Bayelsa State Governor, the Honourable Seriake Dickson has said that monies voted for the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) are being channeled to fund the elections of ruling political parties in the country.Governor Dickson
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A statement by his Special Adviser on Media Relations, Mr. Fidelis Soriwei, quoted the Governor as saying that the development has hampered the Commission’s capacity to actualize its mandate to bring development to oil producing communities.
The Governor made the comment while receiving the Acting Managing Director òf the NDDC, Prof. Nelson Brambaifa, and a high-powered team from the commission at the Government House, Yenagoa, on Friday.
The Governor said that the use of NDDC funds for election and other than what they were voted for, was unfortunate and should be a thing of concern to leaders of the Zone.
The Governor joined the NDDC Acting MD to demand the payment of the N1.9 trillion being owed the Commission to enable it to carry out its developmental responsibilities in the oil rich region.
Governor Dickson called for effective collaborative efforts with the Federal Government’s interventionist agency to design critical projects such as construction of roads and bridges that would accelerate the development of the region.
The governor decried the politicization of the NDDC and called for the immediate constitution of the NDDC’S Advisory Council towards strengthening the commission’s controls and systems which he noted are presently lacking.
According to him, as chairman of the PDP Governors Forum, he will raise the issue with his colleagues and the president.
His words:”The NDDC is not a body that should be left on its own in doing all kinds of things at its whims and caprices as it pleases. It is a very serious body. It is a mechanism already designed in the legislation for the involvement of other stakeholders and the most important stakeholders are the governors of the oil producing states.
“We want to see the NDDC fulfilling its maximum potentials and it has not been able to do this as a result of the deliberate politicization of the NDDC.
The Commission contrary to its founding principles, has become some political fund at the whims and caprices of those who control the federal government.
“The NDDC funds are channeled for elections, into all kinds of activities other the main reason for which it was set up. That is very unfortunate and that has limited the capacity of the body to impact maximally the challenges of the region which i find very appalling.
“But it is something that all stakeholders need to sit down to seriously address. I listened to your call for collaboration for us to get the N1.9 trillion that you have said is owed.
“But as we join hands to ask that all funds owed the NDDC be paid, we should equally join hands to demand for accountability, demand that projects that are conceived are not ones designed for power brokers but projects that really have the capacity to impact on the communities in need of development and so i call for a new approach.
“I call for the new management and your team to be collaborative when you are designing projects that you want to use scarce resources to fund. Don’t just conveniently sit down and be deciding and designing projects for our region and for state governors, that contracts for water hycinths are more important than contracts for the construction of lasting infrastructure that will support the complete turn around for our people.
“I will like to see the NDDC take up big projects. We are battling to take a road to Ekeremor. We are battling to take a road to Oporoma and these are the big ticket items which are the real infrastructural problems facing our people.
While acknowledging the modest developmental efforts of the NDDC, Governor Dickson urged the agency to prevail on the contractor handling the Osekenike-Isampou-Agbere road project to return to site to ensure its completion.
In his remarks, the acting Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission, Prof. Nelson Brambaifa expressed the Commission’s desire to build synergy with the state government to ensure human and infrastructural capital development.
The NDDC Acting Boss had earlier called on the Federal Government to commence payment of the N1.9 trillion being owed the commission by the Federal Government which he said would go a long way in the bid to development the Niger Delta.
He called for the immediate constitution of a functional NDDC Advisory Council which according to him , whole enable the governors to speak in one voice in asking for the payment of all outstanding statutory obligations in the NDDC in order to fast track development in the Niger Delta.
“The Federal Government is owing us at least N1.9trillion and you know how far that can go if that is made available by your body.
“The second item is to use the window of the proposed review of the Niger Delta Regional Development master plan to reflect the development vision of the various states into the development compass and take ownership of the plan using it as an instrument for integrated social economic development and regional economic union of the Niger Delta, which I believe the governments and the people of the region have been attempting through other avenues.” He saidRelated