Mixed feelings have trailed the appointment of Distinguished Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba. But in actions and spirit the president has been so strategic in his appointments and is determined to solve problems hitherto considered insurmountable. The Niger Delta Region has defiled attempts at any solution. So many missed opportunities with irrational irritability becoming the character of the youths. The irrational irritability is not totally unjustifiable but destructive to the Nigerian state and self destructive to the Niger Delta Region. While the Nigerian economy and survival is threatened, there's also sown a seed of destruction of lives and environment that rather aggravate the the nearly comatose region bedeviled by poverty, unemployment, lack of infrastructure, environmental pollution, corruption and inequalities.

Recent approach of the government especially in the creation of the Niger Delta Commission, The Niger Delta Ministry, 13% derivative to oil producing states, and the environmental clean up of Ogoni by the Nigerian state has no doubt been an increased effort to improve the conditions of the goose that lays the golden eggs; upon which the economic survival of the nation has relied on over the years since oil was discovered. Unfortunately, the actions of most Niger Delta stakeholders and militant have rather been selfish, irrational, self defeating, creating a 'man eat man' situation with concomitant loss of opportunities. With frustration wrought by mismanagement of opportunities, a gang of opportunist have consolidated into a cabal whose determination is to take advantage of the situation for self enrichment. Criminality is surely the tool of the cabal. While the Niger Delta stakeholders have taken to corruption and self enrichment by appropriating the crumps from the federal government from increased derivation meant for the development of the area to themselves; The militants took to irrational irritability as a justifiable base for oil bunkering, kidnapping, violence, terrorism, establishment of illegal refineries and militancy as a tool of negotiation for juicy contracts, appointments and recognition by the federal government. The Niger Delta region is a story of criminality paying and tacitly adopted by the behaviour of the government.

Distinguished Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba is to me the most appropriate and there appear no better choice than him to resolve issues that surrounds the Niger Delta Question especially because of his wealth of experience and connections. The Senate Leader enjoys enormous relationship with many stakeholders and opinion leaders in the Niger Delta Region. Most significant person and stakeholders in the Niger Delta region were political associate and colleagues when Distinguished Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba was in the Senate. Being a key player in the Senate then, he built a relationship that cuts across all stakeholders in the Niger Delta and this is an advantage to the resolution of the crisis.

Also significant is the fact that Distinguished Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba had been in the Senate for 12 consecutive years and had a mix with opinion leaders and gained advantage that can help in the direction of pushing for the enactment of laws that can strengthen the Niger Delta Region. The fact that Distinguished Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba rose to the position of the Senate Leader is a great advantage. More so, the fact that he was an exceptional Senator brings lots of positivity to the Niger Delta Region

Ostensibly, the nub of hope in the appointment of Distinguished Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba, OFR, CON, SAN as Chairman Niger Delta Commission lie in the fact that he has been exceptional in the discharge of all assignments bestowed on him. In a country where average life expectancy hovers between 45 and 47 years, the attainment of three score in his sojourn on earth is an unparalleled milestone. Going back memory lane and doing a checklist of how much of the effectual grace of God he has enjoyed, this highly accomplished son of Nigeria cannot but be celebrated as the chairman Niger Delta Commission. Senator Ndoma-Egba is a rare combination of God’s boundless grace and progressive mercies.

In a clime where it is the unsavory propensity of people to disdain the feats of achievers, the imprints of Senator Ndoma-Egba’s exploits are too visible for even the blind to see. Born sixty (60) years ago in the unique ambience of Ikom Urban in Ikom Local Government Area of Cross River State, precisely on 8th March, 1956, Distinguished Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba rose like a thousand stars at St. Martins Primary School, Ikom between 1962 and 1967; towering head and shoulders above his peers at Mary Knoll College, Ogoja where he was always a delight to listen to at both state and national quiz/debate competitions in the early 1970s. He had a thirty days stint at the Faculty of Law at the Enugu Campus of the University of Nigeria in 1974.

Upon the release of A level results in 1974, Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba’s sterling performance at the time saw him gaining admission into the Faculty of Law, University of Lagos where he was offered three years to pursue a degree in law. Sparkling like a flawless diamond at the Akoka Campus of the University of Lagos, he subsequently enrolled into Nigeria Law School at Victoria Island, Lagos where he scaled the final Bar examination with effortless ease in 1978. In 1993, Ndoma-Egba obtained an LL.M Degree from the Faculty of Law, University of Calabar with blazing light.
With an avowed desire to enhance his capacity, Ndoma-Egba studied and obtained Certificate in Export Processing Zone Administration, I.D.I Shannon, Ireland(1992); Certificate in CHANGE for the 21st Century, Stanford University, Palo Alto, USA(2009); and Certificate in Leadership, Harvard University, USA(2011). He started his public service career on a high at the tender age of 24 in 1981 when the then President Shehu Shagari appointed him a Director in Cross River Basin Development Authority. In 1980 at only 27 when most of his peers were still on the verge of writing University Matriculation Examinations (popularly known as JAMB), Victor Ndoma-Egba was appointed Commissioner for Works and Transport in the old Cross River (now Cross River and Akwa Ibom States respectively). This is no mean feat! It can be safely said that Senator Ndoma-Egba is a man who had lived ahead of his age.

Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba is a man of prodigious intellect. By dint of hard work and tangible deliverables in his previous appointments, he was appointed Director/Chief Executive, Directorate for Food, Road and Rural Infrastructure (DFRRI), Cross River State in 1986. In the same year, he was saddled with the responsibility as Acting Commissioner for Justice and Attorney General, Cross River State. “Victor Ndoma-Egba is a man imbued with the capacity for multi-task and a workaholic”, you must say.

Since 1984, Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba has built an untainted reputation of excellence, integrity, credibility and character in public service in addition to a thriving private legal practice which dates back to 1979 at K.G.Agabi Chambers in Ogoja, Cross River State. Victor (as his peers would call him) has served on many occasions as chairman or member of different government boards, agencies and commissions making unrivalled contributions to the development of his state and country. In 1987, Senator Ndoma-Egba with a junior colleague in the bar, Richard Ebri (deceased) founded the highly reputable Ndoma-Egba, Ebri & Co (Legal Practitioners) in Calabar. For almost two decades after the demise of Barr Richard Ebri, Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba has maintained the name of the chambers. Thus, immortalizing a late friend and partner. Ndoma-Egba is a personification of loyalty. He gives absolute loyalty and deserves same in full measure.

Distinguished Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba’s calling is legal jurisprudence, his profession is law, his burning passion is to leave people better than he met them and his vocation is to enhance the living standard of people across his state and country. In 1981, from his stipend in private legal practice in the cascading shadow of Ogoja in Cross River State, Ndoma-Egba started a scholarship scheme for indigent students which he has sustained for more than three decades. This scheme has become one of the most robust scholarship programs in the country today churning out hundreds of graduates from first degrees to Ph.Ds from Nigerian Universities on a yearly basis.

In 2007, Ndoma-Egba initiated the entrepreneurial scheme where more than 120 people were trained in different vocations/skills and empowered with start-up capital and now own their businesses. As a serving Senator of the Federal Republic, Ndoma-Egba was a master of legislative advocacy where he attracted projects in excess of N7Billion to his constituency in the Central Senatorial District of Cross River State. His unceremonious exit from the hallowed chambers of the Nigerian Senate after 12 years of meritorious service to his fatherland has kept the tongues of watchers of Nigerian politics wagging and their mouths yawning for more of his unmatchable legislative depth. The void created by his absence at the 8th Senate is quite undeserving to the Nigerian people at this critical moment in our checkered history.

As a serving Senator, Ndoma-Egba sponsored and co-sponsored 38 Bills most of which have become Acts of the National Assembly including the famous Freedom of Information Bill. This is an unrivalled feat in the history of parliamentary representation in Nigeria. In the dark days of the cabal, Senator Ndoma-Egba stood to be counted as one of the wise men who framed the now famous “Doctrine of Necessity” that was adopted to stabilize the ship of state. For the umpteenth time, Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba has remained the first lawyer to be recognized as a Senior Advocate of Nigeria while serving at the National Assembly. The dedication to service and the fact that Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba served a rallying point and the engine of the 7th Senate holds good for the Niger Delta region.

Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba is an exceptionally talented lawyer and gentleman; he has traversed the world as leader or delegate representing Nigeria at high-profile international fora. Over the years, he has built a network of friends; spreading his tentacles across the length and breadth of Nigeria and beyond. With laurels including the prestigious Officer of the Federal Republic (OFR) and Commander of the Order of the Niger (CON); and several chieftaincy/traditional titles from different communities in Cross River State, Victor Ndoma-Egba is indisputably a leading light from whatever perspective one chooses to assess him. Senator Ndoma-Egba is listed in the Africa Who’s Who. In 2004, he was honored with the revered Ambassador of Goodwill for the State of Israel and the Dr. Kwame Nkrumah Leadership Award in Accra, Ghana.

George Burns must have had Distinguished Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba in mind when he stringed this line, “You can’t help getting older, but you don’t have to get old”. For his admirers, Senator Ndoma-Egba is not getting older….just getting more distinguished! Just like fine wine, the Senator is getting more handsome and cute with years. Ndoma-Egba is a man of style and candor with an admirable dress-sense, always impeccably dressed. One can always trust this distinguished son of Cross River nay Nigeria to fit the occasion at all times-simple and modest, yet eye-catching.

Senator Ndoma-Egba took a gallant walk from the cozy ambience of the National Assembly back to the cape of his wig and gown to continue a fascinating career in private legal practice that remains on an upward trajectory. Even outside the hallowed chambers of the Senate, Ndoma-Egba remains a blue-ship and a quintessential political bride. At only 60, the LEADER as he is fondly called is still capable of springing sterling surprises. We can only wish him longer life in good health as he continues to serve humanity with the fear of God.

No better person with a history of hard work, resilience, intelligence, philanthropy, connection, experience, national relevance, statesmanship, and recognition than Distinguished Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba. In the choice of Victor Ndoma-Egba lies the success in the resolution of the problems in the Niger Delta Region. Success looms in the cloudy days of the Niger Delta People. A big congratulations to President Mohammad Buhari and Distinguished Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba for a well deserved appointment.

Joseph Odok
Social Change Agent

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