Written by Ovie Akpovwa, David LAWANI

Nigerians Hail New NDDC Board

...Odubu, Okumagba can make a difference

...Governors Pursuing selfish interest

...Senate Screening begins September

Several Nigerians, particularly from the Niger Delta region, have hailed the composition of the new Board of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, as announced by the Federal Government last week. The new board members are to meet with the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Mr. Boss Mustapha this week for further briefing.

The new NDDC Board, which is subject to a confirmation by the Senate, has Dr. Pius Odubu, a former Deputy Governor Of Edo State as chairman, while Olorogun Bernard Okumagba, a former Delta State Commissioner for Finance, is the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer.

According to a statement signed by Olusegun Adekunle, the Permanent Secretary (General Services Office), office of the SGF, the new Board is composed of Dr. Pius Odubu as Chairman, Olorogun Bernard Okumagba as Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer. Otobong Ndem, from Akwa Ibom state, was appointed as the Executive Director, Projects, while Mr. Maxwell Okoh from Bayelsa State was named as the Executive Director Finance and Administration.

Other Board members representing the nine Niger Delta states are: Jones Erue, Delta, Mr. Victor Ekhator, Edo, Ms. Joy Nunieh Rivers, Mr. Nwogu Nwogu, Abia, Mr. Theodore Allison, Bayelsa, Mr. Victor Antai, Akwa Ibom, Mr. Maurice Effiwatt Cross River, Mr. Olugbenga Elema, Ondo, and Mr. Uchegbu Kyrian, Imo. Also named are Aisha Muhammed from Kano State representing North-West area on the board, Mr. Ardo Zubairu from Adamawa state to represent the North-East, while Badmus Mutalib from Lagos State will represent the South-West region. Their screening by the Senate is expected to commence after the Senate resumes from recess on September 24th. A Senator told theAbuja Inquirer that many of the nominees will go through easily because some of them have been tried and tested. “The new NDDC Board composition is very good if you ask me” the Senator said.

However, last week Thursday, Governors of The nine Niger Delta states led by the Bayelsa Governor, Mr. Sariake Dickson, held a meeting in Abuja and said they were not consulted on the composition of the new NDDC Board and requested a meeting with President Mohammadu Buhari to discuss their concerns.

Mr. Solomon Olotu, a major stakeholder and Chairman of Lotus Communications Limited, has, however, hailed the composition of the new board. While thanking President Buhari, Mr. Olotu said “this new NDDC Board is a good one. It is made of people who have been tried and tested. Dr. Odubu did well as Deputy Governor Of Edo state under Governor Adams Oshiomhole. Olorogun Okumagba was a very distinguished banker and former Delta state commissioner for Finance. I believe, together with the other members of the new board, they can make a difference.”

On his part, Mr. Jude Bakpa, an entrepreneur and a business man, has urged President Buhari to ignore the Niger Delta Governors and insist on the new NDDC board members. In his view, “the Governors are pursuing their own selfish interest. They should not be allowed to have their way”. Mr. Bakpa seemed to have echoed the dominant sentiments of many Niger Deltans who spoke to Abuja Inquirer over the weekend.

The new NDDC Board Chairman, Dr Pius Odubu, was born on July 1st 1957 and hails from Urhomehe village in Orhionmwon Local Government area of Edo State. He attended St. Pius Primary School, Urhomehe before proceeding to Immaculate Conception College, Benin City. Dr. Odubu holds a Bachelors Degree in Political  science and a PhD in Law. He was called to the  Nigerian bar in October 1986. He is also an alumnus of Harvard University in the United States and Oxford University in the United Kingdom. He was a member of the House of Representatives from 1999 to 2007 and was the Deputy Governor Of Edo State from 2007, where he served for eight years.

The new Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Of NDDC, Olorogun Bernard Okumagba is from Warri South Local Government Area of Delta State. He attended Government College Ughelli from 1977 to 1983 and the University of Nigeria, Nsukka from 1983 to 1987 where he graduated with a Bachelors degree in Accountancy (2nd Class Honours Upper Division). Olorogun Okumagba also qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 1991 and he is presently a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (FCA).

He started his working career at the International financial services firm Arthur Andersen & Co (now KPMG) in 1988. He later worked in several banks from 1991 to 2007. His banking career commenced at Oceanic Bank Plc in the Financial Control/Strategy as well as the Corporate Banking Divisions from 1991 to 1994. Thereafter, he worked in Crystal Bank, Fidelity Bank Plc, First Atlantic Bank Plc and United Bank for Africa Plc from 1994 to 2007. He held several positions at these banks including Senior Manager, Corporate Banking Division, Head of Internal Control/Audit Division, Bank Chief Inspector and Principal Manager, Consumer and Commercial Banking Division amongst others. He left United Bank for Africa Plc in August 2007 following his appointment as Delta State Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget. He served as Delta State Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget from August 2007 to November 2010 and was subsequently appointed Commissioner for Finance and served in that capacity from November 2010 to May 2011. He was reappointed Delta State Commissioner for Finance in July 2011 and held this position until July 2013. He is presently Chairman of Regents Consults Limited, Chairman of Nigdel Oil and Gas Limited and a Director at Abbey Mortgage Bank Plc. Bernard Oboatarhieyeren Okumagba is a Leader of the All Progressives Congress from Warri South Local Government Area of Delta State.




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