How Niger Delta Will Benefit From Buhari’s Govt – Oshiomhole
Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State says the Niger Delta region will benefit immensely from the government of President Muhammadu Buhari.
Speaking on Monday during the visit of the Chairman of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Senator Bassey Ewa-Henshaw who led other members of the Board including the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of NDDC, Mr Bassey Dan-Abia to his office, Oshiomhole said events of the past few years have shown that the friends of the Niger Delta are not necessarily from the region.
He said: “I am aware that the Board has initiated a number of projects and according to you, you have over a thousand of them totaling over a trillion naira. These are huge numbers. The expectations of the people of the Niger Delta are very high as they expect that the intervention agency would find resources to address their critical needs. I also know that the Board has been afflicted by critical Nigerian disease namely: clarity of ideas; the need to take extra-ordinary measures.
“The law is specifically clear as to how NDDC should be funded and all that is expected is that the Federal Ministry of Finance or to be more specific, the Federal Government ought to ensure that the law they had passed and signed which are in operation are enforced to the letter so that they in turn can compel the Board to ensure that the fund is judiciously expended.
“I am very confident that President Mohammadu Buhari, given his passion for development as a trusted friend of the poor masses which is his own main constituency, will do everything possible to look at the letter and the spirit and do whatever has to be done to ensure that the law of NDDC is complied with.”
Speaking further, the Governor said “We governors of the South-South region are meeting in the last week of this month and one of the issues to be discussed will be how we can collaborate to ensure that NDDC delivers on its mandate and gets the support of the appropriate authority so that it has the wherewithal to deal with projects that will impact on the region.”
Making a case for the NDDC to embark on major infrastructure projects, Oshiomhole said “the condition of the South-South will be effectively serviced with an efficient and effective rail system”, assuring that regardless of political party affiliations, Governors of the Niger Delta are united in their desire to ensure rapid development of the region. He advised the State Commissioners on the NDDC Board to ensure that the views they canvass at the commission reflect the expectations of the people of their states.
He said: “One major weakness I have observed in the running of the commission is that it has been over-politicized. It was not meant to be a political vehicle. Nigeria has opted for a multiple political democracy and our people from time to time could replace a government and a political party. No party will be too good to govern forever. Regardless of the government, there are certain key principles that must never be sacrificed, namely that composition of the Board must be made of people who bring to it the aspirations of their respective states.
“Governments will come and go but the people will remain. So you need to liaise and ensure you carry the authorities along. In each state, there is nobody who can claim to have the mandate of the people to govern more that the Governor, just like there is nobody in Nigeria who can claim to have a popular mandate to govern Nigeria than the president”, he said.
Earlier, Chairman of the Board, Senator Bassey Ewa-Henshaw appealed to the Governor to intervene on behalf of the NDDC to get the funds due to the Board released. According to him, the NDDC has not been funded, according to law, since 2001 and over N800 billion due to the Board unremitted.
He said the “vision of the Board is one that can provide a platform and the avenue for integrating and developing the Niger Delta sub-region through strategic intervention and key infrastructure development in road, rail and education.
“We can create business investment and employment opportunities for our people. We are not unaware of the negative perception of our people, but as a Board we have come determined to change that”, he said.