The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has assured the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, of support to ensure that it succeeds in the task of developing the Niger Delta region.
Wike spoke at the Rivers State Government House, Port Harcourt, during a courtesy visit by the NDDC Interim Administrator, Mr Efiong Akwa, who was accompanied by directors of the Commission.
Governor Wike called for an NDDC that would effectively support the states of the Niger Delta region in their development efforts, regretting that this had not been the case in the past. He declared: “As an interim administrator, you have an opportunity to make a change and I am happy that you have started well.”
Wike said he was ready to support the NDDC Interim Administrator, especially if the Commission would partner with the state governments, stating: “If you partner with us, we will support you. If you continue with the way you have started, the governors of the Niger Delta will support you but don’t play politics with the development of the Niger Delta.
He advised the interim administrator to visit all the governors of states in the region, urging him to work in the interest of Niger Delta people by embarking on regional projects in partnership with state governments.
Governor Wike observed: “NDDC does not belong to any ethnic group in the Niger Delta region. Those who are seeing themselves as the owners of NDDC are mistaken. They leave their states and come to Rivers State to block NDDC gates.
Wike warned that such attitude must stop, sounding a note of caution: “Nobody should take our tolerance for granted.”
He stated: “NDDC belongs to the people of the Niger Delta. No particular group should arrogate powers to themselves. The commission is owned by all the states of the Niger Delta region. The talk about people not coming from the core Niger Delta is not tenable. We must have to stop that kind of thinking.”
“We should not allow ex-militants who come under the cover of amnesty to be determining what happens in the Niger Delta region. We should not allow people to come to the region to intimidate us. They cannot be allowed to come from their states to block roads in Rivers State. It is somebody from Niger Delta that will be appointed to head NDDC and he can come from any of the states. It is not the birthright of certain states.”
Earlier in his address, the NDDC Interim Administrator, Mr Efiong Akwa, said that the Commission was determined to partner with the governors of the Niger Delta region.
He said: “I have made it a point of duty to reach out to critical stakeholders of the Niger Delta region in order to tap from their wealth of knowledge as well as to brief them of my desire to implement programmes and policies that will ensure quick and impactful deliverables for the people of the Niger Delta region in line with President Muhammadu Buhari’s directives.
Akwa congratulated Governor Wike for the infrastructural development in Rivers State which, he said, could only be achieved by someone who was focused, passionate and had the welfare of the people at heart.
He thanked the governor for the on-going dualisation of the Eastern By-pass Road where the newly completed NDDC head office is situated.
Akwa said: “The newly completed permanent head Office of the NDDC is now ready for commissioning after over 20 years of commencement of work. May we say, without mincing words that it is to Your Excellency’s credit that the NDDC permanent Head office project was smoothly completed due to the enabling environment provided by your exceptional leadership.
“It is important to point out that throughout the period that the Head Office was under construction, there was no hostility or disruption of the project by the host community.
“As a widely regarded project-oriented governor, we believe that the NDDC can do more in terms of deliverables for the people of Rivers state and the Niger Delta region in general by having a robust partnership with your government.”
The Interim Administrator said that the Commission had enjoyed a good working relationship with the government and people of Rivers state under the leadership of Governor Wike and promised to sustain the synergy.