MINISTER of Niger Delta Affairs, Sen Godswill Akpabio has charged Governors of the South-South to desist from issuing directives to President Mohammadu Buhari on how to run the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) as they have no powers to indulge in such an act.
Akpabio stated this when he was in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, on Tuesday, to prepare ground for Thursday’s virtual inauguration of the NDDC permanent headquarters project.
The minister was reacting to Monday night’s resolutions in Port Harcourt by the South-South Governors Forum demanding that the President prevails on NDDC to pay only staff salaries and preserves incoming funds in an escrow account pending appointment of a substantive board.
Akpabio said, “I am not aware that governors now have powers to give directives to the President, but I think they have more critical issues to fix in the region. Federal Government told governors to allow democracy in LGs and stop the narrative of operating caretakers in the councils.
“In many of the states, councils are left without democratically elected LGs for several months. But even when they now say we want to conduct elections, somebody will sit in a room and write names of his choice as Chairman and councillors, but they have not been denied funds by FG.
“I am ready to have a board for NDDC by tomorrow, but let’s finish with the forensic audit first, then we can have a board, but it would not be business as usual. We brought forensic audit and even the governors supported it because we said NDDC has not worked.
“So we want to know why it hasn’t work to be able to do things differently. Forensic audit will be out in a few months. From what we know already, we will need some policy and legal amendments to have the change we want.
“So the governors should not be issuing directives to the President. They should carry out proper council elections. Today, NDDC does not have a balance sheet you can take to the World Bank to access funds. When the right thing is done, more money will come. A board will definitely be appointed.”
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