…vows to make abuse of office impossible
By Doris Ferdinand
The chairman House of Representatives, committee on Niger Delta Development Commission, Hon Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo has condemned the politicizing of the commission.
Olubunmi disclosed this on Wednesday while addressing the press when he was presented an award of transparency and anti-corruption by the National Assembly Online Media.
He said that the NDDC act as being repealed seeks to address many issues which include stipulating punishment for the breach of NDDC act.
“When we look at the NDDC act, it is one act that has no punishment for whatsoever you do and when you don’t have deterrent measures, definitely abuse of office becomes inevitable.”
Olubunmi stressed that the commission is opting for development and not politics.
“There is over politicization of the commission and that is why the commission is seeing as an instrument to forster political interest. You have to pick one, either you want to play politics or you want development and for us, we have said, this commission is for development not for politicizing.”
He said that NDDC has become lawless where anything goes noting that the repealed act seeks to stipulate a basic qualification and level of experience for whoever seeks to become MD in NDDC.
“An MD who sits on a budget of over four hundred billion, yet there is no minimum qualification to be MD if NDDC, we have to have basic qualification that takes it away from politics, look at all organization that you can see that are working, you have basic requirements because ones the head is bad, it affects the entire body.
“You can see a scenario whereby you have project, you have somebody for example who is a pharmacist or a doctor being executive director project and you are to go and oversee roads, bridges of multi-billion, you don’t have the technical capacity for that? so if you want to be in such position, nothing stops you from being a registered engineer, current registered with minimum of certain level of experience. Because for you to oversight me or to oversee me or to supervise me, you should know better than me or you should know what I know.
“We saw issue of remittances of payment by nddc, by virtue of the act, what is the purnishment for non remittance? None. Inland revenue is an agency by the government that is supposed to be collecting all levies and co, so if we rework the laws in such a way that the power to collect these revenue lies with inland revenue, it cuts away that middle gap of third party collection agent. If inland revenue is clecting, inland revenue will remit straight.” He noted.
Olubunmi warns that development should not be shortchanged for politics as this could hamper the peace in the region.
“We have to look at certain department for example in the act of NDDC, where do you have stakeholders management? It is not in the act and for goodness sake, peace is key to the development of that region. That is a very volatile region. So if you don’t have offices, you don’t have officers saddled with responsibilities, directorate of stakeholders management, issue of peace management becomes difficult, development becomes impossible.
“We also have to look at how many politicians we have on the board of NDDC at a time, we have to balance both politicizing and development. When you are playing politics at the expense of development then that is a massive dis-service to the people that you have taken an oath to serve.
“Why is it that when any government come, thesame problem of NDDC keeps repeating itself, then it means that maybe the law is so flexible that allows people to maneuver.” Olubunmi reiterated.
Olubunmi thanked the leadership of the medium for the trust they vested in him and his committee and vows to work on the laws of NDDC to make abuse of office impossible.
“This is an award for all of us and it is a call to service, as they say, the reward for hard work is more work. I want to assure you, we will work harder so that we will not abuse this particular award.
“It is a challenge because we cannot afford to let down the people of the Niger Delta and most especially you that have vested your trust in us by giving us this award. once again, I thank you very much, we remain grateful, we remain appreciative and may God bless you.
“The journey of rebranding of NDDC will not stop with the issue of the probe. The probe is a very minor part of our journey. As a matter of fact, our major desire is to be able to hand over a well structured organization that will have an unpararell level of efficiency in terms of legislative framework for people coming after us.
“We are going to work on the laws of NDDC to make abuse of office impossible. To make it difficult for anybody to abuse office.
“We will ensure that NDDC will be a platform for the rebirth for the 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, for the development of the people.” Olubunmi said.