Friday, 12 July 2013



Following the near expiration of the tenure of the serving Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Mr. Christian Oboh and Akwa Ibom’s turn to present the next MD for the Commission, state Governor Godswill Akpabio has been thrown into confusion as he intensifies the search for whom to present to the presidency for clearance into that position.

It was gathered that the tenure of Oboh may soon come to an end and shortly before Oboh’s tenure run full cycle, he will have to proceed on a terminal leave and from there he will exit the stage.  After Oboh, the next MD will have to come from Akwa Ibom State.  The state Governor Godswill Akpabio is expected to send not more than two nominees to the presidency for subsequent ratification, approval and confirmation. While attempting to do this, he has landed in trouble as politicians and their likes have mounted several pressures on the state Governor.

THE INK was informed that the State Governor Godswill Akpabio is strongly considering his serving Special Adviser on Technical Matters, Engr. Etido Inyang and the MD/CEO of Mutual Alliance Company, Mr. Okon Amasi but with the former being highly preferred by Akpabio.  Etido Inyang hails from Ikot Ekpene Local Government Area while Okon Amasi hails from Oron LGA.

Sources within the ranks and file of Akpabio’s kitchen cabinet have also hinted the newspaper that Akpabio is also considering his brother and Secretary to the PDP in the state, Ibanga Akpabio in the line-up.  Another person who has also been linked to the job as one of Akpabio’s likely proposed is works commissioner, Don Etim.  But a source from the Ministry of Information argued the Don Etim’s link stressing that the Governor is comfortable with the man serving in the works ministry of the state. As according to him Don Etim knows how to handle the likes of Julius Berger, CCECC, Setraco and other construction companies currently working in the state.

Further checks by this paper reveal that since Akpabio is not to send more than two nominees to the presidency for that position, he is at least for now very much comfortable with his two nominees of Etido Inyang and Okon Amasi. The belief in some quarters that the present commissioner representing Akwa Ibom State in the Board of the NDDC Engr. Imaobong Inyang may be elevated was dashed as it is not in the plans of Governor Akpabio to nominate him for a bigger portfolio in NDDC. The newspaper gathered that the best the governor can do for Engr. Imaobong Inyang is to re nominate him to represent the state at the board where he is currently serving.

The imminent snub of Engr. Imaobong Inyang whom our reporter learnt had been working behind the scenes to get a higher calling has not really gone down well with the Esit Eket born Engineer.  But those close to Inyang in an interaction said Imaobong Inyang is still on top of his game and may likely emerge if as according to them, he plays his cards well. By playing his cards well our source who is a staff of NDDC in Rivers state said Engr. Inyang must have build a network of friends in the NDDC and the presidency and if he can lobby very well, he will get the nod from the presidency.

Earlier, there were reports (not in THE INK) that Sir Emem Akpabio was rejected by the presidency for that position.  It was however not confirmed as at press time. But a likely source told the newspaper over the weekend that Sir Emem Akpabio was actually not rejected as the name couldn’t get to the presidency. Our source told our reporter that Governor Godswill Akpabio was advised against sending the name of Emem Akpabio his brother to the presidency and after the Governor was roundly convinced by a presidential source on why the name of his brother Emem Akpabio should not be sent to the presidency, the Governor had to immediately withdraw Sir Emem for someone else. Political calculators and even supporters of Sir Emem Akpabio had argued that the sending of Emem Akpabio to the presidency by the Governor for approval was not in the best interest of the state. One of the political leaders from Abak told our reporter that nominating Sir Emem for the NDDC top job will mean Governor Akpabio has taken nepotism too far.   Checks by this reporter concerning Don Etim being linked to the job was shaky. 

Normally, the tenure of NDDC officials is always four years but following the abrupt dissolution of the previous Exco, the present serving officers of NDDC was brought in to complete that tenure.  Akwa Ibom State this time will have to produce the MD of the body.  But this will not stop the state from having a representative at the board.  And for this reason, a lot of lobby has been going on between members of the state who have an interest in any of the positions. 
For the serving commissioner Imaobong Inyang, it is likely he may not get a reappointment if information available to this reporter is anything to be relied upon.  A Government House source hinted THE INK on condition of anonymity that Akpabio is less than satisfied with the representation of Imaobong Inyang to deserve a reappointment. But the newspaper learnt that there are behind the scene moves that Engr. Imaobong Inyang is employing and if the moves sail through, then that may help Engr. Imaobong Inyang get his reappointment straight from Abuja especially if he plays his cards well.

Engr. Etido Inyang and Okon Amasi are silently working hard to get favour from the presidency.  As the battle shifts gradually, an Abuja source informed THE INK that the nation’s first lady Dame Patience Jonathan has become interested in the NDDC positions and that politician and their surrogates have began intensive lobby to the first lady for favour.

Speaking on the composition of membership of the MD, chairman and state representatives of the commission, a source close to the seat of power in Nigeria maintained that state Governors will always send nominees and that the presidency have always honoured such.  He added that for the position of the Chairman and MD, state Governors are always encouraged to send nominees but that it is the exclusive prerogative of the president to pick either from the nominee of a state Governor or the president can look elsewhere and pick someone of his choice from the state such position is zoned to.  It could be recalled that during Obasanjo’s tenure as president of the country, the state was to produce the chairman of NDDC. 

 Obong Attah had sent the name of Major (Gen.) Edet Akpan (rtd) to the presidency but Obasanjo had gone ahead to pick Ambassador Sam Edem for the NDDC Chairmanship.  And with this, if President Goodluck Jonathan will go ahead to name his MD from Akwa Ibom State outside the Governor’s nominee, it won’t be the first time and it won’t be illegal and out of place.

The tenure of the present team of NDDC is to expire by next month.

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