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NDDC board: IIG’s statement is wrong, vexatious, mischievous and provocative – UPC

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Bernard Okumagba

Our attention has been drawn to a statement by Mr. Gbubemi Awala and Mr. Alvin Yalaju writing on behalf of “Itsekiri Interest Group (IIG)”. The statement by these persons is to say the least wrong, inaccurate, misleading, vexatious and provocative.

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We are aware of the provisions of the NDDC Act on the qualifications of persons for appointment into the Board, for which Chief Bernard Okumagba is fully qualified. Chief Okumagba hails paternally from Warri South Local Government Area of Delta State which is an Oil Producing area and maternally from Udu Local Government Area of Delta State which is also an Oil Producing Area. The attempt by the IIG to mislead the public on the issue of the lineage of Chief Bernard Okumagba is vexatious, mischievous and highly provocative.

We note that President Muhammadu Buhari nominated Chief Bernard Okumagba as Managing Director of the NDDC in October 2019. After that, he was screened by the various agencies of government and finally by the Nigerian Senate, which confirmed him on November 5, 2019.

The Urhobo Nation are legitimate oil and gas producers in the Niger Delta and hosts some of the biggest oil and gas facilities in the Niger Delta such as the Otorogun Gas Plant in Chief Bernard Okumagba’s maternal homestead. We are impacted by the operations of the oil industry. Our lands and waters have been impacted.

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Udu kingdom where Chief Bernard Okumagba hails from maternally is a major Oil and Gas producing Local Government. Udu is host to OMLs 34, 65 and the Otorogun Gas plant, the biggest Gas plant in the whole of West Africa. The Oil and Gas Facilities are managed by Nigeria Petroleum Development Company, NPDC.
Udu has been contributing hugely to the economy of this country without much to show for it in terms of infrastructural amenities. Presently the construction of the 3rd phase of the Mega gas plant in Udu land is on-going.

When President Muhammadu Buhari eventually nominated our son Chief Bernard Okumagba as Managing Director of the NDDC in October 2019, we did thank President Buhari and the National Assembly members for the subsequent confirmation of the Board Members now awaiting swearing-in by President Buhari.

We state here categorically that anyone from the Niger Delta region who goes against the generally accepted appointment of Chief Bernard Okumagba is an enemy of the Niger Delta region. We do not want a resurgence of ethnic hate and disharmony in the Niger Delta which the Itsekiri Interest Group (IIG) seems to be promoting by its inaccurate, misleading, vexatious and provocative statement.

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Chief Bernard Okumagba is known to all across Delta State and the Niger Delta as a detribalised person, a committed and patriotic Niger Deltan. Nobody can point to him as an ethnic jingoist or a discriminator. By his education, training, pedigree and origin, Chief Bernard Okumagba is eminently qualified to lead the NDDC whether as Chairman or Managing Director.

We therefore call on President Buhari to inaugurate the NDDC Board already screened and confirmed by the Nigerian Senate since November 2019.

Ufuoma Akpofure
Secretary

Otobrise Efetabore
President
This content is promoted by the Urhobo People Congress.


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