality has been evidently short changed or overlooked severally.

“Curiously, for this second leg and the imminent inauguration of the new board, the Itsekiri ethnic nationality has once again raised their minority voices and take their peaceful struggles to the doorsteps of all the relevant authorities in the country to be accorded their God-given rights and privileges as determined by the NDDC Act.

“We have stated for the umpteenth time that by divine providence, it is the turn of Delta State to produce both the Chairman and Managing Director of the NDDC and going by the provisions of all extant laws, the Itsekiri ethnic nationality by virtue of being the highest producer of crude oil and gas in Delta and Edo States and being the second highest producer of oil and gas in Nigeria deserves to be appropriately rewarded

“For the sake of equity, justice and fair play, we urge the Federal Government to look into the Act Establishing the NDDC, the rotational principles by alphabetical order of the oil producing states and the principle of oil production quantum. This is also in agreement with the Federal Character Act, and Nos. 3 and 4 of Article (14) of Chapter 2 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended.

“The Itsekiri Ethnic Nationality also hosts the Bonga, Okan and other critical major oil fields in Nigeria like Egwa, Odidi, Jones creek, Escravos Beach, Yokri, Meji, Meren, Marun, Abiteye, Saghara, Dibi, Otumara, Ogidigben, Olero Creek, Opumami and Utonana, operated by Shell, Chevron, Seplat, Consolidated Oil, Neconde and other multinational corporations contributing billion of dollars to the Nigerian federation.

“An ethnic group can’t boast of these enobling credentials and yet still being overlooked during nomination or appointment to serve on the board of a critical agency such as the NDDC. This has been our agitation in recent appointments in the NDDC.

“Besides the position of commisionership which other ethnic nationalities have also enjoyed severally and the abridged tenure (18 months) of Engr. Tuoyo Omatsuli, former Executive Director Projects, the Itsekiris have not been allowed to enjoy a full tenure as major oil and gas producer in Nigeria”.

The group noted that the oil-bearing Itsekiri kingdom host numerous crude oil and gas tank farms. including Matrix Energy, Pinnacle Oil & Gas, A & E Petro, AYM Shafa Energy, Kenonamex Petroleum, Salbas Oil and Gas, etc all at Ifiekporo Town, in Warri South Local Government Area.

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