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NDDC: Bayelsa gov. cries out, says ‘existence of Interim Board setback for region, usurps Constitutional roles of govs

...Calls President to immediately set up a substantive Board

Isaac Ombe, Yenagoa

Governor Douye Diri of Bayelsa State has cried out against the constitution of an Interim Board for the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).

The governor said that the existence of the Interim Board for the Commission was not only a setback for the development of the region but has also  usurped the Constitutional advisory roles of the Niger Delta governors on the Commission .

The governor also re-echoed the call for the constitution of a substantive board for the NDDC and lamented the existence of over 1,700 abandoned NDDC projects littered across  the state.

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Governor Diri, who spoke when he received the NDDC Interim Administrator, Dr.  Akwa Effiong in Government House, in Yenagoa, said the inability for the governors not to exercise their advisory roles have robed the commission of people oriented projects

His words, “The interim arrangement has become the norm rather than the exception.

“That is totally unacceptable to us as governors of the Niger Delta States. We have a very huge stake according to the Act establishing the NDDC and that role is not being played.

“With the interim administration, there is no board for us to advise.

“There must exist a synergy that will profile these projects before they are conceived. NDDC was not to go into every nook and cranny of states in the region. It should be looking at very large projects, sometimes inter-state projects with mutual agreement and cooperation of the state governments.

Governor Diri who believed that collaborating with the NDDC would create a more robust impression and leave a lasting legacy for people of the oil rich region and generations yet unborn.

He also pointed out that, “The NDDC must continue to work closely with governors in the nine states to ensure synergy and avoid duplication of projects and activate the powers of the governors in the board in line with section 2 of the Act establishing it.”

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Decrying the existence of a plethora of abandoned projects across the state which the commission has failed to execute over the years, the governor noted that the interventionist role which the commission supposed to carry out has failed and described the development as policy summersault that has stunted the development of the region.

He continued, “The NDDC has a lot of abandoned projects in Bayelsa State. From reports, we have over 1700 projects that are dotted all over Bayelsa State. I know that is not healthy,” noted Governor Diri, who  named some of the abandoned projects including  the Angalabiri-Ebedebiri-Toru-Orua shore protection project captured in the commission’s 2020 budget, the Sabagreia-Polaku bridge as well as the Akenfa bridge among others.

While appealing to President Muhammadu Buhari to constitute a substantive board for the NDDC according to the Act setting it up, he recalled that the “The NDDC was conceived and   established as an  interventionist body to fill developmental gap.

“‘We cannot accept these policy summersaults that make our development to suffer” noted Diri who further pointed out another ill of the commission which included “the non-collaboration of the commission with catchment states that would advise on priority projects has led to duplication and abandonment of projects.

Expressing deep concern over the existence of an interim administration which he said has stunted growth of the region, Diri called on President Muhammadu Buhari to constitute without further delay a substantive board for the commission in accordance with its enabling Act, saying its absence was hindering the commission’s operations.

He called for the re-strategisation of the Commission to enable it meet its obligations rather than to scrap it.

He also lauded the interim Administrator for the donation of a 1000KVA generator and a coaster bus to the state-owned Niger Delta University as well as four waste disposal trucks to the state government.

Dr. Akwa Effiong, earlier his in remarks,  appreciated  Governor Diri for his developmental strides and for having done  well within the short period in office, also expressed the preparedness of the NDDC to collaborate with the government on construction of the age-long Nembe-Brass road project that the state had undertaken.