The recent appointments to the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) board and management by the Tinubu Presidency have sparked controversy. Members of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) are questioning whether their loyalty and efforts during the 2023 elections have been overlooked.
Former President Buhari inaugurated the NDDC board in January, only to see it disbanded by President Tinubu with the appointment of new members earlier this week. Notably, some members of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have been included in the new appointments, raising eyebrows among APC supporters.
Lauretta Onochie, a prominent Buhari supporter, who chaired the previous board, was conspicuously absent from the new appointments. However, Dr. Samuel Ogbuku, the Managing Director/CEO of the commission, retained his position. Among the new appointees, Chiedu Ebie stands out as a lawyer hailing from Delta State and a former PDP member.
Ebie’s appointment has garnered attention as he was reportedly campaigning for the PDP’s ticket in the presidential election last February. Some reports suggest he was suspended by his Delta ward for anti-party activities, but his current party allegiance remains unconfirmed. It’s worth noting that his appointment was allegedly facilitated by former Governor James Ibori, known to be close to President Tinubu.
Similarly, the appointments in Ondo and Rivers States have raised concerns among APC loyalists. Victor Kolade Akinjo, a former PDP member who openly campaigned against Tinubu, was chosen as the Ondo State representative on the NDDC board. A video of Akinjo criticizing Tinubu surfaced online, adding fuel to the controversy.
The appointments are seen by some political observers as a strategy to build bridges into the political landscape of Delta, Ondo, and Rivers States, possibly in preparation for future elections. The inclusion of PDP members has drawn criticism from within the APC, as party loyalists feel overlooked in favor of political opponents.
President Tinubu’s decision to appoint PDP members to the NDDC board is raising questions about his commitment to rewarding APC members and supporters. As APC members in various states continue to express their dissatisfaction, the controversy surrounding these appointments remains a topic of debate.