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The Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) has vowed to ensure that funds appropriated for the development of the Niger Delta region is utilised for the purpose of transforming the region.
The lawmaker stated this while receiving the 2021 edition of the transparency and anti-corruption award by the National Assembly New Media Forum in Abuja on Wednesday.
He remarked that the NDDC will work best if structured as an organisation which provides development for the oil-rich region.
“The Niger Delta gives oil, the Niger Delta gives more than 70% of the revenue of this country and the money going into the region is enough to transform the region but there has been nothing to show for it. It makes me sad as a Niger Deltan,” he lamented.
“Now that God has given us the opportunity to contribute our quota, we will be unfair to the generations yet unborn and we will be abusing the Grace of God upon our lives if we do not take decisive action in making the commission work.
“Our major desire is to be able to hand over a well-structured organisation that will have an unparalleled level of efficiency in terms of legislative framework for people coming after us.
“We want to build strong institution rather than strong personalities. For this reason, we are going to work on the laws of NDDC to make abuse of office impossible and that is what we are doing at the level of the 9th Assembly.
“NDDC will be a platform for the rebirth and transformation of the Niger Delta and we will do our best at this level to ensure that our oversight functions are done in line with global best practices and every kobo appropriated will be accounted for specifically for the development of the people.
He added that the Interim Administrator of the commission, Mr Efiong Akwa, had displayed readiness to reposition the commission.
He said, “I am grateful that the new administrator came and we can see what he is trying to do. The new headquarters building will be commissioned soon. And I am happy for that achievement.”
The Chairman of the Forum, Mr Yemi Itodo, had earlier noted that the award was inspired by the role played by the legislator during the probe of the NDDC last year.
While thanking the group of journalists for the gesture, Tunji-Ojo noted that the journey towards repositioning the commission would not have been possible save for the support of the leadership of the National Assembly
He added, “This is not just an award for me but also an award for the committee. I thank the leadership of the National Assembly especially the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila and also the Deputy Speaker, Hon. Idris Wase and the majority leader and the leadership of the minority caucus for the support to excel in that national assignment.
“It is a call to service and we cannot afford to let down the trust of the people.”
Special Adviser on New Media to Rep. Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo