The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyeson Wike, has endorsed the Interim Management Committee of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, inaugurated on November 5 by the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio.
Governor Wike spoke Wednesday during a courtesy visit at the Rivers State Government House, Port Harcourt, by members of the new management, led by the NDDC Acting Managing Director, Gbene Dr Joi Nunieh.
The NDDC Chief Executive Officer was accompanied by the Acting Executive Director, Finance and Administration, Chief Ibanga Bassey Etang; the Acting Executive Director, Projects, Dr. Cairo Ojougboh and other directors of the Commission.
Wike congratulated members of the Management Committee, stating: “As a true Rivers person, I cannot do anything that is against the interest of Rivers State. Political affiliations come secondary. What matters to me is the development of Rivers State.
“The Members of the Interim Management Committee are all from the Niger Delta region. So why can’t we support them.”
He declared: “The governors of the Niger Delta States met with Mr. President. We told him that there must be a surgical operation in NDDC. So we support the forensic audit as ordered by the President.”
The Rivers State Governor said that the fight over political appointments by Niger Delta people was unnecessary, noting that what the people need was development. “I feel ashamed that our people cannot come together and agree on development strategies,” he said.
Wike stated: “The appointment of the Interim Management is purely an executive function. There is no reason for our people to be fighting over it. I will protect anything that has to do with Rivers State. I will not support anybody asking that the Interim Management Committee should be removed.”
He advised: “If you have the capacity and the political will, you can right the wrongs in the NDDC. I urge you to use this opportunity given to you to put NDDC on the right track.”
Governor Wike said that the founding fathers of NDDC had lofty goals for the development of the region but regretted that the Commission was yet to achieve set objectives.
He charged the Commission to embark on legacy project in the region in partnership with state governments.
In her remarks, the NDDC Acting MD, Dr Nunieh, told the governor that the new management of the NDDC was determined to partner with the governors of the Niger Delta region.
She said: “We want to assure you that the interim management will work with you and plead that you let go of what has happened in the past to ensure that we work harmoniously in the interest of the Niger Delta people.”
The NDDC boss appealed to the governor to encourage a collaboration between the Commission and the Rivers State Government. She observed: “We have just inspected one of our warehouses and we found two medical boats that were meant for communities in Rivers State. They are waiting to be collected by the state government.”
Nunieh said that the NDDC would like to work with the medical team in the state ministry of health to manage the primary health centres in the rural communities and give the rural people access to medical services.
She told the governor that NDDC had built comprehensive health centres at Eneka in Obio-Akpor Local Government Area but regretted that it was illegally occupied and vandalised. A similar fate, she said befell other cottage hospitals built by the Commission in Eleme and Ogba-Egbema Local Government areas.