Focus on development, not dabble into partisan politics, Wike tells NDDC
Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State has called on the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to rather focus on the development of the oil region, instead of being involved in partisan politics.
Wike told the NDDC board that visited him in Government House, Port Harcourt, led by Victor Ndoma-Egba, a former Senate leader, saying “it will be counterproductive if the NDDC continues to operate like a political party.”
Wike noted that development in the Niger Delta had been stunted because of what he described as “politicisation of activities of NDDC, which makes it difficult for the commission to focus on its core mandate,” stressing that the commission was not a state, hence it must subject itself to the laws of the states where it operated.
Wike regretted that the immediate past NDDC leadership never related with the Rivers State government on development issues.
“The NDDC is not a state. Therefore, it should respect the laws of the states where it operates. NDDC cannot wake up and start projects without seeking the cooperation of the host states. It is worrisome that NDDC is trying to politicise the execution of projects, and this will not help the development of the region,” the governor said.
But, the NNDC board chairman, Victor Ndoma-Egba, earlier informed that the new board would change the narrative of the NDDC by making the commission functional and responsive to the needs of the Niger Delta.
The NDDC may have fallen short of expectations of the people, Ndoma-Egba said, but he pointed out that the new board led by him would strengthen the systems and processes to ensure that NDDC delivered on its mandate.
The commission had often been at loggerheads with a number of state governors over who was actually executing projects in the member states. Things get messier when the governor operates from a different political party with the one at the centre.
The NDDC chairman, who was accompanied by the managing director, Nsima Ekere, and other board members, said all organs of the commission would be activated, while Niger Delta state governors would be more involved in the commission’s activities.
Meanwhile, the Rivers governor has urged the NDDC governing board to allow the state government bear the cost of constructing the Joint Hospital on Women and Children with NDDC, after which the commission can effect a refund. He assured the commission of the state’s support in the delivery of the development goals.
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