Dennis Idahosa

By Ozioruva Aliu

BENIN CITY –  HONOURABLE Dennis Idahosa is the member representing Ovia federal constituency of Edo State in the House of Representatives. He spoke on the ongoing controversies as they affect the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), insecurity, among other sundry issues.

NDDC

I am of the view that the operations of the commission should be taken back to the Presidency from the Ministry. Having a minister controlling NDDC is an error. With due respect to the minister involved, it is not directed at him, but I feel so pained because I see NDDC as a cash cow. 

The nine oil-producing states in the south cannot continue this way. When our ranking members in the National Assembly came up with the Act governing NDDC it was for the development of the region. But has there been any development in the region? No. All we are seeing are abandoned projects everywhere because it is used as a conduit for siphoning funds. I will advocate that they should give the Commission back to the Presidency. By so doing, it would have been eliminated from being under the control of one person. 

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With regards to the probes, it is not the fault of the National Assembly. Each time we are probing, you will discover that before the end of the probe the management team of the commission would have been changed. Such change in leadership is stalling most of our probes and that is why you have not seen a comprehensive report from the National Assembly on those being probed. I am not pleased with what is happening in that direction and I urge the President, Muhammadu Buhari, to look into it. There is a need for a board to be constituted in the commission.

   The Act governing the Commission gives the governors from the region the power to have inputs in the development of the area, but so far, I do not think the governors have been carried along. So, let us not bring partisan politics into this. The six governors in the South-South states are all members of the Peoples Democratic Party but it is not a yardstick for them not to be involved in critical decisions that have to do with NDDC. The governors in collaboration with stakeholders of the region should meet to come up with a template that would work because whatever they have been doing has failed. As it is, NDDC money is going to individual pockets and I do not think that is the reason why the Commission was established. Let us take partisan politics out of it and come up with a template that will work for the region.

Insecurity

Insecurity is one of our biggest enemies at the moment in Nigeria. No investor would want to invest in a country where there is insecurity. I recently got a message from the government of Canada warning its citizens to avoid Nigeria due to insecurity and for me that was very disturbing. Although we do not yet have school children kidnapped in the southern part of the country, I do not think we should wait until we start having such a scenario. I would encourage governors from the south to intensify the use of local vigilante groups to reduce the spate of insecurity in the south. I want to use this medium to talk to our leader, Muhammadu Buhari, who as president has the military at his disposal. 

The military is being paid with tax-payers money and they are not doing much to show for that. When there is insecurity in any region you declare a state of emergency in that region to flush out the bandits and criminals. If the President is not doing that, I strongly believe he is part of it.  With due respect, President Buhari is the leader of my party (All Progressives Congress) but it is disheartening to note that we have a leader that has the military at his disposal and we are still having this level of insecurity in the country. We are not happy and we want him to step up as the Commander-In-Chief of the Nigerian armed forces. 

This is not just a title, you must be seen to exhibit that power to protect your people. 

Insecurity as a result of compromise
Obviously. I strongly believe that there is a connivance between certain persons and those in authority, I do not want to mention names, but we know that when our former president, Olusegun Obasanjo, was confronted with similar situations in the South-South region when he was in power, he mobilised the military and they brought the system under control within a short time. Former President Obasanjo is from the southern part of the country, but he did not care if the criminal elements were his relations, he flushed them out. You cannot be habouring kidnappers, bandits, killer herdsmen because they are from a particular tribe, they should be flushed out to normalise the system. 

As a lawmaker in this country, if the system fails, I am also part of it. The military we once knew, if they are given instructions to carry out a task they carry out, this insecurity is escalating because they have not been truly instructed to do so. At the moment, we are referring to the damage it is doing to the education sector in the north, it has also affected other sectors. People no longer travel from one state to another for fear of insecurity and we cannot continue like this as a nation.

Crisis between Gov Godwin Obaseki and Comrade Adams Oshiomhole

I have tremendous respect for Governor Obaseki and Comrade Oshiomhole. I have always advocated for settlement among these two great leaders and I will continue to press for peace because the Bible says blessed are the peacemakers. Godwin Obaseki is in the PDP at the moment, while Oshiomhole is in the APC, I believe there is room for peace.  I call on Governor Obaseki not to allow the sycophants around him to lure him to continue with his friend, Oshiomhole. He should look at when Oshiomhole was there for him against all odds. Elections have come and gone and I think they should sheathe their swords. 

On the issue of the N30bn stormwater project, they know the details. I was a Commissioner for Investment and Public-Private-Partnership during that administration, and Governor Obaseki was the then Chairman of the Economic Team when Comrade Oshiomhole was at the helm of affairs of the cabinet. I have a fair knowledge of what transpired but I think we should move away from the past for Edo to move forward.

The clamour for who becomes President in 2023

What I want is what God wants for this nation, it is not about my interest but the interest of God. In the situation, we have found ourselves now, unless God intervenes Nigerian will soon be a failed state. In terms of equity, I do not think the northerners should expect to have the presidency in 2023 because from inception it has always been about rotation. In coming to the south, I am not particular about who should get it but will support anyone that God has given his blessings to. I will appeal to our spiritual leaders in the country to throw away sentiments and seek the face of God for guidance and direction so that we will not miss it this time. As a youth, I am advocating for a young, eloquent, proactive, and dogged leader that will listen to the yearnings of Nigerians and not someone with tribal sentiments.

Constituency projects 

The budget circle for the 2020 budget will elapse at the end of March. At the moment, there are 25 projects across the Ovia federal constituency. They include the construction of 18 schools that are 80 per cent completed. For me, it is not just giving the job to contractors, but to ensure that they are monitored to meet the maximum standard for the projects. There is also one healthcare centre, two skills acquisition centres, street light projects in seven communities, industrial borehole projects, and ultra-modern town hall building, which are at their various advanced levels of completion. Due to time constraints, they are being monitored to work both day and night to meet up with the March 31 deadline. 

Before I was elected, I was a grassroots man. Now that I am representing them at the federal level, I cannot be effective without having the input of our people. For that reason, I get in touch with them to give me the projects that they will appreciate. All the ongoing projects in the constituency have their inputs. It is a bottom-top approach and this will continue.

 Vanguard News Nigeria 

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