That Misguided Attack on NDDC
July 21, 2017 | Port Harcourt
At a time the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, is busy pursuing innovative policies aimed at delivering services more efficiently to the people of the Niger Delta region, some misguided youths are intent on distracting the Commission.
We are aware that the NDDC is driving a well-articulated reform programme tagged the 4-R strategy, which entails restructuring the balance sheet; reforming the governance systems; restoring the core mandate of the Commission and re-affirming commitment to doing what is right and proper.
Against this background, the recent allegation by a nondescript Egbesu United, EU, a group of former Niger-Delta militants, targeted at the NDDC and one of its Directors, is misguided and flows largely from ignorance.
The youth group, based in Bayelsa State, appears to have a penchant for making frivolous claims against public institutions and officials. Now, for no justifiable reason, they are calling for the sack of a formidable NDDC Executive Director.
In the past, the same ex-militant group, also called for the sack of the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs for not doing their bidding.
The group, whose actions and utterances have not been grounded on sound judgment, seems to have shifted its focus on the NDDC and its officials. A document released by the Publicity Secretary of the group, Odubu Ebirie, in Yenagoa Bayelsa, accused the NDDC Director of “serving personal interest and ego rather than promoting the interest of the region.”
The group claimed that apart from not meeting regional interests of the Commission, the actions of the Executive Director was “capable of destroying the All Progressive Congress, APC, fortune in the region.”
We hope that they realize that as a Federal Government agency, the NDDC has a responsibility to serve the people of the Niger Delta irrespective of their political affiliations.
Beyond the issue of politics, the claim of not working for the general good of the people is preposterous, considering the numerous development projects of the Commission. It is a common knowledge that the NDDC had invested in infrastructural development, especially on roads, electricity, healthcare, education, agriculture and environment.
We are aware that the Commission has so far built 3,489 roads (5,900 km). It has also intervened in coastal areas through shoreline protection, canalization and jetty projects. It has equally built electric power transmission lines and sub-stations in rural communities.
We can also affirm that NDDC has conducted 266 medical missions covering about 3 million patients in the region. It has built 47 cottage hospitals and 187 health centres and is currently building regional hospitals in different parts of the Niger Delta region.
In the area of education, the Commission has awarded Post-graduate scholarships to 1,411 students covering 344 PhD and 1,067 MSc. In order to boost education, it awarded contracts for the construction of 678 classroom blocks, 449 of which had been completed, while 229 are currently on-going.
The interventions in agriculture and various youth empowerment programmes are too numerous not to have been noticed by the Egbesu United.
Although we cannot discountenance the effects of political interference in the activities of the NDDC, we are pleased that the current Board and management have adopted measures to check these extraneous influences.
From all indications, the current NDDC Board and management are doing things differently by adopting new strategies. It is, a new dawn at the Commission and the era of underhand practices are over. So, the claim by Egbesu United “that the Commission awards contracts to proxies,” cannot be true.
The former Niger-Delta militants should know that the NDDC has moved on.