Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has declared that the Niger Delta Development Commission ( NDDC) has become a political institution where funds are used for political purposes.
Governor Wike also started that the Federal Government deliberately refused to constitute the NDDC Governors Advisory Committee because majority of the South-South States are controlled by the PDP.
Speaking during a Courtesy visit by the Acting Managing Director of the NDDC, Prof Nelson Braimbaifa, the Rivers State Governor regretted that the Commission has failed to deliver development projects to the Niger Delta region.
He said: “NDDC has become a political institution where money is set aside for politics. Mention one mega project by the NDDC anywhere in Rivers State.
“The only mega project, the Mother and Child Hospital, which was to be a joint project, the NDDC duped the Rivers State Government. For the Mother and Child Hospital, we paid our counterpart fund and NDDC paid nothing. We have taken over the project, yet the NDDC has refused to refund our money. If the NDDC fails to refund our counterpart fund in seven days, we will drag the Commission to court”.
He regretted that any prominent politician in the South-South who wants to be a Governor, is appointed a managing director of NDDC. He said such politicians are allowed to siphon development funds, only to resign two weeks to the election.
The Governor said that NDDC cannot make significant impact in Niger Delta Communities because the states are never involved in the siting and design of projects.
The Governor noted that NDDC can only make progress when the Governments of Niger Delta States are involved in the process of project location and design.
“They have refused to constitute the Governors Board since 2015 because majority of the South-South States are controlled by the PDP.
“Nineteen years after establishment, the NDDC is still constructing its headquarters. All the participating states have no mega projects. The NDDC was designed to help the Niger Delta grow, but that is not the situation on ground. Can we justify the funds that have passed through the NDDC?”, he said.
He said that the leadership of the NDDC is mainly controlled from outside the region, a situation which made it difficult for the current management to visit the Rivers State Government upon their appointment.
He said: “You are coming because I have won election. You were on ground for six months, but never thought it wise to visit your Chief Host. The Rivers State Government gave NDDC a building and take off grant to start work. They told you not to come, but God in his own way ensured we are still here.
“It is a shame that what our people in the Niger Delta fought for, is not what is on ground at the NDDC. You claim to have over 1000 projects in Rivers State and we are still where we are today?”.
Governor Wike advised the management of the NDDC to go back to the drawing board to fashion out ways to site mega projects in the States where the Commission operates. He said the current piecemeal projects will not help to develop the region.
The Governor charged Rivers people working at the NDDC to work towards leaving worthy legacies. He said at present, they are not helping Rivers State.
Earlier, Acting Managing Director of the NDDC, Prof Nelson Briambaifa said that the Commission is committed to executing projects that will improve the lives of the people of the Niger Delta region.
He said several key projects have been designed by the NDDC to improve the living standards of the people.
He called for the revival of the NDDC Governors Advisory Committee to assist the NDDC carry out its development projects in the region.
Prof Briambaifa said that the Commission has undertaken 1793 projects, out of which 800 have been completed and 540 are yet to be completed. He said there are 103 new awards.
The Acting Managing Director of the NDDC said that the Commission has set up a process to complete all ongoing projects in the region.
Special Assistant to the Rivers State Governor, Electronic Media.
24 July, 2019.