By Kunle Adedoyin
An Akure-based legal practitioner, Kariakitei Kokowei has sued the Federal Government and the Nigerian Senate for the non-appointment of a person from oil producing areas of Ondo State as the Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
Kokowei, in his suit, is asking the Federal High Court to make an Order for the Federal Government to nominate any qualified and experienced person from the oil producing areas of Ondo State and the Senate to confirm such person as either MD or Executive Director of Finance and Administration or Executive Director, Projects of NNDC.
He is arguing that the actions of the Federal Government not to appoint an indigene of the area as the Commission’s MD is contrary to the rotational arrangement as entrenched in Section 12(1) of the NDDC (Establishment etc Act 2000).
He argued that Ondo State indigenes are entitled to be appointed as Managing Director or Executive Director of Finance and Administration or Executive Director, Projects of the Commission.
The recent appointment of Bernard Okumagba, the former Delta State Commissioner for Economic Planning Commissioner and Finance, as the Managing Director of NDDC by President Muhammadu Buhari has generated mixed reactions.
While some indigenes of the Niger Delta hailed the appointment, indigenes of the oil producing areas of Ondo State have kicked against the appointment citing marginalization of the area in the past appointments of the NNDC Board.
Some observers believe that the recent Federal Executive cabinet reshuffle which saw Senator Tayo Alasoadura, from Ondo State moving from the Ministry of Labour and Employment to the Ministry of Niger Delta as Minister of State was meant to appease the indigenes of Ondo State.
Also, the Chairman of Ondo State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (OSOPADEC) has been sued by Mr. Success Odogbo, a student of the Nigerian Law School over non-release of the details of the Commission’s 2017 and 2018 Budgets.
Odogbo, a graduate of Igbinedion University, is asking the Federal High Court, sitting in Akure to compel the Commission to make available Certified True Copies of the documents containing details of its 2017 and 2018 Budgets and status report of projects contained in the budgets of 2017 and 2018 indicating the type, Local Government location, executing company/contractor, contract sum, status/level of execution of each.
The Applicant, who filed the suit in line with the Section 20 of the Freedom of Information Act 2011, is citing his previous letters earlier written to OSOPADEC to provide necessary information on the projects, which were not replied, as the basis for his court action. OSOPADEC, which was set up as by the state government as an intervention agency for development in the oil producing communities of Ondo State, has come under criticism from these communities in the last decade for what the people alleged was its inability to achieve its core mandate.