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Buhari asks Senate to confirm Onochie NDDC Board Chairman



President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday asked the Senate to confirm the appointment of his Special Adviser on Social Media, Lauretta Onochie, as the substantive Chairman of the Board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).

Buhari’s letter which was read at plenary by the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, also nominated 15 others as members of the Board.

Other board members are Dimgba Erugba State representative (Abia, South-East); Dr Ene Wilcox (Akwa Ibom, State Representative, South-South); Dr Pius Odudu (Edo, South-South); Hon. Gbenga Odegba (Ondo, South-West) and Engr. Anthony Ekene (Imo, South-East).

Also on the board list are Mr. Onyekachi Dimgba (Rivers, South-South); Alhaji Mohammed Kabiru Abubakar (Zonal Representative, Nasarawa); Professor Tallen Mamma, SAN (North-East Representative, Adamawa); Sodique Sani (North-West, Zonal Representative); General Charles Ehigie Airhiavbere (Rtd) (Executive Director of Finance) and Charles Ogunmola (Executive Director Project, South-West).

It was gathered that Onochie beat Chief Albert Okumagba a nominee of the Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege to clinch the position.

Some analysts are already speculating that her appointment may trigger resistance as she is not from the oil producing community of Delta State.

Buhari had, in October 2020, nominated Onochie as National Commissioner of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to represent Delta State.

Her nomination was greeted with massive protest with many opposition politicians and civil society groups calling for her rejection on the grounds that she was too partisan to serve in a sensitive institution like INEC.

She was also accused of being a card-carrying member of All Progressives Congress (APC), a claim she denied three times during her screening.

However, the Senate eventually rejected her nomination, saying that it violated federal character principle.

The Chairman of the screening Panel, Senator Kabiru Gaya, said that there was as at that time a serving Commissioner of INEC from Delta State, where Onochie hails from, and confirming her appointment would violate constitutional provision.

President Buhari also resent her name in 2021 but the Senate, on Tuesday, July 13, also rejected her nomination as a National Commissioner of the Independent National Electoral Commission.

Chairman of the Committee, Kabiru Gaya, in his report, said Onochie did not satisfy the provisions of the Federal Character Principles.

The Senate at the committee of the whole subsequently voted against her nomination.

Chairman of the Committee, Senator Kabiru Gaya (APC, Kano South), in his presentation, said the Committee received several petitions against the nomination of Onochie.

He disclosed that the petitions against Lauretta Onochie were against the backdrop of her involvement in politics and alleged membership of a political party.

Onochie, until the current appointment, served as President Buhari’s special assistant on New Media.

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