A group in Ondo State, Ilaje Professionals Forum (IPF), has canvassed reforms aimed at re-positioning the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) for fair and effective discharge of its statutory responsibilities.
In a statement issued in Igbokoda, the headquarters of Ilaje Local Government, by the Secretary General of IPF, Comrade Olufemi Aduwo, the group admonished all stakeholders to support the reforms initiated by the Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba-led board of the NDDC towards achieving the goal of establishing the commission.
The professionals noted the great strides the NDDC has made towards encouraging education and empowering the youth not only to be self-reliant but to become employers of labour, and thereby stemming the tide of restiveness and hostilities in the volatile Niger Delta that impede development of the oil-rich region.
“The reform will make NDDC the vehicle to bring development and peace to the troubled Niger Delta and restore the confidence of the entire nation in the commission especially at this challenging time.
“This will also entrench transparency and enable the commission get necessary and important support from the stakeholders,” IPF stated.
The group further stated that NDDC’s partnership with the Bureau for Public Service Reforms, Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) and Open Government Partnership would better establish transparency in the commission.
The statement reads: “NDDC should take a step further to create awareness on the SDGs in the Niger Delta communities and encourage civil society organizations who are working with the World Bank and United Nations on SDGs to carry out assessment of the delivery of the goals in the region,” Aduwo said.
”The Udoma-Egba-led board is not a continuation of the previous board. Section 5 (2) of the Act refers to a situation where a vacancy occurs as a result of any of the provisions of section 5(1) as opposed to when the entire board is dissolved. In this case, the previous board was dissolved and its tenure extinguished.
“Dissolution of the board cannot be categorised as a vacancy under the Act. Dissolution signifies total extinguishing of the board; it simply ceases to exist and there cannot be any remainder of a period in the life or tenure of the board that a successor is expected to complete.
“There has to be a fresh composition of the board for a fresh term of four years.
“We appeal to the Federal Government to expedite action on the appointment of a commissioner and a director to represent Ondo State in the commission. The delay has caused the oil-producing llaje area and the state a huge loss since 2016.
“We appeal to the youths in Niger Delta to pursue their case through dialogue and not allow politicians to use them to advance their selfish interests .The ugly situations in the past where people used blackmail and force to get what they wanted in the NDDC should stop as it was a major factor that caused the woeful performance of the commission in the past.
“The Senator Victor Ndoma Egba-led management board should be supported by all and sundry to reform the commission and achieve concrete results for the good of all.
“The present board is made up of credible people from the Niger Delta, who have served the public in the past at various capacities.
“Let us all support this new management of the NDDC to chart a new course for the commission to deliver on its mandate and not to blackmail them.”