Developing story: How Esther of Ogoniland was thrown out
Facts which may likely explain why Gbene Joi Nunieh lost out as the Acting Managing Director of the NDDC are gradually emerging.
Although there are persons who are linking the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi to the travails of Barrister Nunieh, the Telegraph has learnt through impeccable sources that Senator Godswill Akpabio, Minister of Niger Delta Affairs may be responsible for the sack of the former MD.
According to information pieced together by this publication, a crisis of confidence developed between Senator Akpabio and the Ag. Managing Director months after she was sworn in.
Whereas Nunieh reportedly acknowledged the place of the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs in the supervision of the Commission, the Esther of Ogoniland as she is fondly referred to by many Ogonis may have refused to yield grounds on a number of other issues that the Minister allegedly demanded.
“We cannot explain what could have led to differences between the Minister and the Ag. MD”, one insider at the NDDC remarked.
Another staff of the Commission however noted, “It is Akpabio and nobody else who is responsible for the removal of madam.
” Madam had a clear agenda to streamline things in a manner that would improve performance and ensure that the Niger Delta people enjoy the benefits that the founding fathers of the Commission dreamt of.”
Nunieh may have been strict, even stubborn in the way she approached her mandate, but not many top players used to the old way of doing business at the Commission were comfortable with her style of leadership.
They included some members of the National Assembly and other bigwigs known to walk the corridors of power from what we have heard. This class of politicians and their associates were worried that the Ag. MD was not “good for business”, saying in some quarters she was “too stiff and too confrontational”
Recall that Nunieh who was named the Rivers Rep when a list of the board was initially forwarded by the President to the National Assembly did not attend the Senate screening.
This development had allegedly infuriated certain lawmakers who saw her stance to stay away as an insult.
Apparently affiliated to the President, Gbene Nunieh who was a member of the CPC years ago, preferred to pay absolute loyalty to the Commander-in-Chief after things, for inexplicable reasons, fell apart between her and the Minister
She was particularly irked by the thought of allegedly swearing to an oath after she had purportedly assured the Minister of her cooperation at all times, one aide revealed.
The Minister is alleged to have sworn at that point to deal with her for allegedly failing to work at cahoots with him after several attempts to make her see reason.
Before the axe fell, Akpabio had started a search for Nunieh’s replacement. That search was narrowed down to Bayelsa State according to a source close to the Minister.
“Those moves were reportedly responsible for the speculation in Abuja circles and the Niger Delta that a new board was being constituted”, the source explained.
We have gathered that Akpabio’s idea was to find a professor with the stature, acumen and charisma who could do the job. We now know that the Minister approached school mates and other associates for help.
We have also learnt that the Minister of Petroleum, Timipre Sylva may have lent a helping hand when he was allegedly consulted by his colleague in cabinet.
Wednesday, the Federal Government enlarged the membership of the Interim Management Committee from three to five.
When it was eventually released by the President’s SA on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, Nunieh’s name was no longer on the list. She was replaced with Prof KD Pondei.
But the Ogonis however got at least some compensation. Mrs Caroline Nagbo, the Rivers APC Woman Leader and a former CPC member was added to the Interim Management Committee.
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