By Biola Adebayo
The Senate on Tuesday confirmed a retired army major-general, Paul Tarfa, as chairman of the North-East Development Commission (NEDC).
The Senate also confirmed Mohammed Alkali as the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the commission and nine others as members of the board of the commission.
The members are Musa Yashi, ED Humanitarian Affairs; Mohammed Jawa, Executive Director, Admin and Finance; Omar Mohammed, Executive Director, Operations and David Kente, member representing North East zone.
Others are Asmau Mohammed, member representing North West zone; Benjamin Adanyi, Member representing North Central zone; Olawale Oshun, member representing South West zone; T.E.O Ekechi, member representing South-East and Obasuke McDonald, member representing South-South zone.
The Senate, in October 2016, passed the bill for the establishment of the North East Development Commission to coordinate the rebuilding of the insurgency-ravaged North East region of Nigeria.
President Muhammadu Buhari assented to the bill in October, 2017.
The confirmation of the nominees was made after Abdulaziz Nyako, the chairman of the Senate Committee on Special Duties, presented the report of the committee.
He said all the nominees met the requirements for their appointment.
Prior to the confirmation, Binta Garba, frowned at the fact that the headquarters of the commission is located in Borno State and the MD of the commission, Mr Alkali, is also from the state.
“The commission is domiciled in Borno State and the CEO is also from Borno State. Is it in consonance with the ideal of the commission within and outside Nigeria?
“For example, the President of the United Nations is not from America. We need to get some clarifications. Late Wakili asked that the headquarters should be in Bauchi State but he was shut down,” she said.
In his response, Mr Nyako explained that during the debate at the Senate, the position was left open.
He said members of the House of Representatives, however, called for zoning and thus voted in that manner.
“In our bill, we left it open. During the public hearings, we agreed if the headquarters is in Borno then someone else should be the MD; but in concurrence with the House of Representatives, more inclined to the MD from Borno.
“It was the House bill that went with zoning and their votes were overwhelming than ours,” he said.
In his remark, Ibn Na’Allah, said the observations are valid because it relates to international organisations.
“Certain peculiarities demonstrate certain actions. The entire bill is associated to the beginning of insurgency in Borno State and Adamawa is close to it. In the selection, Tarfa is from Adamawa.
“The choice of Alkali is based on the assumption that there is quick establishment and its running. What swayed the Senate and reps to choose Alkali is entirely a legislative action,” he said.
The Senate Leader, Ahmed Lawan, said the nominees are eminently qualified and prepared to hit the ground running.
He, therefore, urged the committee on special duties to ensure the taking off of the commission as he said the situation in the North East requires it to take off immediately.
The Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, simply called for the commencement of an oversight for the commission.
‘’This is not the first time we are showing such concern. NDDC bill was originated by the National Assembly. The bill was vetoed by the executive but it was upturned. It shows the same character of concern.
“The NDDC is steeped in a lot of protocol and bureaucracy. So this commission should learn from that. The parliament should start an oversight of this agency.”