The Senator representing Bayelsa West, Seriake Dickson, has urged the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), to order the immediate composition of the Niger Delta Development Commission’s board.
Dickson, in a statement on Wednesday, also asked the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, to start consulting stakeholders for the purpose of making the board a reality.
He said the next thing after the successful completion of the NDDC headquarters in Port Harcourt was for the President to constitute the board.
He said, “What is left now is for the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs to consult stakeholders and guide the President correctly in constituting the NDDC board in accordance with the Act as soon as possible
“While 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.
“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 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 one’s 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.”
Dickson noted that the Ministry of the Niger Delta Affairs was created by the late President Umar Yar’Adua, “a man who meant well for Nigeria and the Niger Delta.”
He said the establishment of the Ministry and the Amnesty programme were two legacies of the late Yar’adua that would continue to serve the national interest.
“I call on all stakeholders in the region to work with the Minister and the NDDC board when constituted,” he added.