President Muhammadu Buhari has sent to the Senate the names of Lauretta Onochie as the substantive chairman of the Niger Delta Development Commission and 14 others as members of the board.
The appointments were contained in a letter to the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, who read it out at the start of plenary on Wednesday.
Onochie, who is currently a Special Assistant to the President on New Media, hails from Delta-North.
The letter read in part, “Dear distinguished Senate President, confirmation of the appointments of the chairman and members of the Niger Delta Development Commission.”
“In accordance with the provisions of Section 2(2) A of the NDDC Act, Cap. N86, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004, I hereby present the underlisted 15 names of nominees as chairman and members of the NDDC for confirmation by the Senate.”
Nominees on the list included Dimgba Erugba (Abia, South-East), Dr. Emem Wills (Akwa Ibom, South-South), Denyanbofa Dimaro (Bayelsa, South-South), Orok Duke (Cross River, South-South), Dr. Pius Odudu (Edo, South-South), Anthony Ekenne (Imo, South-East), and others.
The Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege, and Senator George Sekibo, however, questioned the names submitted by the President.
While Omo-Agege said there was no board member from Delta State, Sekibo wondered why a new list was sent by the president after a previous list had been sent.
The National Assembly had screened and passed the names on the list transmitted for approval.
Lawan, in the president’s defense, stated that Buhari’s decision to send another list of nominees for confirmation was because there was a flaw in the previous compilation.
The President had in October sacked the sole administrator of the NDDC, Effiong Akwa, and announced the constitution of a new management team and governing board following a petition against the minister.
The Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges, and Public Petitions had summoned the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Umana Okon, over allegations of corruption and the non-passage of two years’ budget.
Recall that the President in 2020 sent Onochie’s name as the Independent National Electoral Commission’s commissioner for Delta State, which was rejected by the National Assembly.