The Senate, yesterday, confirmed theSpecial Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on new Media, Mrs. Lauretta Onochie from Delta State as the Chairman, board of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
The Senate confirmed appointments of 13 out of the 15 nominees for the board sent by President Muhammadu Buhari, just as it demanded for the forensic report carried out on the commission by the Presidency.
Also confirmed by the Senate were Chief Samuel Ogbuku for the position of Managing Director for a term of two years, to complete the unexpired term of his predecessor in office.
It also confirmed Major- General Charles Airhiavbere(retd), from Edo State, South -South for the position of Executive Director, Finance and Charles Ogunmola, Ondo State, South West for the position of Executive Director, Projects.
The confirmation of the chairman and other board members by the senate was sequel to the presentation and consideration of the report of the Senate Committee on Niger Delta Affairs by the acting Chairman, Senator Buius Amos (APC, Gombe South).
The confirmation was carried out despite criticisms that trailed the nomination of Ogunmola from Ondo State, where the three Senators from the state had written a protest letter to the committee, rejecting the name against the backdrop that he is from Owo, a non oil producing area of the state.
Senator Nicholas Tofowomo (PDP, Ondo), spoke on behalf of the Deputy Senate Leader, Robert Boroffice (APC, Ondo North) and Senator Ayo Akinyelure (PDP, Ondo Central).
The confirmation happened despite a Federal High Court, Abuja, which last week stopped the National Assembly from screening and confirming the nominated chairman and MD of NDDC, Onochie and Ogbuku.
The court had ordered that all actions on the matter be suspended pending the determination of the suit by Chief Edward Ekpokpo, Engr. Victor Wood (both representing the Itsekiri Leaders of Thought, ILOT and Mr. Edward Omagbemi (representing Omadino Unity Forum) on behalf of the Itsekiri ethnic nationality, challenging the nomination of the duo as Chairman and MD of NDDC board.
The Senate, however, stepped down the confirmation of former Deputy Governor of Edo State, Dr. Pius Odubu, state representative, Edo State, South and Engr. Anthony Okanne, Imo State, South East for non appearance for screening before the committee.
Odubu had earlier been screened and confirmed as Chairman of the board on November 5, 2019, but the board was never inaugurated.
His name was sent back to the Senate in the new list sent by Buhari last November, but as Edo State representative. He, however, did not show up for screening and the Senate in its report presented, yesterday, chose to step down his nomination.
Also confirmed were DimgbaErugba (state representative, Abia, South-East; Dr. Emem Wills, state representative, Akwa Ibom, South -South; Elder DimaroDenyabofa, staterepresentative, Bayelsa State, South -South; Orok Duke, state representative, Cross River, South-South; South-East and Gbenga Edema, State Representative, Ondo State, South – West.
Others include ElekwachiDinkpa, staterepresentative, Rivers State, South-South; Alhaji Mohammed Abubakar, (zonal representative, Nasarawa State, North-Central; Alhaji Sule Sani Sami (zonal representative, Kebbi State, North-West; and Prof. Tahir Mamman, SAN, (zonal representative, Adamawa State, North-East.
Before the confirmation, Senators had raised objections to the confirmation of some of the appointees like Onochie as Chairman of the Board and Charles Ogunmola as Executive Director (Project).
The Senators were Seriake Dickson (PDP Bayelsa West) and Nicholas Tofowomo (PDP, Ondo South).