Edo, Delta meet on Bendel Development Commission

... security, economic cooperation top talks

Godwin Obaseki
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Edo State governor, Godwin Obaseki, and his Delta State counterpart, Ifeanyi Okowa, are putting finishing touches to the establishment of Bendel Development Commission, a joint body to aggregate and drive economic development efforts in the two states that formed the old Bendel State.
The two governors met on Wednesday to deliberate on the modalities for the establishment of the Commission at the Government House, Asaba, the Delta State capital.
Governor Obaseki said Edo State was strengthening ties with her sister state to deepen cooperation around developing an economic zone using the potential of the two states in oil and gas, human capital, agriculture and unique location.
Some of the efforts to be looked into include how the two states can work together to improve the impact of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) in the two states, he said.
He called for the inauguration of the advisory committee of governors for the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to improve the commission’s governance structure to enable it perform its duties better.
Edo and Delta states share the longest border and would both seek ways to improve security along the border communities, he said, and urged the Deputy Governors of the two states to fast-track resolution of border disputes.
He said Edo, Delta, Ondo and Ekiti states, the four shareholder states in Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC), intend to adopt a proactive approach to strengthen BEDC so the company could discharge its responsibility efficiently.
“The governments of the states under BEDC coverage area will be reviewing a proposal to see how we can jointly work together with the management of BEDC and all our shareholders to restructure the company to discharge its responsibility of providing power to the people of the states,” he said.
The two states would also work towards engaging the BEDC towards the restructuring of the company to provide more electricity for the people of both states towards enhanced economic fortunes, he said.
Noting that they will also work together to deal with security threats in the two states, the Edo governor said efforts would be strengthened towards tackling issues of kidnappings and banditry perpetrated with the cover of the forests in the two states.
Governor Okowa, who expressed delight at the visit, said the bond between the two states, which was broken from the old Bendel State, was stronger than the difference as a result of political leanings.
“Edo and Delta states are from Bendel State and the Bendel tie is a stronger bond than the political parties we belong. We want to build on this tie and leverage on it to address greater economic issues, which will be of great benefit to the people,” Okowa said.
The Edo State governor was accompanied by the Secretary to State Government, Osarodion Ogie, Solicitor General of the state, Oluwole Iyamu, Commissioner for Communication and Orientation, Paul Ohonbamu, executive chairman, Edo Development and Property Agency, Isoken Omo, special advisers and other aides.

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