The people of Ilaje land have applauded senators representing Ondo State in the National Assembly for rejecting the nomination of persons who are not indigenes of their area on the Board of Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC.
Ilaje is the oil-rich part of Ondo State, which has the fifth largest oil production quota among the nine oil producing states in Nigeria.
It would be recalled that twice in recent time, Ondo State Governor Rotimi Akeredolu had nominated individuals who hailed from his own hometown, Owo, into the NDDC Board, an area which is not an oil producing part,
First was Mr Olatokunbo Ajasin sometimes ago and the latest being the nomination of Chief Charles Ogunmola as Executive Director, Project, in the Commission.
However, yesterday, the three senators representing Ondo state Senatorial districts, Ajayi Boroffice, Ayo Akinyelure and Nicholas Tofowomo, jointly wrote a letter to the Senate President, vehemently rejecting the nomination of Chief Ogunmola on the ground of being tantamount to violation of the extant laws establishing NDDC.
In a press statement issued by a United Kingdom-based Chartered Accountant, Prince Sola Arowojolu, on behalf of the Ilaje in Diaspora, the people expressed appreciation to the three senators for fighting against the said age-long injustice and marginalization meted against the good people of Ilaje oil producing communities.
Prince Arowojolu said: “The nomination of Charles Ogunmola who hails from Ipele in Owo local government area, which is a non-oil producing area of the state would have amounted to a daylight robbery to our people.
“This is contrary to the provision of Section 12(1) of NDDC Act of 2000 which provides that ‘There shall be for the commission, a Managing Director and two Executive Directors who shall be indigenes of oil-producing areas starting with the member states of the commission with the highest production quantum of oil and shall rotate amongst member states in the order of production.’”
Arowojolu added: “We the Ilajes have been marginalised and deprived of our rights if we recall how a similar nomination of an unqualified candidate- Olatokunbo Ajasin, in 2016, also from Owo local government, almost set the state on fire and degenerated to civil unrest in the entire Niger Delta region had it not been for the intervention of the Senate committee.
“They unanimously rejected Ajasin’s nomination and that of Donatus Enyinnah from Abia State also on the ground that both nominees were not from oil producing communities.
“It is for this same reason that we are now appealing to the Senate to espouse the provisions of the NDDC Act 2000 to prevent another turmoil in Ondo State.”
Arowojolu also faulted the nomination of Samuel Ogbuku as the Managing Director, arguing that by the provision of the NDDC Act 2000, the position of MD should have rotated to Ondo State and not to Bayelsa State.
His contention is that of the nine oil-producing states, namely (in order of oil production); Akwa Ibom, Delta, Rivers, and Bayelsa States have been well represented and have produced past Managing Directors who had served the commission for at least four years as stipulated in the Act.
He emphasised the past representations of Bayelsa to the board with the appointment between November 2005- April 2009 (3 year+) of Timi Alaibe, and in-between them of Prof. Brambaifa and Prof. Pondei from February 2019 to December 2020 (2years+).