The Ondo State Government has joined the fray on faulting the nomination of members of the board of the Niger Delta Development Commission, insisting that it is the turn of the state to produce the boards Chief Executive Officer.

It also threw its weight behind lawmakers who rose against the nomination of Charles Ogunmola, who was nominated as Executive Director, Projects.

After several petitions from the lawmakers from the state against the nomination of Mr Ogunmola, the Senate on NDDC on Thursday rejected his nomination on the ground it was not in tandem with the provisions of NDDC Act 2000.

Although Mr Ogunmola is from Owo, in Ondo State, he is not from the oil producing area of the state as required by the Act.

There are however fears that the rejection of Mr Ogunmola could jeopardise the chances of the state to get the President’s nomination, especially for the top job of the commission.

“Our Senators have taken the step of courage and have refused to accept arbitrariness, when it is evident that it is the path of least resistance,” a statement by the Commissioner for Information, Bamidele Ademola-Olateju, said on Friday.

“Instead, they have done the right thing by their fearless, selfless and rightful rejection of any infraction on legal authorities, including that, in reference, with regards to the nomination of anyone outside what the NDDC Act stipulates.

“Their resolve, can only strengthen our oneness and peculiar status as the only oil-producing State in the Southwest, for now. This is one shrewd bipartisan political collaboration worthy of huge commendations.

“If feelers at our disposal are anything to rely upon, it is heart-warming to note, that, on the strength of the resistance and joint rejection by our Senators, the Senate Committee on Niger Delta has rejected the nomination of Mr Charles Ogunmola as nominee for the position of Executive Director, Projects of the NDDC.

“Going by the provisions of the NDDC Act, 2000, and with specific reference to the position of the Managing Director, it is the turn of Ondo State to produce the next Chief Executive of the Commission.

“We have done what is required by Law overtime, to pursue this worthy cause. We shall continue to reactivate all efforts even beyond today, to achieve this aim for our State.

“Notwithstanding, we urge our Distinguished Senators to sustain this courageous pursuit, for it to berth successfully.

“We count on them to zealously guide and guard their conscionably displayed passion for the people of the oil-producing areas of Ondo State. We are in congruence with them, as they monitor events between now and the next plenary session, where their report is most likely to be submitted and debated.

“However, the next collective battle is for all hands to be on deck to achieve what is most desirable in the immediate. Put simply, we must all work together to ensure that Ondo State is not short-changed under the flimsy guise of our ‘rejection of an earlier opportunity’.

“The next EDP of the NDDC is still for the mandate areas of Ondo State to produce. We shall give whatever it takes to achieve this. For this reason, we will ensure a more robust, holistic stakeholders engagement, in a matter of days.”

The senators from the state, Robert Ajayi Boroffice (Ondo North), Pius Akinyelure (Ondo Central) and Nicholas Tofowomo (Ondo South), had unanimously kicked against Ogunmola’s nomination, arguing that the nominee is from Owo in the northern senatorial district of the state as against the oil-producing Ilaje and Ese-Odo local council areas in the southern part of the state.

Explaining the reasons for Ogunmola’s rejection, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions and Senator representing Ondo Central, Ayo Akinyelure said that President Muhammadu Buhari must have been misinformed about the nomination.

“Though Mr. Charles Ogunmola is from Ondo State he is not from the oil producing area of Ondo State and that was why the three Senators from Ondo State unanimously rejected his nomination,” he had said.

However, Akinyelure urged Mr Buhari to “kindly re-forward another qualified person to be screened on the Board of NDDC to represent the good people of Ondo State.”

Mr Ogunmola, from Owo, a non-oil producing area of Ondo State, was nominated by the President in November along with 15 other persons, as the Executive Director of Projects in the NDDC board.

The NDDC committee had done the screening and a report is likely to be laid before the Senate on Tuesday next week for confirmation of the nominees.

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