Exclusive: Politicians intensify lobby for top NDDC job
By Wole Abioye
Politicians from across the Niger Delta region are piling pressure on the Presidency, lobbying to be appointed the chief executive of the NDDC. While some prefer to be appointed sole administrator, others prefer to be made substantive managing director when the President eventually composes a new Board for the commission.. Among those seeking the plum job is Chief Timi Alaibe, a one-time executive director and managing director of the commission. He retired from commission as the MD in 2005 and has since contested for the governorship of Bayelsa State up to three times under different political parties. The Deputy Senate President, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege’s interest in the top job is not hidden. But the senator from Delta Central wants the position given to one of his preferred nominees from the state.
Presidency sources say that these politicians, who are nursing political ambition as governors in their states, are spending money heavily to buy the favour of Presidency officials whom they believe will influence the appointment. Analysts and key stakeholders in the region are however concerned that the return of these politicians to the commission as chief executive may not augur well for its proper functioning. ‘’What did they forget at NDDC? They have been executive Director and Managing Director before. What did they do? What do they want again?’’, asks Chief Samuel Amachree, a Port Harcourt-based environmentalist.
Speaking in an interview with journalists yesterday, Ms Aniko Briggs, a Niger Delta activist, condemned the intense lobby politicians with governorship ambition to return to the agency from retirement. She said that although the next MD of the agency will rightfully, according to the law, come from Bayelsa State, there are indications that some politicians from Bayelsa are ready to trade Bayelsa slots to some people from Delta State.
Another Niger Deltan, Dr. Idongesit Akpan of the University of Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, urges President Muhammadu Buhari to be wary of politicians who want to turn the NDDC to their source of funding for their governorship campaigns. His words: ‘’Why is it that anytime a politician from Niger Delta wants to be governor, he first wants to be NDDC MD? The commission cannot continue to be used to siphon to finance the elections of some people.’’