The South-South Governors have urged President Muhammadu Buhari “to uphold the law establishing Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) by appropriately constituting its governing board.”
Speaking after their meeting in Government House, Port Harcourt, Rivers state capital on Monday, the Chairman of the South-South Governors Forum, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State also expressed the hope that the federal government would make the forensic audit report public and “deal justly and fairly with the report with a view to strengthen the capacity of NDDC to meet its obligation to the people of the region.”
Recall that earlier in the year, the Governors of the South-South States, speaking the minds of the agitated and deprived people of the oil-rich Niger Delta region had stated clearly that the current sole administrator/interim contraptions in NDDC does not comply with the NDDC Act which requires representation of the constituent states.
The South-South Governors who have consistently decried the running of NDDC contrary to the enabling law setting up the Commission have pointed out that it does not augur well for the people of the Niger Delta as an opportunity for all States to be represented as they ought to be represented in the board of the NDDC does not exist
Recall that other critical stakeholders such as the umbrella body of the Ijaw nation, worldwide, Ijaw National Congress (INC) also cautioned in a statement issued on September 10 that “any further delay in the inauguration of the NDDC board is a clear betrayal of trust and display of State insensitivity on Ijaw nation and Niger Delta region.” This followed the promise of President Buhari on the 24th day of June 2021, while receiving the Ijaw National Congress at the State House in Abuja that the NDDC Board would be inaugurated as soon as the forensic audit report is submitted and accepted.
The President said: ‘‘Based on the mismanagement that had previously bedevilled the NDDC, a forensic audit was set up and the result is expected by the end of July 2021. I want to assure you that as soon as the forensic audit report is submitted and accepted, the NDDC Board will be inaugurated.”
The report of the forensic audit of NDDC was submitted by Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, to President Buhari since September 2. More than one month after submission of the forensic audit report, there is increasing tension in the Niger Delta region over the delay in inaugurating members of the board of the Commission.
The South-South Governors’ meeting was presided over by the Chairman of the Forum, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, and attended by the Governors of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, Bayelsa state, Duoye Diri, Akwa Ibom State, Emmanuel Udom, and Edo State, Godwin Obaseki.