Written by Odimegwu Onwumere
The quest for who will man the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) is taking the shape of the 2011 presidential elections, where ‘it was zoning’ and ‘it was not zoning’ characterized the Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) primary elections. A lot of people are saying that the NDDC chairman must come from their zone, while others are lobbying Aso Rock with the help of their state governors and the big wigs in Nigeria thereby putting the mind of President Goodluck Jonathan in a corner, perhaps not to take a conscientous decision that would produce who chairs the NDDC.
If the the Presidency is bent on listening to lobbyists for the appointment of persons into the new board and management of the agency, Jonathan will find it very hard to appoint someone who will take into cognizance the bedeviled plights of the people of Niger Delta, and by extension, Nigerians at large, and harness them. This is the time to seprate politicians from technocrats in the appointment, because technocrats who are into politics are dangerous in any appointment more than a wounded python. They concentrate much on work-politics inlure of the job. This is the time to seprate religion, region and personality. Whoever that should be appointed must be on a genuine ground. The agency must be seprated from politics and politicians if Nigerians are truly looking for result-oriented features devoid of godfatherism which many people think has gone on errand in the country, whereas the practice is still very much in vogue.
There is no amount of pressure by lobbyists on the Presidency that should make Jonathan be sidelined by key officials of the Presidency to appoint against his mind. What made the management and board of the commission was sacked by President Jonathan on September 13, 2011 in line with the recommendations of the Oronsaye Committee, should not be allowed to repeat self.
While Jonathan has given a nod for a quick replacement of the ousted leadership of the commission, his conscience should be quick to fulfill his promise because this issue is taking a long time. He should brave up and step on toes to make the appointment. Recycling of politicians in such a sensitive Commission should be eschewd.
Jonathan sould not be hoodwinked in appointing any loyalists of politicians or members of the Oronsanye Panel into NDDC, because the appointee might not give the expectant result wanted in the Commission. If Jonathan does the contrary, his action would cast doubt on his promise of making and bringing the change needed in Nigeria. Any person or group that brought the downfall of the other for his selfish gains should not be exalted.
Jonathan should know those scheming to become the chairman of the board of the commission and those who want to do the job and appoint them. The later is preferable. He should not neglect those from outside the Niger Delta, because among them, the LEADER could be. This appointment should not create serious credibility crisis as we can see.
The sincere intention of the Presidency to reposition the commission should not be traded. The trend of recommendation should be stopped. Jonathan should know that he needs to make Nigerians happy in this appointment so that the questions of many Nigerians in the rationale behind the dissolution of the former leadership of the commission would be in the affirmative. Many Nigerians had said that it was wrong for President Jonathan to punish the old members equally because not all sacked members could be corrupt. They even said that the dissolution by the president was a mudslinger action that contravened the provisions of the NDDC Act, where a mandatory and statutory tenure for the management and board of the agency was relegated.
Jonathan would receive vituperations and venoms if he goes by his conscience, but that will safe Nigerians and the commission further embarrassment. He should be careful of a few self-seeking lobbyists for this job, because they could hide their deceptive and treacherous tendencies. These people will never find any fault in his government. They are just rabble-rousers. They want their own favour. They go from office to office, from one political party to the other. They are not ready to be stable.
Those who have had cause to help NDDC have never, but here they are looking for the job. How many suggestions and essays have they written to foster the dissolved NDDC? But you will hear them saying today that they are professionals who the work should go to. Anyway, have we not seen professionals messed up in the course of their duties, whereas those we never expected that they will perform made us proud? Professionals indeed!
If Jonathan wants to get it right this time in the NDDC, the issue of ‘illustrious son of the Niger Delta’ should be reviewed, because not all the people who are from the Niger Delta are ‘illustrious sons and daughters’ in the real sense of ‘illustrious’ especially when the issue has to do with the management of money. Well meaning Nigerians can attest to this fact. Not all Nigerians are also ‘illustrious Nigerians’ when it comes to leadership.
Buttressing this point, we have seen what many ‘seasoned administrators with professional degrees and management skills’ have caused this nation in their different public offices. So, Jonathan must be deaf on hearing such image laundering statements such as ‘illustrious’ and ‘professionals’, because not all that glitters is gold. He must follow his mind. This is the only thing that would direct him finely in not making the wrong choice. It is not one’s Curriculum Vitae (CV) that does the job.
Odimegwu Onwumere is the Coordinator, Concerned Non-Indigenes In Rivers State (CONIRIV). Mobile: +2348032552855. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org