NDDC: Omene should shut up, does not represent UPU
The interview credited to Chief Joe Omene published in some online media, wherein he stated that the Urhobo are satisfied with the appointment and performance of the interim management committee (IMC) of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) is clearly a publicity stunt stage-managed by those who seek endorsement of illegality by the Urhobos. This is because Chief Omene does not represent the Urhobo people in whatever capacity. He is at best a wayfarer in search of bread and butter.
It was even shameful that those who pushed him forward sought to dress Chief Omene in the borrowed robes of the President-General of Urhobo Progress Union (UPU), the apex sociocultural organization of the Urhobo people. For clarity, Chief Omene is not recognised anywhere in Urhoboland as UPU President General or as a significant person in whatever capacity. His published remarks, which are not only jaundiced but clearly in conflict with the general position of the Urhobo people, further confirm why he is not in reckoning in the Urhobo nation. His remarks should therefore not attract any significant attention.
In the published interview, Omene made fictional remarks to the effect that the Urhobo nation is satisfied with the performance of the IMC. He even went further to cast aspersions on the integrity of the National Assembly for its decision to investigate the activities of the IMC. This is no doubt the creative product of a hungry character, one who craves morsels from the tables of persons being investigated in the IMC.
We know for a fact that Omene has been in this business of trading compliments for patronage. No true Urhobo leader can be such a lickspittle as to ignore issues of law, due process and transparency as to commend in overflowing adjectives the desecration of these attributes as Omene has done in the case of the IMC of the NDDC. It should be clear to all now why he didn’t earn our trust to lead the UPU, which is headed, with the endorsement of all Urhobo traditional rulers and Urhobos in general, by Olorogun (Dr) Moses Taiga, an accomplished oil industry Titan.
Omene ought to be reserved and circumspect in his remarks, yet he laboured to make light of the serious issues raised in the allegations of Corruption in the NDDC under the IMC. In short, Omene allowed himself to be twisted to endorse a contraption not known to law and to defend the indefensible corruption that has taken place under the IMC as alleged.
We have long advocated for a forensic audit of the NDDC but do not believe that it is an excuse for further corruption, as has been alleged by different groups on which basis the National Assembly has decided to investigate the IMC of the NDDC. Corruption in all its facets must be opposed and must never be justified under any guise. This is our position and why we advise Chief Omene and those of his ilk who misrepresent the Urhobos to desist from doing so. As a group, the Urhobos are legitimate stakeholders in the oil and gas industry and the issues bordering on the development of the Niger Delta Region, and will not be relegated whether by external actors or by internal collaborators like Omene.
The Corruption allegations made against the IMC are in the public domain and before the National Assembly. The Senate and House of Representatives have duly set up Committees to investigate those allegations, which is within their constitutional obligation as lawmakers (as per Section 88 of the Nigerian Constitution). They should be allowed to do their job in line with their mandate to oversight ministries departments and agencies (MDAs) of which the NDDC is one.
The IMC itself is an illegality. The NDDC Act only recognises a Governing Board appointed by the President and duly confirmed by the National Assembly. Nobody is supposed to proceed to begin to administer the funds of the NDDC without confirmation / clearance by the National Assembly. The already screened / confirmed Governing Board in line with the NDDC Act should be inaugurated to manage the NDDC without any further delay. We hereby urge the National Assembly to liaise with President Muhammadu Buhari for this to be effected in line with the Law.
Mr Akpomedaye Emuveyan
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