Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
Former federal commissioner for Information and South South leader, Edwin Clark, has said the North East Development Commission (NEDC) was not President Muhammadu Buhari’s idea but that of the 2014 national conference.
Reacting to the comment attributed to Buhari that the NEDC was his compensation to the region’s massive electoral support in the just concluded February presidential election, Clark said the claim showed he had no regard for originators of the idea.
He said Buhari should show appreciation for the usefulness of the enormous work done by the 492 delegates drawn from all the segments and strata of the country. He said it was wrong for the president to tie development programme to political patronage, warning that if development is tied to political patronage then the country is doomed.
Addressing newsmen at his Asokoro residence in Abuja, Clark said: “I watched the telecast of the inauguration of members of the NEDC by President Buhari on Wednesday, May 8. It was a very laudable event because the development of the region has been of great concern to some of us.
“I recall that this issue of developing the North East region was extensively deliberated upon during the 2014 national conference and it was agreed and resolved that a development commission should be set up.
“In inaugurating the commission members, President Buhari adduced two reasons. The first is that ‘the establishment of the commission was in fulfilment of the pledge of his administration to fast track development in the region’.
“I emphatically wish to state that the decision for establishing the NEDC was not the original idea of President Buhari, it did not originate as an executive memo from him to the National Assembly. The 2014 national conference which Mr. President had no regard for was indeed the originator of the idea for setting up of the NEDC.
“The credit should go to the 2014 national conference, for its patriotic thoughtfulness, and to the National Assembly for initiating the bill for the establishment of the commission.”