Governors from Niger Delta region are not allowed to play their roles as major stakeholders in the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, has said.
Diri who made this known on Tuesday during a courtesy visit by the Interim Administrator of the Commission, Dr Effiong Akwa, described the over 1,700 abandoned projects of the commission in different parts of the state as unacceptable.
Some of the abandoned projects listed include the Angalabiri-Ebedebiri-Toru-Orua shore protection project captured in the commission’s 2020 budget, the Sabagreia-Polaku bridge, the Akenfa bridge, among others.
The governor’s spokesman, Daniel Alabrah, in a statement quoted him as saying that the non-collaboration of the commission with catchment states that would advise on priority projects had led to duplication and abandonment of projects.
He also called on President Muhammadu Buhari to constitute a substantive board for the commission without further delay, saying its absence was hindering the commission’s operations.
Diri said the interim administrator’s arrangement was alien to the act establishing the commission and unacceptable to governors of the Niger Delta, noting that the commission had not been able to meet its mandate because of the absence of a substantive board.
Describing the NDDC as an interventionist body created to fill the developmental gap in the Niger Delta, Diri said the governors had also been robbed of their advisory role, which would have enabled the board to embark on people-oriented projects in the region.
He said, “The NDDC has a lot of abandoned projects in Bayelsa State. From reports, we have over 1,700 projects that are dotted all over Bayelsa State. I know that is not healthy.
“I like to, at this juncture, again, appeal to President Muhammadu Buhari to constitute a substantive board for the NDDC according to the Act setting it up.
“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.
“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.
“It is my belief that collaborating with the NDDC will create a more robust impression and leave a lasting legacy for our people and generations yet unborn. 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.”