Senator Mark, who was speaking at yesterday’s sitting when the Senate confirmed appointments for management and board positions in the commission, lamented that the NDDC “over the years has completely failed to perform and I remember that the last time we passed their budget here all of us without exception condemned the fact that they were not performing”.
An unhappy David Mark apportioned some of the blame for the commission’s failure on the Senate standing committee on Niger Delta chaired by Senator James Manager, which he said did a poor job of performing its oversight function.
The Senate President, therefore, urged President Goodluck Jonathan not to waste time in removing the new appointees “if they don’t show that they truly can perform within the next few months”.
“They are indulging into many irrelevant projects, projects that have no meaning and no impact on the livelihood of the Niger Delta people,” Mark charged.
The session, however, did not go without some mild drama as two Rivers State Senators – Wilson Ake and Magnus Abe, die-hard loyalists of Governor Rotimi Ameachi, opposed the nomination of two of their state’s representatives on the board of NDDC.
They hinged their opposition to the confirmation of the nominees on grounds that the state government was not consulted before President Jonathan forwarded their names to the Senate for confirmation.
Senator Ake and Abe jointly wrote a minority report protesting the nomination and subsequent screening of Mr. Itotenaan Henry Ogiri as Executive Director Finance and Administration and Chief Ephraim Sobere Etete as a board member representing Rivers State.
Ake, therefore, urged the senate to reject the nomination arguing that if two of the three senators in any state oppose any nomination, it stands rejected.
But their protest was ruled out of order by the Senate President, who argued that “reason why we say if two senators disagree is that senators complained here that there was no reference to them at all in getting nominees and governors were bringing nominees who had total disrespect for senators”.
Subsequently, Senator Bassey Ewa-Henshaw (Cross Rivers State) was confirmed as chairman of NDDC board and Barrister Bassey Dan-Abia as Managing Director.