Rivers state governor, Nyesome Wike, says the Niger Delta Development Commission is a ‘cash cow’ for politicians and N10bn was withdrawn from its account to “fight against” his reelection in the 2019 governorship election.
Speaking on Channels TV programme, Sunrise Daily, Wike said he was not surprised by the recent revelations of corruption in the agency.
“I have said before and it is very clear; my concern is everybody knows that NDDC was set up for the development of the region,” he said.
He added, “Unfortunately, they have turned it to a different thing; NDDC is a cash cow for politicians. In my own election, NDDC brought N10 billion cash to fight against me.”4
Governor Wike also accused the agency of embarking on projects in Rivers without the consent of the state government.
He also reacted to the probe of the NDDC by the lawmakers, saying it was one-sided as the Interim Management Committee (IMC) of the agency led by Professor Kemebradikumo Pondei ought to be investigated as well.
“When they are talking about probing IMC, I said what are you doing only with IMC, what about the other committees? Professor Kemebradikumo and the rest of them. They (the lawmakers) have not invited us and why I don’t want to go is that what am I doing with the IMC?” the governor asked.
He stated, “I am one governor who challenged the NDDC; we went to the Federal High Court, the Federal High Court returned the matter to the State High Court. NDDC went to appeal and we won them and at the State High Court, we have won them.
“You cannot go to a state and begin to carry out projects without the permission of the state government, you don’t know what their plans are. You can’t come into my state to disturb my development plan, you must let me know.”
Governor Wike believes that in order to reverse the fortune of the agency, technocrats and not politicians should be placed in charge of the commission to enable it function effectively.
Explaining the role of governors in the South-South, he said, “Under the NDDC Act, there should be a governing board made up of the governors.
“Since 2015 we have been asking for that board, but it was only last year that the President was able to … constitute a governing board. But that is just theory.”
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