By Joseph Erunke
ABUJA-IJAW Youth Consultative Forum has drummed support for the interim board of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC,saying the support for the new leadership was necessary for the success of the new board.
The group which explained that the ongoing forensic audit of the board’s activities was to strengthen transparency and accountability in the commission,hailed President Mohammadu Buhari for the development.
Chairman of the forum,Comrade Ebizimor Preye,in a statement, Sunday,insisted that a support for the Dr. Gbene Joi Nunieh-led interim board would assist it in repositioning and prioritizing the development of the Niger Delta region.
The group which explained that the setting of of an interim board of the commission, was part of “President Muhammadu Buhari’s agenda to curb corruption in all sectors and promote accountability and good governance”,
appealed to the people of the region to particularly “support the Ongoing Audit of the NDDC and allow the interim Board to manage the affairs of the commission.”
“We call on all Niger Deltans and Nigerians at large to support the Ongoing Audit of the NDDC and allow the interim Board to manage the affairs of the commission.
“No doubt, this move is part of the President Muhammadu Buhari agenda to curb corruption in all sectors and promote accountability and good governance. We call on all Niger Deltans and Nigerians at large to support the Ongoing Audit of the NDDC and allow the interim Board to manage the affairs of the commission.
“Let the place be clean up, awaiting the new board. We need a cleaner NDDC, a better reforms,” the statement said.
The group,in the statement further said:Let’s support Dr. Gbene Joi Nunieh-led interim Board for a Whole New Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) that will reposition and prioritize the Development of the Niger Delta region.”
“If only we can all see the bigger picture of the ongoing forensic audit which is set up to strengthen transparency and accountability in the commission. ”
The statement further read: The Niger Delta people claim that the government has not done enough in the development of the region, but the Nigerian government has not been completely unresponsive to the demands.
“For instance, several measures have been taken by the government to reduce the poverty rate and build infrastructure with the establishments of the: Oil Mineral Producing Areas Development Commission (OMPADEC) in 1992, which later became, Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) in 1999, Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs (MNDA) in 2008 and the Presidential Amnesty Program in 2009,
“These were all created as a move to encourage economic and social developoment and reduce the conflict in the regions. Since 2000 till date, NDDC alone has received at least N15 trillion funds, yet failed to achieve the Niger Delta Regional Development Master Plan, in terms of socioeconomic development and the wellbeing of communities, there has been no tangible and visible progress.
“Much of the Region still remains underdeveloped with poor roads, little or no infrastructure and the country’s highest rate of youth unemployment and perception of poverty.
“The verdict as demonstrated by the lingering under performance and development crisis in the Niger Delta is that no significant milestones in terms of concrete achievements in the area compare to the huge amount spent.
“The commission, also charged with the responsibility of ‘facilitating the rapid, and sustainable development of the Niger Delta into a region that is economically prosperous, socially stable, ecologically regenerative and politically peaceful’ to offer a lasting solution to the socio-economic difficulties. However, right from the start it suffered from a lack of ownership.
“Despite the formal existence of oversight mechanisms, corruption, transparency, lack of supervisory oversight, and the absence of performance evaluation guidelines essentially have also been major problems. There have been recurrent concerns about fictitious projects and contracts being granted to friends and family members or used to prop up patronage for political or personal gains.”
According to the Mr Preys,”This article is not presented to discredit or disrespect anyone but to draw the attention of the Nigeria people and the Niger Delta indigene specifically to come together and support government.”