Skip to main content

Ondo Lawyers Petition Nigerian Senate President To Reject Ogunmola’s Nomination As Director Of Projects At Niger Delta Agency, NDDC

NDDC
December 6, 2022

The group further alleged that Ogunmola is not qualified for the nominated position, considering the requirement stated by the Niger Delta Development Commission (Establishment, etc) Act.

A coalition of legal practitioners from Ilaje town in the Ilaje Local Government Area of Ondo State under the platform of Ilaje Lawyers Forum has called for the upholding of the Nigerian Senate's rejection of the nomination of Mr. Charles B. Ogunmola for the position of the Executive Director, Projects (EDP) of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

This was noted in a petition sent to the office of the Nigerian Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, urging the Senate to invite President Muhammadu Buhari to nominate any qualified individual (from the Ilaje Constituency of the llaje LGA) to the position of EDP after consulting with the Governor of Ondo State and llaje LGA stakeholders.

The petition reads: “We are the sole body of all lawyers of laje extraction from Illaje Local Government Area (LGA) of Ondo State and we hereby write this petition in a representative capacity, of the long suffering citizens, of all producing llaje LGA.

“We are petition your noble office in protest against the arbitrary and illegal nomination of one Mr. Charles B. Ogunmola ("Mr. Ogunmola") for the position of the Executive Director, Projects (EDP) of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, pursuant to his letter to your goodself dated 21" October 2022.

“Please see page 2 of the said letter where Mr. Ogunmola was listed as Nominee No. 15. We hereby appeal to your noble office to refuse the confirmation of the said Mr. Ogunmola for the EDP position.”

The group further alleged that Ogunmola is not qualified for the nominated position, considering the requirement stated by the Niger Delta Development Commission (Establishment, etc) Act.

The letter continued, “Our protest, appeal and demands are premised on the provisions of the Niger Delta Development Commission (Establishment, etc) Act, Cap. N86, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 as amended ("NDDC Act") and the fact that Mr. Ogunmola is not in any way qualified for the position by law. For clarity, Section 12(1) NDDC Act provides in part that: Delta (Ilaje LGA in this instance) thus adding Mr. Ogunmola to the list of non-indigenes wielding unfavourable Influence against our people, in an agency established for us and our environment, will be too grave an injustice against us.

“Permit us to draw your kind attention to a previous attempt to foist an Owo indigene on us when by law, only an indigene of Ilaje LGA can occupy these positions. In 2016, Mr. Adetokunbo Ajasin (son of our beloved former Governor, Pa Adekunle Ajasin) was deliberately but unlawfully nominated for the NDDC position. Pursuant to public outcry (including petitions and litigation), the Senate quashed the nomination and subsequently, an llaje man was appointed to the NDDC Board.

“Distinguished Senate President, section 2(2) NDDC Act wisely (and mandatorily) Inserted checks and balances on the nomination powers of the President regarding appointment of qualified persons to the Board of NDDC, making same subject to the confirmation of the Senate acting in consultation with the House of Representatives. It is therefore our bellef and conviction that the Senate is obligated to exercise its statutory powers in line with the law by rejecting the nomination of Mr. Ogunmola as EDP, NDDC. Furthermore, we expect that the Honourable Member representing laje/Ese-Odo Federal Constituency (the only mandate area of NDDC In Ondo State), will be consulted in reaching a decision on this. We are aware that he has already submitted a petition dated 25 November 2022 to your esteemed office on this issue.

“As an aside, we also note that Ondo State is yet to produce the Managing Director (MD) of NDDC, pursuant to section 12(1) NDDC Act; however, we will abide the next round of nomination when the MD should come from Ondo State, and by extension, Ilaje LGA.”
In light of the foregoing, the group hereby demands that: “1. The Senate withhold its consent/decline to approve nomination or appointment of Mr. Charles B. Ogunmola as EDP, NDDC; his nomination being arbitrary, unlawful, ultra vires, perverse, insensitive and in flagrant disregard to the plight and suffering of the citizens of the oil producing areas of Ilaje LGA of Ondo State:

“2. In order not to create a vacuum, we suggest that the Senate Invite the President (in consultation with the Governor of Ondo State, and he in turn, in consultation with llaje LGA stakeholders), to nominate any eligible person (from Ilaje Constituency of llaje LGA), to the position of EDP, given the manifest ineligibility of Mr. Ogunmola. Such fresh nomination needs to be urgently undertaken to ensure that the new nominee can be considered alongside other nominees:

"There shall be for the Commission, a Managing Director, and two Executive Directors who shall be Indigenes of oil producing areas starting with the member States of the Commission with the highest production quantum of all and shall rotate amongst member States in the order of production..."

“Distinguished Senate President Sir, Mr. Ogunmola is undeniably from Owo in Owo LCA of Ondo State, and not from Ilaje LGA the only oil producing LGA in Ondo State. The manifest height of this aberration is exemplified by the fact that Owo is in Ondo North Senatorial District, whilst laje LGA in Ondo South Senatorial District, encapsulates the entire Ondo State coastline (Nigeria's longest State coastline). Owo is entirely upland (in the tropical rainforest region), and does not suffer in any form whatsoever, from the environmental Impact of oil production which is aggressively ravaging the riverine Ilaje LGA (in the Niger Delta, with muddy sea-shore and generally hostile environment exacerbated by adverse ecology of oil production).

“Thus, the essence of establishing the NDDC as a development focused interventionist agency will be defeated, if the nomination of a non-indigene like Mr. Ogunmola is approved as EDP of an area that he does not even understand. This is apart from the fact that such appointment is actually ultra vires section 12(1) NDDC Act, and the Senate must not be seen to uphold indefensible illegality. Furthermore, as ministers in the temple of justice, and interested stakeholders in seeing that the mandatory provisions of the NDDC Act are complied with in furtherance of NDDC and Federal Government's policy objectives for NDDC mandate areas, we are compelled to entreat your intervention.

“We are particularly concerned, given that the Executive Governor of Ondo State, Arakunrin Rotimi Akeredolu, SAN also hails from Owo; we thus believe that the illegal nomination may have to do with Mr. Ogunmola and Mr. Governor's relationship as indigenes of Owo. If the ultra vires nomination is allowed to stand, it will be an additional slap on the faces of our Ilaje LGA citizens, who have had little to show for their status as being from oil producing LGA. It is on record that flaje LCA has suffered monumental neglect, relative to all other oll producing areas in the Niger Delta, Part of the mistreatment is typified by Hon. Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo (Akoko North East/Akoko North West), being the current Chairman of the House Committee on NDDC-a slot allocated to Ondo State, but denied to laje/Ese-Odo Federal Constituency (being the oil producing part of Ondo State), that ought to naturally occupy it.

“Hon. Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo's tenure has only witnessed the channeling of most Ondo State NDDC projects to his constituency in Akoko and other parts of Ondo North Senatorial District to the detriment of llaje LGA or llaje Ese-Odo Federal Constituency. Thus recent NDDC projects in Ondo State are apportioned on considerations inconsistent with the mandate of the NDDC and its lawful focus on the all producing communities of the Niger-

“3. The Senate and the National Assembly continue to exercise their NDDC oversight responsibilities, to the effect that there is full compliance with the provisions of the NDDC Act by ALL stakeholders. We trust that you will accord the weighty issues in this Petition the due attention and necessary action that it deserves, in order to obviate avoidable litigation.”