Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has called on the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to focus on the development of the region, instead of being involved in partisan politics.

Speaking on Friday at the Government House, Port Harcourt when he granted audience to the Governing Board of the NDDC, Governor Wike said it will be counterproductive if NDDC continues to operate like a political party.

He noted that development in the Niger Delta has been stunted because of the politicisation of the activities of NDDC, which makes it difficult for the commission to focus on its core mandate.

The governor said that the NDDC is not a state, hence it must subject itself to the laws of the states where it operates.

The governor said: “NDDC is not a state. Therefore, it should respect the laws of the states where it operates. NDDC cannot wake up and start projects without seeking the cooperation of the host states.

“It is worrisome that NDDC is trying to politicise the execution of projects and this will not help the development of the region.

The governor added: “NDDC is not a political party. For now, we are talking about governance and all efforts must be geared towards the betterment of the people”.

Governor Wike explained that the NDDC needs the support and cooperation of states to make meaningful impact in the Niger Delta.

He regretted that the immediate past NDDC leadership never related with the Rivers State Government on development issues.

The governor urged the NDDC Governing Board to allow the Rivers State Government bear the cost of constructing the joint hospital on Women and Children with NDDC, after which the commission can effect a refund.

He assured the NDDC of the support of the Rivers State Government in the delivery of the development goals.

Earlier, the Chairman of the Board of the NDDC, Senator Victor Ndoma Egba informed that the new board will change the narrative of the NDDC by making the commission functional and responsive to the needs of the Niger Delta.

He said that the NDDC may have fallen short of the expectations of the people, pointing out that the new board will strengthen the systems and processes to ensure that NDDC delivers on her mandate.

The NDDC Chairman who was accompanied by the Managing Director, Mr Nsima Ekere and other Board Members, said that all organs of the commission will be activated, while Niger Delta State Governors will be more involved in the commission’s activities.

Highpoint of the visit by the NDDC Board was the tour of ongoing projects in Government House.