Go for competent contractors — not political ones, Wike advises new NDDC board

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Nyesom Wike, governor of Rivers state, has advised the new board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to do things differently.

 

The new board members were inaugurated on Wednesday.

 

According to a statement by Kelvin Ebiri, his spokesperson, Wike spoke when Lauretta Onochie, the new board chairman, led other members of the board on a courtesy visit to the governor on Friday.

 

Wike advised the NDDC to adopt a regional development approach that will strictly commit to the holistic development of Niger Delta states.


The governor urged the board to embrace the conceptualisation and implementation of projects like the construction of highways with bridges to link states.

 

He said such projects will serve as economic corridors to ease interstate movement and promotion of socioeconomic integration within the region.

 

Wike also said when projects are awarded, they should not be given to “portfolio or political contractors”, but to competent ones who will stick to delivering quality projects.

 

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“I read what you said that things will be done differently. I want to believe that you’re sincere,” Wike said.

 

“Sometimes, I feel ashamed where I come from. We talk about underdevelopment, but look at the amount of money that has passed through NDDC, then look at the projects on ground.

 

“There is what we call regional development projects that can link up two states. Those are the kind of things NDDC should go for, and give it to competent contractors.

 

“Leave these political contractors. Leave all these portfolio contractors. Leave them alone. You have come to my state and you have seen what I have done.

 

“If I didn’t use Julius Berger and had used these political contractors, you won’t have seen anything here. Of course, you know how expensive Julius Berger is.

 

“From 2019 till now, we have done 12 flyovers by Julius Berger. You know how much we are talking about and you can replicate that. Even though they are expensive, you’ll see the value.”

 

The governor also said NDDC can devote huge sums annually, to executing projects in each state of the region without distorting the existing development master plan.

 

Speaking further, he said it is “shameful” to see the unproductive model NDDC had operated.

 

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“NDDC has become a cash cow for politicians. Look, part of the money NDDC lost in this state just to win election here. N10 [billion] wasted,” he said.

 

“N10 [billion] you could have used to construct a mega project in the state.”

 

In her address, Onochie said the board visited to formally introduce themselves to Wike.

 

She cited the quality of infrastructure delivered by Wike’s administration “that has transformed the entire landscape of the state”, adding that the board came to ask for guidance on “quality project delivering mantra across the region”.

 

“We are here to ask for your guidance. You have said and know, and you have spoken about the poor services that NDDC has been known for,” Onochie said.

 

“Trillions of naira have been pumped into this commission and we have little or nothing to show for it. We are here now, very determined to do things differently.”

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