Joe Effiong, Uyo
The Senator representing Akwa Ibom North-West (Ikot Ekpene) Senatorial District, Obong Chris Ekpenyong, has regretted that the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) has failed to deliver on its core mandate since it was established in 2000.
Speaking with reporters in Uyo, at the weekend, the Senator, congratulating his former electoral opponent, Godswill Akpabio, on his appointment as Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, urged him to take advantage of the ongoing forensic auditing of ge NDDC ordered by President Muhammadu Buhari to purge the Commission of all ills hindering its progress.
Senator Ekpenyong commended President Buhari for ordering the forensic audit of the NDDC, noting that such an Executive Order would go a long way in correcting all the anomalies perpetrated by those he described as “political gladiators who turned the interventionist agency into a platform for selfish gains.”
“As a senator representing a section of the Niger Delta region, it is my belief and that of other leaders of the Niger Delta that this position of Mr President on this matter is right. I, therefore, want to advise my brother, the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, to make judicious use of this opportunity during his tenure to ensure that the region gets due attention in terms of physical infrastructural development and other myriads of environmental challenges confronting the region over the years.
“This is the time for the minister to walk the talk so that the tag of uncommon transformer that he is known for would be effectively cemented. He should avoid unnecessary distractions and set his eyes on the big task of cleaning the Augean stables at the NDDC for holistic growth and development of the region.
“The NDDC has no development template and the challenge facing him now in the region is to make the NDDC functional in order to achieve set goals, including fixing critical regional infrastructures such as the East-West Road, Ikot Ekpene-Calabar-Itu-Odukpani Road, Ikot Ekpene-Aba Raod, Ikot Ekpene-Ariam-Umuahia Road, Abak-Ikot Abasi Road, Ekparakwa-Iwukem Road and others scattered across the region,” he said.
Ekpenyong added that “effective galvanisation of such a regional development master plan will enhance economic integration as envisioned by Niger Delta leaders, including former governors Victor Attah (Akwa Ibom), Peter Odili (Rivers), late Alamiyeseigha (Bayelsa) and James Ibori (Delta).
He recalled that these Niger Delta leaders and stakeholders fought for the 13% Oil Derivation principle and the creation of the NDDC for the overall development of the sub-region.