Okowa: Non-constitution of NDDC Board Hurting N’Delta

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Ifeanyi Okowa

Omon-Julius Onabu in Asaba

Delta State Governor, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa, has said that the non-constitution of the board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) despite the promise by President Muhammadu Buhari when he received the forensic audit report on the the Commission nearly three months ago, is unknown to law in Nigeria.

He, however, urged Mr President to rise to the occasion by doing the needful because the states of the South-South geo-political zone and others in the Niger Delta region were currently on the receiving end due to the non-constitution of the NDDC board by the President who has power to so do.

Okowa made the remarks on Tuesday during a parley with media practitioners at the Government House Asaba, stressing that that the enabling law does not allow the NDDC to operate without a duly constituted management board, which has been the case for over two years and still counting.

He noted that the governors as leaders of the region had never hidden their feelings concerning the disturbing situation, stressing that the governors have consistently made their stand known unequivocally.

Okowa said, “It is very unfortunate where we are at the moment; it ought not be so because we have not had a proper board for over two years now, which is not right.

“Whatever situation we are operating is unknown to the laws of this country. But more importantly is that states are being deprived of the opportunity of having representatives at the board because with the board, you have the MD (Managing Director) and EDs (Executive Directors) and state representatives who are able to understand that the budget of the NDDC is being run the way it is supposed to run, with the funds for each state getting to them.

“That has not been so for quite some time; and, that is why we have always complained and our fears have been made known. We were told by the presidency that as soon as the forensic report was submitted that the board would be constituted.

“Unfortunately the report has been submitted for some months now, we are still awaiting the constitution of the board. I think that no matter what is going on, there is a law and there is need for us to obey the law, there is the need for the FG to do what is right because beyond the law, the provisions in the law ensure that there is equity such that no state is shortchanged.

“At the moment we don’t have information as to when the board would be constituted, we will continue to make our voices heard. We hope that Mr. President would soon constitute the board because he is the only one that can do that.”