Exclusive: Tinubu appoints PDP members into NDDC board, Ondo appointee once abused him

Chiedu Ebie, Akinjo and Boma Iyaye all PDP members

Chiedu Ebie, Akinjo and Boma Iyaye all PDP members

Concerned members of the ruling All Progressives Congress are wondering whether the party they supported to win the 2023 election will ever reward them as they watched the Tinubu Presidency pack the board and management of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) with some members of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party.

Former President Buhari inaugurated in January the board disbanded by President Tinubu with the appointment of new members on Tuesday.

Lauretta Onochie, a Buhari big supporter, chaired the old board with Dr. Samuel Ogbuku from Bayelsa as the Managing Director / CEO of the commission.

The board and management of the commission had barely spent six months when they were swept away along with other boards of government agencies dissolved by President Tinubu in the early days of his government.

When members of the new board and management were announced on Monday, Onochie was conspicuously missing, while Ogbuku survived the Tinubu axe. Another survivor was Senator Dimaro Denyanbofa who represented Bayelsa.

But the new chairman, Chiedu Ebie, a lawyer, appointed for the commission surprised APC supporters and officials, especially from Delta State, where he comes from.

As at Monday when he was appointed, he was a card carrying member of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party(PDP), though some reports said he was suspended by his ward in Delta for anti-party activities. He was not known to have renounced his membership.

Watchers of Delta politics said he campaigned for Peter Obi-Datti ticket, and not Atiku-Okowa in the presidential election last February after falling out with Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, who appointed him Government secretary in 2019. In 2015, Ebie was appointed by Okowa as commissioner for Basic and Secondary Education. He served as commissioner for four years.

His appointment on the NDDC board was reportedly facilitated by former Governor James Ibori, who is a close friend of President Bola Tinubu.

Ibori also facilitated the appointment of another staunch PDP member, Monday Igbuya as the Delta representative on the board.

Igbuya was a former speaker of the Delta House of Assembly who was impeached in 2017 and replaced by Sheriff Oborevwori, now governor of Delta.

In anger, Igbuya joined the All Progressives Congress to contest election into the House of Representatives. Four years later, in December 2021, he returned to the PDP, where he was accepted back into the fold by former Governor Ifeanyi Okowa at a big ceremony in Sapele Stadium on 22 October 2021.

Although months later, Igbuya returned to APC after Oborevwori was nominated as PDP governorship flag bearer, there was no indication that he worked for the victory of President Tinubu in Delta state. But he was known to have campaigned for the governorship candidate Senator Ovie Omo-Agege.

The belief is that Igbuya is not APC enough, in a state where there are party members who have been around and loyal since 2014.

One political commentator said in giving the appointments, and in giving patronage to Ibori boys, President Tinubu and his strategists may already be building bridges into Delta political space in preparation for 2027.

As in Delta, so it is in Ondo state. President Tinubu again overlooked APC loyalists in picking Ondo State representative on the board of NDDC, although he gave the executive directorship of corporate services to party man Ifedayo Abegunde, a former secretary to the government of Governor Rotimi Akeredolu.

The Ondo representative slot went to Victor Kolade Akinjo, a former member of the House of Representatives and PDP member who lost his third term bid to an APC candidate in the last election.

Some APC loyalists in the state told P.M.News that the appointment was a big slap on them, especially as Akinjo campaigned vigorously against Tinubu during the election.

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On Tuesday, a video, where Akinjo spoke derisively and mockingly against Tinubu was trending in the social media. The video was dated 10 June 2022. He is seen in the video abusing Tinubu for his inability to hold a paper to read after his victory at the APC primary election. He even said Tinubu suffers from some paralysis.

“This is the message he was spreading across the length and breath of our federal constituency and to now reward such action with an appointment such as this is indeed a slap on the face of those who worked to tirelessly to ensure emergence of our president”, a member of the party lamented on a WhatsApp platform.

According to P.M.News investigation, Akinjo was nominated by the Minister of Interior, Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo. They bonded while they were both members of the House of Representatives in the 9th National Assembly. The nomination, according to sources got the stamp of approval of the Chief of Staff to the President, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila, who was the former Speaker of the House. The friendship between Tunji-Ojo is such that Akinjo accompanied the minister to his screening by the Senate last month, sources said.

In Rivers State, President Tinubu also gave the powerful post of  Executive Director for Finance and admin of the NDDC to  Boma Iyaye, an accountant and former Commissioner of Sports under Governor Nyesom Wike, who is now the FCT Minister.

Tinubu however gave some sop to APC Rivers with the nomination of Chief Tony Okocha.

Rivers APC has some peculiarities. Because of the vicelike grip former transport minister Rotimi Amaechi had on the party, some members moved tactically to seek electoral office using other platforms. Okocha, who had left PDP to join APC, left APC to run the campaign of Senator Magnus Abe, also an APC member who joined the SDP to contest the governorship election.

In Cross River, staunch APC faithful staged a protest Wednesday over the appointment of Asu Oku Okang as a representative of the state on the NDDC board.

Okang, a former commissioner for information in the state is well known as a PDP member.

The protesters said his appointment was a big error.

According to the Cross River APC, Okang’s business in the last election, was to destroy the properties of APC members in Etung LGA, where he hails from, and maim and injure APC members.

The party said some of the cases of assault have been reported to the police.

The protesters against Okang, began their march at the Eleven-eleven roundabout and headed to the APC State Secretariat; thereafter, they moved to the NDDC State Office, which was locked.

Addressing the unhappy crowd at the APC secretariat, the State Chairman, “, Barr Alphonsus Eba, said, “We are yet to recover from the injustice done on the National Women Leader position, and while we hope that Mr. President will have ample opportunity to address these twin issues, It is a call to him to put his searchlight on Cross River State.

According to him, “We want to declare Asu Okang a persona non grata and everybody that’s associated with him”, he said..

Several days after the Tinubu presidency released the list of NDDC board and management, APC members in Ondo, Rivers, Cross River and Delta are still lamenting why President Tinubu overlooked them to empower political foes.

List of NDDC board and management members appointed by Tinubu

Mr. Chiedu Ebie – Chairman – Delta
Dr. Samuel Ogbuku – Managing Director / CEO – Bayelsa 
Mr. Boma Iyaye – Executive Director (Finance and Admin) – Rivers 
Mr. Victor Antai – Executive Director (Projects) – Akwa-Ibom
Ifedayo Abegunde – Executive Director (Corporate Services) – Ondo 
Sen. Dimaro Denyanbofa – State Representative – Bayelsa 
Mr. Abasi Ndikan Nkono – State Representative – Akwa Ibom
Rt. Hon. Monday Igbuya – State Representative – Delta 
Chief Tony Okocha – State Representative – Rivers 
Hon Patrick Aisowieren – State Representative – Edo 
Mr. Kyrian Uchegbu – State Representative – Imo 
Victor Kolade Akinjo – State Representative – Ondo 
Chief Dimgba Eruba – State Representative – Abia
Mr. Asu Oku Okang – State Representative – Cross River
Hon. Nick Wende – Zonal Representative – North Central 
Hon. Namdas Abdulrazak – Zonal Representative – North East
Sen. Dr. Ibrahim Abdullahi Gobir – Zonal Representative – North West

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