Aiyedatiwa’s Aides, NDDC Commissioner Atikase on War path over Ondo Electricity Project

By: Oluwatosin Adesola

…..Ondo govt must not deceive the public —Atikase insists

…..Your Comment is ridiculous, baseless —Governor’s Aide.

Hon. Thompson Otito Atikase, the Commissioner representing Ondo State on the board of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, and the Ondo State Government are now on war path over electricity project of the federal government in Ondo South senatorial district.

“In a recent turn of events, the Ondo State government has been caught in a blatant act of treachery, attempting to deceive the public for political gain. This misguided action centers around the inspection of the Igbokoda electrification project, a federal government project which was recently awarded by the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).

“It is deeply concerning to witness the state government’s brazen attempt to score cheap political points by insinuating involvement in a project over which they have no jurisdiction. The mere act of inspecting a project they have not initiated nor contributed to is not only deceptive but also disrespectful to the efforts of the federal government and the NDDC.

“What exacerbates this situation is the absence of any tangible electrification projects initiated by the Ondo State government. This stark reality lays bare the state’s leadership’s desperation to deceive the unsuspecting residents in a bid for reelection. Such behaviour is not only morally reprehensible but also a glaring example of questionable leadership.

“The role of governance extends far beyond mere political posturing and self-serving agendas. True leadership entails prioritizing the welfare and development of the populace over personal ambitions. By engaging in such deceitful tactics, the state government has demonstrated a lack of commitment to genuine progress.

“Furthermore, this charade undermines the trust and confidence that the people of Ondo State have placed in their elected officials. Instead of showcasing transparency and accountability, the government’s actions sow seeds of distrust and disillusionment among the populace.

“It is imperative for leaders to lead by example and uphold the principles of honesty, transparency, and accountability. The citizens of Ondo State deserve better than to be subjected to political theatrics at the expense of much-needed development projects.

“Finally, the recent incident involving the Ondo State government’s attempt to claim credit for a federal government project is not only an act of treachery but also a disservice to the people of the state. It is high time  the state government prioritized the genuine needs of the populace over mere political ambitions,” said Otito Atikase.


Reacting, the Chief Press Secretary, Prince Ebenezer Adeniyan said, “this is ridiculous, more so coming from a government appointee, who has just lampooned the same state government that nominated him for the position.

“Yes, the Federal government holds jurisdiction over electricity but what has that gotten the people of the South in the last decade? Darkness.

“How can you claim the state government has no say in a project being executed in its domain, albeit with no meaningful results in the last ten years?

“What result has NDDC achieved in ten years of awarding contracts there?

“What the issue demands is the political will to do the right thing and that is what Governor Aiyedatiwa is doing and he needs no approval of the Federal government to do that.

“Contrary to your baseless claim, the State government has not taken credit for anything. The government delegation went on that inspection with BEDC officials and I’m surprised you didn’t discredit BEDC too.

“Egbon, no be everything dem dey play politics with o. You need to cooperate with the state government on this whether you like the face of the Gov or not. Bitterness doesn’t bring any positive result.

“The most important thing, which the Gov is after, is for light to be restored to the south in a matter of weeks. Arguing over who should get credit is childish,” Adeniyan said.


It is no longer news that Governor Lucky Orimisan Aiyedatiwa commissioned a team of experts to inspect the NDDC electrification project in Igbokoda. If there is anyone who didn’t know before, Hon Thompson Otito Atikase has made the inspection an issue in Ondo state. Now that we are all aware, we can talk about the missing truth in Otito’s criticism.

Firstly, Hon Atikase represents Ondo state in the NDDC board. His office is designed to help raise hope for Ondo State that he solely represents in the NDDC. Meanwhile, Governor Lucky Aiyedatiwa is the leader and Governor of Ondo State that Òtítọ́ represents in the NDDC. It means, Hon Otito and Governor Aiyedatiwa should never work at cross-purpose. He is even bound by the nature of his office to take brief from the Governor who’s the leader of the state he represents. It is interesting to note that Governor Aiyedatiwa and Hon Otito are kinsmen who should naturally collaborate to bring development to the people.

Former President Muhammadu Buhari, on the 10th of March, 2020, inaugurated an Advisory Committee for the NDDC at the Council Chambers of the presidential Villa, Abuja. The responsibilities of the Advisory Committee comprising the nine Governors of the Niger Delta region and the Ministers of Niger Delta Affairs and Environment are clear.

The Advisory Committee was constituted in accordance with the provisions of part III, section 11 (1a) of the NDDC Establishment Act (as amended). Lawfully, section 11 (2) of the Act stipulates the responsibilities of the Committee which are to ADVISE the NDDC Board and to MONITOR the ACTIVITIES of the Commission with a view to achieving set objectives as well as to make RULES regulating its own proceedings.

If section 11 (2) of the NDDC Act is unambiguous, we should ask Atikase where Governor Aiyedatiwa has erred in the mere inspection of a project he hasn’t claimed to have facilitated. We should ask whether Hon Atikase even knows why the NDDC was created. For the records, the NDDC was created to complement the activities of the states in the Niger Delta region and not to antagonize.

Interestingly, the Land Use Act vested all lands in the state and even if Governor Aiyedatiwa was not part of the Advisory Committee of the NDDC, the Commission is by power vested in the Governor by the Land Use Act as the custodian of any investment on land within the state. Can NDDC execute any project in any state if the state refuses to grant them right of way? Is this the first time the State will be inspecting the project? Was Otito Atikase not part of the delegation that once inspected the project on the 11th of April 2023? That he joined the team led by Hon. Razaq Obe as a politician who has been around Government for years tells so much about his calculated hypocrisy today. Hon Atikase should rather see synergy than baseless competition in what the Governor has rightly done.

Governor Aiyedatiwa visited the sites of all the projects initiated by his late boss and he never claimed ownership of them. He rather told the people that he would do everything to complete them in record time. That’s the politics of truth that’s missing in Atikase. He erroneously thought inspection meant ownership because of the primitive ‘pull him down’ politics that has clogged the state for years.

Funnily, the people of Ondo state replaced ‘Otito’ in his name with Thompson while reacting to his serpentine criticism. Like the thunderous reactions that greeted the ignoble letter of the five Abuja legislators, this has shown again that the people of Ondo state will stand by their Governor any day. They are ready to protect him from external and internal aggressors. The people will shut down bullies for their Governor. The continued vilification will be resisted by the people of Ondo state. Sovereignty truly belongs to the people. The power to enthrone a king belongs to God and He gives to whoever He wills. If Ondo people are saying it is Lucky’s time, we have got to key into the dream of making the state better than we met it.

Hon Otito who was recently nominated to represent Ondo state on the board of NDDC joined the State Government delegation led by Hon Obe Razaq on the 11th of April 2023 to inspect this same project in the capacity of a politician who has been around Government. He didn’t see any need to condemn the Governor of Ondo State then? He should do well to limit his representation to protecting the collective interest of Ondo State. Playing dirty politics with the mandate undermines the interest of the oil producing region of the state, the Ilaje nation, the Southern Senatorial District and Ondo State in general. His action is largely divisive, misleading, regrettable and unpatriotic.

……Sunday Olugbenga Abire is Special Assistant on New Media to the Governor of Ondo State

NDDC’s Electrification Project in Ondo State and the Criticisms of a Political Wacadoodle

By Allen Sowore, Esq.

For the effective communication and promotion of government projects, the inspection of any Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) project in Ondo State should ideally involve the state representative on the NDDC board, Honourable Otito Atikase, especially considering the shared APC government at both the Federal and State levels.

However, the recent unilateral inspection of the ongoing NDDC electrification project in the Southern District of the state led by the newly inaugurated Special Adviser to the governor on Energy, Engr Johnson Alabi, could have been better organized as a government operation. Perhaps, the urgency to restore electricity to the people of Ondo South, who have been in darkness for over a decade, played a role.

Regardless, the energy expended by Atikase in launching disparaging attacks on Governor Lucky Aiyedatiwa was excessive, unnecessary, and hinted at potential underlying political conflicts.

Furthermore, it revealed a concerning mix of ignorance and arrogance in high-ranking officials, as Albert Einstein wisely noted that the only thing more dangerous than ignorance is arrogance. Unfortunately, the Ondo state representative on the NDDC board seems to be afflicted with both.

The criticism stemmed from a mere inspection of an ongoing NDDC electrification project in the Southern District of the state by state officials to expedite electricity distribution. Atikase’s reaction, delivered through a press statement and widely circulated on social media, accused the governor of attempting to claim credit for the project for political gain.

Sincerely, this is unwarranted, given that the state government hasn’t affixed any insignia or signpost claiming ownership of the project. The intention is likely to facilitate a swift completion for the benefit of the people.

Two factors prompt a response to Atikase’s statements – firstly, his misuse of language and, secondly, his influential government position that demands a level of decency and responsibility. A dialectical analysis is necessary to address the raised issues and dispel the falsehoods.

In addressing the critical issues raised, it’s essential to clarify that the Sub-station project at Erinje is not a recent NDDC initiative but was started by former governor Dr. Olusegun Agagu during Honorable Agboola Ajayi’s tenure as the chairman of the House of Representatives committee on the Niger Delta.

Moreover, the new Electricity Act, signed by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, shifts regulatory responsibilities to the states, as outlined in the Ondo State Electricity Law overseen by the State Electricity Regulatory Bureau (SERB). The NDDC is expected to complete the project and hand it over to the state.

As for the jurisdiction to inspect NDDC-initiated projects, the NDDC Establishment Act (Section 11) establishes a Niger Delta Advisory Committee, responsible for advising the board and monitoring the commission’s activities. Atikase appears to have overlooked these provisions.

Furthermore, the Land Use Act vests all land within each state in the governor’s trust for the common benefit of all Nigerians. The legal principle “Quicquid plantatur solo, solo cedit” supports this, implying that whatever is affixed to the soil belongs to the soil. Thus, the governor is the owner of the NDDC project in the state.

Claiming assets and liabilities of the Federal Government by a governor elected on the same platform as the President is not only valid but politically logical. However, the NDDC representative failed to comprehend the principles of intergovernmental cooperation, a fundamental aspect of global best practices for grassroots development.

In conclusion, the NDDC’s representative failed to adhere to principles of intergovernmental cooperation, essential for grassroots development. The NDDC, established in 2000 to develop the Niger Delta region, should not serve as a platform for political discord. Honourable Otito Atikase must prioritize the general welfare of the people and commit to the Commission’s objectives, avoiding the pitfalls of political posturing that may lead to his unceremonious removal.

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