Daniel Abia (Independent)
Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State has claimed that the immediate past board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) spent a whopping N10 billion during the 2019 election to stop him from getting a second term but that they failed.
“After the former board released N10 billion to remove me from office and they failed, they came here for a courtesy visit”, he said.
Wike revealed this on Wednesday during a courtesy visit by the interim management committee of the NDDC to the Government House, Port Harcourt.
Governor Wike also declared that the NDDC had collapsed, thus losing its capacity to deliver development to the Niger Delta region.
Wike said the NDDC had degenerated into a cash cow for politicians. “Those who fought for the establishment of the NDDC will weep that the commission has deviated from its mandate. The NDDC has collapsed. The NDDC has become a cash cow for politicians.
“The NDDC is now a political institution. The NDDC stole our money. There was an agreement for the Rivers State government and the NDDC to collaborate for the construction of the Mother and Child Hospital. The NDDC refused to pay her counterpart fund.
“Even the N800 million paid by the Rivers State government, the NDDC only paid N400 million to the contractor and diverted N400 million. “If they don’t pay our money, we will institute a legal action against the NDDC to retrieve our money,” he said.
Governor Wike disclosed that it was the Niger Delta governors that demanded the forensic audit of the NDDC because of the massive rot in the commission.
“Niger Delta governors asked for the forensic audit of the NDDC when we met with the president. We also asked for the setting up of the board of governors for the NDDC.
“I urge the interim committee to carry out a proper audit. You will meet obstacles but be determined to do a thorough job,” he said. He urged the people of the Niger Delta to work in unity to develop the geopolitical zone.
On the leadership of the NDDC, Governor Wike said the appointment of officials was strictly a function of the executive arm of government.
He said no other arm of government could determine who ran the NDDC.
While congratulating the acting Managing Director of the commission and members of the interim committee, Governor Wike said he’ll never be a party to any plot to remove a Rivers person from a position of responsibility.
He said despite all the funds pumped into NDDC, the commission had accumulated huge debts with no meaningful projects across the Niger Delta. He regretted that NDDC had also refused to patronise reputable contractors for projects.
Earlier, the acting managing director of the NDDC, Gbene Joi Nunieh, said the commission was determined to partner with Niger Delta governors for the development of the region.
She urged the Rivers State governor to forget the past failures of NDDC and partner with the commission. The acting managing director sought the assistance of the governor in the areas of health and education. She said some cottage hospitals completed by the NDDC had been illegally occupied.