By Mike Odiegwu, Port Harcourt
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has accused the National Assembly of double standard for confirming former service chiefs as non-career ambassadors.
The governor spoke on Wednesday when the Senate Committee on Niger Delta paid him a courtesy visit at Government House, Port Harcourt.
Wike wondered why senators, who had earlier decried the poor performance of the service chiefs, sat to clear them for another appointment.
He said: “Let me use this opportunity to express the dismay of most Nigerians to the Senate. Convey this to the Senate. We must be courageous in whatever we are doing. Everything must not be party affairs. You (Senators) sat and discussed that they should dismiss the service chiefs. You said they’re not performing.
“Now the same people who were not performing, you have confirmed them as ambassadors. What kind of country are we?
“In anything we do, we must remember that there is tomorrow; our conscience is key. It’s not because I want to be a loyalist to a party. No. There are things you cannot reconcile at all.”
On the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Wike said the commission had abandoned its core mandate leaving those who canvassed for its establishment disillusioned.
“I don’t like talking about NDDC. It is unfortunate that those who fought for it, if they knew that this is how NDDC will be, I don’t think that they would have even asked for it,” he said.
He said over the years various National Assembly committees on NDDC had not provided sufficient direction to make the commission focus on its core mandate of developing the region.
Wike said some politicians had transformed the NDDC into a cash cow for the prosecution of sinister political agenda accusing the commission of spending N10bn to unseat him from office.
The governor urged the committee’s leadership to prevail on the management of the NDDC to embark on legacy infrastructural projects such as the eight flyover being constructed by the Rivers State government, and not to waste resources doing 50 or 100 meter roads.
He said: “You, as the Senate Committee Chairman, and that of the House Committee, you’re from the region too. You are supervising NDDC, so why not sit down with them to know what are the legacy projects that they want to carry out this year in the Niger Delta States. Tell them these are projects they must make sure first are being done.
“Rather than do that, you allow them do 50 or 100 meters road or a close that leads to someone’s house. What’s their business there?
“The National Assembly is part of the problem of NDDC . The presidency is part of the problem of NDDC and the party in power is part of the problem of NDDC, whichever party it is. They don’t allow NDDC to perform. We too in Niger Delta are not allowing them to perform. We are enemies to ourselves.”
The governor also expressed his displeasure over a Senator who overstepped his immunity during plenary to demean a serving governor by calling him a drunk.
In his speech, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Niger Delta, Senator Peter Nwaoboshi said their visit was to assure Wike, as the host of NDDC, that the commission would be supervised to perform within its core mandate.
He said: “As a committee, we are aware that you have some reservation with the NDDC based on your state’s previous relationship with them. We have come to assure you that with the people you have seen here, who are patriotic Nigerians, that we will make sure that the aspirations and the aim of creating the NDDC will be achieved.
“We will do everything that is possible within the limits of the constitution through our oversight functions for them to achieve their objectives.”
Nwaoboshi also commended the governor for providing security in Rivers State with NDDC benefiting from it.
He noted that Wike had become the strongest voice, who continued to speak truth to power at the risk of his political career.
He said: “We say without fear of contradiction that you are the strongest voice in the Niger Delta Region. You have always been courageous even at the risk of your political career to speak the truth to power.
“You have also advanced the interest of the people of Niger Delta. That is why anybody visiting Niger Delta will have nothing but to come and see that courageous man that is bestriding the area like a colossus.”