Less than one week after the inuaguration of President Muhammedu Buhari for second term, leaders of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) are embroiled in a battle of wits over who should be appointed substantive Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
An impeccable Presidency source disclosed that the power game revolves mostly around APC National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, party Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole and immediate past Transport Minister, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi.
Tinubu is said to be making a strong case that for the first time, the MD’s position of the NDDC should come from the South West, Ondo precisely. The former Lagos governor is backing Chief Olusola Oke (SAN) for the plum job.
Bouyed by Tinubu’s push for Ondo to produce the next MD of the multi million naira agency, the deputy governor of Ondo State, Hon Agboola Ajayi has also been making moves to clinch the position.
This development is coming on the heels of feelers that President Buhari was considering reconstituting the Governing Board of the interventionist agency which was dissolved about five months.
The dissolved board which had former senate leader, Senator Victor Ndoma Egba and Mr Nsima Ekere as chairman and MD respectively, was replaced by an interim management with erstwhile Bayelsa State Representative on the board, Professor Nelson Brambaifa as acting MD.
Engineer Samuel Adjogbe as well as Chidi Oyinrindah are also on the board as Executive Director, Projects and Executive Director of Finance respectively. Adjogbe was part of the dissolved Ekere-led management.
It was gathered that while Oshiomhole is rooting for Edo State to produce the next substantive chief executive of the NDDC with former House of Representatives member, Hon Samson Osagie in mind, Amaechi is reportedly pushing for the confirmation of the current acting MD, Professor Brambaifa whose appointment as the acting MD was influenced by the former minister.
Apart from Olorogun Otega Emerhor who nominated Adjogbe, all but the Ondo State representative on the dissovled NDDC board were nominated by Amaechi. He was also reported to have influenced the appointment of Brambaifa first as Bayelsa representative.
The development had caused a frosty relationship between the former minister and former governor of Bayelsa State, Chief Timipre Sylva until lately.
It was unclear if the Ondo deputy governor had the backing of the governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu SAN.
It was gathered that the move by the deputy governor of Ondo State to gun for the position may not be unconnected with his desire not to run for a second term alongside Governor Akeredolu. He is also said to be making secret consultations with associates ahead of the governorship election in the state as a result of crisis of confidence between him and his governor.
“The race for the MDship is getting more and more interesting by the day; this time around, it appears Amaechi may not have a field day like he had the other time because other big fishes have entered the river. Already, we are seeing the signs of people trying to outplay one another.
“If Akwa Ibom, Rivers, Delta and Bayelsa have all had the MD position twice, it then means that Ondo which is the fifth in production quota should be given a chance to produce the next MD of NDDC.
Oke, who served as the South West Coordinator of the 2019 APC Presidential Campaign was said to have secured Tinubu’s support and backing for the NDDC job only after he was told to shelve his 2020 governorship aspiration.
It was unclear if the recent invitation of the acting NDDC MD, Brambaifa by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) was connected with the ongoing power game in respect of the position.
Also invited for questioning by the EFCC over alleged financial impropriety was the Executive Director, Finance and Administration of the NDDC, Chris Oyirindah.
It was learnt that the NDDC managing director and the commission’s EFDA were involved in the alleged withdrawal of N2.8bn between two weeks ago and last week.
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