Damian Duruiheoma, Owerri
Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State has charged the Senate Committee on Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, to look into what he termed ‘the gross marginalization of the state by the commission” and take steps to ensure that the anomaly is corrected in the new dispensation.
The governor who spoke when the members of the Senate committee on NDDC led by its chairman Senator Peter Nwaoboshi paid a courtesy call on him on Tuesday at the Government House Owerri, urged the Senate Committee members that the NDDC had failed woefully in the state.
“If there is any state that has not benefited from NDDC programme, it is Imo state. We are worst for it. There is no single project completed by NDDC in Imo state except for boreholes and renovation of classrooms. Something has to be done and urgently too in Imo by the Commission to give the state sense of belonging”, he said.
The governor continued, “There must be change of attitude on the part of NDDC. Irrespective of political parties, we are one when it comes to governance. Governance is the key because the essence of democracy is to produce for people good leaders who will provide for the people dividends of democracy, and where this is lacking, democratic structure has failed.
“The Senate committee has done well by asking for government’s input before the passage of the NDDC budget. The Owerri/Okigwe Road is a death trap because of its narrow nature and it is a federal road. The NDDC can do that road. The road linking the Imo Industrial park and the one to OGUTA Lake can also be taken up. I want to advice the NDDC to think of one unique project that will touch the lives of the nine NDDC states like railway or power. That will define the true essence of the commission.”
The governor complained that “it is only in the NDDC that one kilometer of road is awarded for N500million and in Imo we do it for N70million, and yet the NDDC contractors wouldn’t do the job. The Senate should ask the contractors to come and do the job; we are not interested in recovering the money. We want the job done.”
Chairman of the Senate committee, Senator Nwaoboshi had earlier told the governor that they were in the state on fact-finding to enable them carry out total evaluation of NDDC Jobs from 2000 till date, and to also find out whether the performance of the commission had actually affected the lives of the people in the NDDC states, adding that the committee members decided to undertake such action following a motion to that effect in the senate which was passed.
Senator Nwaoboshi assured that his committee would ensure that the contractors who abandoned their sites on flimsy reasons would be made to face the wrath of the law, while those who required assistance of the committee to return to site would be assisted to do so.
According to him, the committee would not cut corners, while their report would reflect the facts on ground, adding that if the need arises, the committee might have a public hearing for all Nigerians to see the truth.