Senator Dikson raises issues on illegality of passing 2020 NDDC budget without a board
The newly sworn in Senator representing Bayelsa West Serieke Dikson has raised serious issues on the illegality of approving 2020 NDDC budget for a sole administrator that is unknown to the law to implement.
While making his contribution during consideration of the budget Senator Dikson said they were in a dilemma over the budget as there is no board in place.
He however said they are at a position where they have to pass the bill at least for the sake of the people.
Dikson also asked rhetorically to know the duration within which the sole administrator unknown to the NDDC law will act.
“Secondly arising from number one there is no indication as to how soon the President will exercise his power under the NDDC act in making the recommendation, he has the power to appoint, there is no indication.
“There is no indication whether this budget that we are now being told to pass will be the one that will be implemented by this sole administrator, unknown to the laws of this country, unknown to the NDDC act and unknown to this senate and yet we are made to consider and pass this budget.”
“We will need to add a coveat that when this budget is passed should not be implemented beyond the normal recurrent expences until the NDDC act is complied with.
“We would not want a situation where we pass this budget then one sole administrator unknown to the law, unknown to even the Senate, someone whose capacity you cannot access will do whatever his likes.
“You cannot hold him responsible now because he is not part of the creation of the law of the country.
“We should add a caveat that the capital component of this budget should not be implemented by this sole administrator it should be done by the board properly constituted according to law.”
“The national Assembly more than any other institution has a duty to guard and guide the independence of the operation of the NDDC act you have done. “I say so because when I was Governor of Bayelsa as chairman of the Governors of the SouthSouth Forum, we met with the president and supported the need for the forensic audit for the effective operation of the NDDC board. “Now we have a situation where instead of composition of the board as stipulated by the act, what was put in place was an illegal interim management committee and that is why I am thanking the President by extension the National Assembly for doing what is right
“As a matter of fact if you want to carry out a proper audit forensic or otherwise you set out the board for them to do what they have to do as it is happening with any other institution but for that if the NDDC things are left the way they are.
“All the government structures and mechanism put inplace by the act are nonexistent, they don’t have a governing board made up of the Governors and officials at the federal level, they have a board sitting on it and now the IMC has gone but in its place what do we have?
“You have another illegality replacing an earlier illegality for which the sebate and the National Assembly courageously took the position you have taken.
“So why we are now presented by this situation we are considering a budget, a budget to be implemented not by the IMC which has at least 3 persons.
“This budget we are now considering, if passed is to be implemented by rather another unknown entity called a sole administrator.
“Instead of an IMC that had three persons or more to manage the budget you now have an illegal entity known as a sole administrator to manage this budget.”
He thanked the senate and national Assembly for taking a principle and honorable position that they had taken
“We are all aware of the blackmail as we watched from outside that you had to face.”
“I want to use this opportunity to register our appreciation for the commitment and patriotism displayed by the leadership of both chambers of the national assembly at a time they overruled the president on the content and the funding dynamics and structure of the commission.
“As a result of that courage, the president you were part of that national Assembly that did that for this country and for the Niger Delta region when political carriers were sacrificed.
The senate President said it is true the sole administrator is not known to the law just like the IMC.
“Of course the we suspended any interaction with the IMC, of course the IMC is out of the way now so we are caught between the devil and the deep blue sea on one hand and we have admitted that much, we have the people of the Niger delta with all the challenges there.
“On another hand we have a sole administrator who is unknown to the law. My opinion about this thing first is the people themselves and I don’t think it will serve the people any good to say that we stop the implementation of the capital budget because that is what is meant for the people. “The recurrent is what the people at the headquarters and the civil servants would just be using. So if we say there should be no implementation of the capital then the people will remain unattended to and unfairly treated in my opinion “So I believe we need to balance this. We task our committee on NDDC to ensure that every kobo is prudently and economically applied. “Secondly we have been engaging with the executive arm of Government for the nominations to be made for the governing board.
He said they have been doing that and they will continue to put in a lot of effort to ensure that within the shortest possible time they get the nomination so that the NDDC act would be fully complied with.
“I think we have to approach it in this manner so that the people don’t lose because of the politics that is going on. I want to assure you we will not rest on our oars until we get the proper thing done.
“This senate has done the kind of thing it was supposed to do in the engagement throughout this period till this time.”