From Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
The Senator representing Bayelsa West and former governor of Bayelsa State, Henry Seriake Dickson, has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to constitute a new board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
Senator Dickson in a statement he personally signed, while commending Buhari, the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio and the entire NDDC team on the recent virtual commissioning of the new headquarters of the Commission in Port Harcourt, noted that ‘it is a good development which has brought to an end a very shameful episode that the NDDC in past years was unable to complete its own headquarters.’
According to the senator, what is left now is for Akpabio to consult stakeholders and guide the President correctly in constituting the NDDC board in accordance with the Act as soon as possible.
Sen Dickson, who pointed out that as the ongoing forensic audit of the NDDC is being finalised, the President can send the names to the Senate for appropriate action.
‘The Niger Delta people need a functional NDDC Board to begin to clear the mess in the commission. I call on the President to follow the NDDC Act in the composition of the expected board by which Bayelsa should have the Managing Director,’ he said.
Sen Dickson cautioned against those pushing for the transfer of the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs to the Presidency, stating that such is against the interests of the people of the region.
The statement read in part:
‘I am against the call that the Ministry of Niger Delta be transferred to the Presidency. I advise stakeholders and some leaders in the Niger Delta who are advocating such a move to withdraw it as it is not in the best interest of the Niger Delta.
‘The Niger Delta does not need such a self inflicted injury. Even if such people have disagreements with, or do not like Senator Akpabio or any current holder of that office, they should not push for an action that is glaringly inimical to the interest of the region.
‘The fact is that the office of the Minister will be occupied by someone from the Niger Delta and it will amount to cutting ones nose to spite the face to demand its transfer to the Presidency. We should not hesitate to point out errors on the part of those who are superintending over the affairs of the NDDC but it is against Niger Delta interest to move the supervision of the NDDC to any other place other than the Ministry of the Niger Delta.
‘The Ministry of the Niger Delta Affairs was created for us by a man who meant well for Nigeria and the Niger Delta, the late President Umar Yar’Adua. The establishment of the Ministry and the Amnesty programme are two legacies of President Musa Yaradua that will continue to serve the national interest.’