Tinubu Revisits NDDC Appointment, Sack Lauretta Onochie, Others

The federal government has dissolved the board of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).This development came on the heels of President Bola Tinubu’s decision to dissolve the governing boards of all federal government parastatals, agencies, institutions, and government-owned companies on Monday evening, June 19.

The members of the dissolved NDDC board include the chairman, Lauretta Onochie, Samuel Ogbokwu, managing director (MD), Dimgba Erugba, Emem Willcox Wills, Denyanbofa Dimaro, Orok Duke, and Pius Odudu.

Other members of the board include Anthony Ekenne, Gbenga Edema, Elekwachi Dimkpa, Mohammed Kabir Abubakar, Alhaji Sadiq Sami Sule, and Tahir Mamman, Charles Airhiavbere, and Charles Ogunmola.

Willie Bassey, the director of information, office of the secretary general of the federation (SGF), while speaking on the development on Monday, said that until such a time when new boards are constituted, the chief executive officers of the parastatals, agencies, and government-owned companies, including NDDC, are expected to refer matters requiring the attention of their boards to the president, through the permanent secretaries of their respective supervisory ministries, agencies, and offices.

It is pertinent to note that the senate, in December 2022, confirmed the appointment of the special assistant on new media to former president Muhammadu Buhari, Lauretta Onochie, as the substantive chairman of the NDDC.

The senate, on Tuesday, December 20, 2022, also confirmed 12 others as members of the NDDC governing board.

Consequently, the federal government, on January 4, 2023, inaugurated the governing board of the NDDC.

The inauguration, which came barely few months to the end of the tenure of the Buhari-led administration, was enmeshed in numerous crisis with pending court cases at the federal high court.

Recall that some major stakeholders in Ilaje local government area of Ondo state, in January 2023, asked the federal high court, Abuja, to stop former president Muhammadu Buhari, from inaugurating the governing board of NDDC, pending the hearing and determination of the suit challenging the nomination of Charles Ogunmola as the executive director, projects, of the NDDC.

The plaintiffs in the case led by the former clerk of the national assembly and also chairman, board of trustees of Ugboland Development Congress, Oluyemi Ogunyomi, Adebowale Karaki, and Mann Ali, trustee and secretary of Ugboland Development Congress, respectively, predicated the case on the grounds that Ogunmola is from Owo in the northern axis of Ondo state and not an indigene of the oil-producing area of the state.

The defendants include former president Muhammadu Buhari, the national assembly, the senate, the immediate past attorney-general of the federation, Abubakar Malami, and Charles B. Ogunmola.

In the suit filed on January 3, 2023, by a human rights activist, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, the plaintiffs are seeking an order of injunction to restrain the president from inaugurating, recognizing or dealing with Ogunmola as the executive director, projects of the NDDC, since he was not an indigene of the oil producing area of the state.

Specifically, the plaintiffs are seeking, “an order of interlocutory injunction restraining the 1st to 4th respondents whether by themselves, their servants or agents and/ or privies from taking any step or further step in treating and/or dealing with or in any manner according the 5th respondent the status of executive director of projects of the NDDC, pending the hearing and final determination of the originating summons herein.”

They also asked for another order restraining the fifth respondent from presenting himself out or in any manner parading himself or performing the functions and duties of executive director of projects of NDDC, pending the hearing and final determination of the originating summons herein

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