Governors Still Sidelined In NDDC’s Affairs – Wike

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Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike says despite the inauguration of the advisory council of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), oil-producing state governors are still sidelined in the affairs of the intervention agency.

The governor explained that because the governing party dictates what happens in the NDDC, the commission now acts like a state on its own, refusing to interface with the Governors of the oil-producing states to strategically develop the Niger Delta region.

According to a statement by his media aide, Kelvin Ebiri, Wike stated this when members of the House of Representatives Committee on NDDC led by its chairman, Hon (Dr.) Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo paid him a courtesy visit at the Government House, Port Harcourt on Thursday.

The governor further explained that contrary to assumption that governors of the Niger Delta are critical stakeholders in the affairs of the NDDC, they are not in the true sense of it.

According to him, since the inauguration of the NDDC advisory council last year, the present federal government has ensured that the governors were sidelined in the affairs of the commission.

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“Even when we are inaugurated, we were not involved in anything that happens in NDDC. Which is most unfortunate.”

He further continued: “NDDC is like a state on its own without working with the State government and why is it so. It is so because the states of NDDC are controlled by the opposition party therefore there is no need to consult with them.”

The governor explained that in a bid to ensure NDDC did not embark on indiscriminate execution of projects that often distorted the state’s developmental agenda, the Rivers State government recently obtained a court order that prohibits the commission from carrying out projects without the consent of the state government.

Wike urged the National Assembly to be resolute in its oversight function by ensuring that the NDDC stopped frittering the resources meant for the development of the Niger Delta region on building roads in Army barracks, police stations and spending billions of naira to ensure he did not win election.

The governor stated that NDDC and the Rivers State had once agreed to collaborate on a legacy project, but the commission ended up “defrauding” the state government.

“NDDC fraudulently duped us over the Mother and Child Hospital. They duped us. They had an agreement with the state government to build a regional hospital called Mother and Child Hospital.

“They agreed that it will be N1.7 billion. State government to bring N800million, they will bring N900 million. The state government at that time paid their N800million. NDDC mobilised the contractor with N400 million of the N800 million we brought and then abandoned the contractor and the contractor left site.

“And when we came on board, we said okay, we don’t want to partner with you again, give us back our N400 million, it became a problem. Politics came in. ”

The governor said he would continually speak out for the interest of the people of Rivers state.

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