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NDDC Board: Coalition dismisses claim by ‘WCF’

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The Delta South Peoples’ Coalition has dismissed the statement of a faceless group, Warri Consultative Forum (WCF), led by one Amachi Ogbonna, giving a false narrative on the indigeneship of Chief Bernard Okumagba.

The group, in a position statement signed by its President, Ebikibina Johngold; General-Secretary, Misan Omatseye and Publicity Secretary, Ovie Oghenejobo, stated that Okumagba, paternally, is from Warri South Local Council, which is an oil producing area, while he is maternally from Udu Local Council, which is also an oil producing area, both of Delta State.

It noted that: “it is mischievous for anyone to try to play up narrow interests, hiding behind lies and spurious claims. We commend the high professional qualities of Okumagba and his avowed non-tribal disposition, which has seen his appointment by President Muhammadu Buhari in October 2019 and confirmation by the Senate in November 2019 as Managing Director of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) receiving kudos from Niger Deltans,” the group said.

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It warned against distraction as the President is set to inaugurate NDDC board, saying it is looking forward to “the smooth take-off of the board to meet the developmental goals of the region.”

Stressing that the appointee is adequately qualified for the new role, the group said: “Chief Okumagba attended the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, from 1983 to 1987, where he graduated with a B.sc degree in Accountancy (2nd Class Honours Upper Division) and qualified as a chartered accountant in 1991 and has been a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (FCA) for many years now. “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 where he served in Financial Control/Strategy as well as the Corporate Banking Divisions from 1991 to 1994.

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“Thereafter, he worked in Fidelity Bank Plc and United Bank for Africa Plc among others from 1994 to 2007. He held several positions at these banks including senior manager, corporate banking; head of internal control/audit division; chief inspector; principal manager, consumer and commercial banking 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 re-appointed Delta State Commissioner for Finance in July 2011 and held this position until July 2013.”

Continuing the Group added that “he is currently Chairman of Regents Consults Limited; Chairman of Nigdel Energy Limited and a director of Tidal Exploration and Production Limited. Okumagba is a prominent leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Warri South Local Council of Delta State.”

The group therefore stated that “we believe that at this time when the Federal Government has committed to inaugurate NDDC Board, the focus should not be on primordial parochial and mischievous agenda. We will not allow divisive and partisan characters to confuse the process.”

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