• Thursday, July 18, 2024
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Change NDDC narrative – Minister tells new board

Change NDDC narrative – Minister tells new board

…As board endorses collaboration as strategy for faster development

The newly inaugurated board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) has been charged to change the narrative of the Commission.

The minister handed down the charge during the inauguration of the new board in Abuja.

The minister did not name the issues that must be changed but in recent years, the Commission was inundated with crisis of diversion of funds, unexecuted projects, and hundreds of contracts awarded to one person. These led to a historic forensic audit which disclosed that over N6trillion had been squandered.

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The then outgoing Muhammadu Buhari-led presidency went for a clean sweep and seemed to carefully select Samuel Ogbuku to change the narrative. This was re-indorsed by the successor, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who scrapped the board and reconstituted it with his own chosen persons to work with Ogbuku.

Now, the Chairman of the board, Chiedu Ebie, has stressed the need for collaboration with all stakeholders in driving the ‘Renewed Hope Agenda’ of the administration of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, for Nigeria and the Niger Delta region in particular.

Speaking during the inauguration of the NDDC board at the Conference Room of the Ministry of Niger Delta Development in Abuja, Ebie said that the Commission would achieve more when there is collaboration and harmony in the development process.

He stated: “To maintain focus on our development efforts, the Board will honour and collaborate with critical stakeholders in the region. We will execute legacy projects based on detailed needs assessment. Furthermore, we will seek strategic collaborations and partnerships with opinion leaders, community leaders, professionals and development partners to leverage constructive and attainable outlooks.”

The NDDC chairman remarked that effective communication with key stakeholders was paramount in the discharge of the Commission’s duties, noting that it would foster trust, restore transparency and promote accountability.

Ebie affirmed: “The board will stand on the pedestal of Mr. President’s Renewed Hope mantra. We will look back at the vision and history of NDDC’s 23-year existential journey, aligning it with current realities and the objectives of the current administration.

“In tandem with the Presidency, National Assembly and Ministry of Niger Delta Development, we will take coordinated steps to come up with plans that will systematically guide our actions and efforts in actualizing our mandate.

“We earnestly seek the support and goodwill of stakeholders and people of the Niger Delta Region to enable us usher in a new era of vitality, hope, peace and sustainable development for the region.”

Speaking while inaugurating the board, the Minister of Niger Delta Development, an engineer, Abubakar Momoh, warned the new NDDC board to focus on performance. He challenged the board to change the narratives around the Commission.

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He explained that the current administration has a template to measure performance and any board that failed to measure up would be shown the way out.
He said: “It is necessary for you to know that this administration is quite different from others because they are going to be a lot of supervision and monitoring in order for us to deliver Myself as a Minister and the Permanent Secretary signed performance bond, with Mr. President with deliverables that are associated with the eight presidential priorities.”

He told they board members that they would be made to sign performance bond just like the Ministers during a proposed retreat for NDDC board members and management team. “I want this to be behind your mind so that as you start your work, you know exactly what is expected from you,” Momoh said.

On the need to change the negative perspective about the Commission, Momoh said, “We are all aware that over time, there have been a lot of complaints about NDDC. I want to appeal that this time around, we need to change the narratives.

Momoh also challenged the board on the need to complete abandoned projects scattered across the nine states that make up the commission.

The Minister advised the Board members and the Management to work in harmony to ensure that NDDC and the Niger Delta region was transformed.

The new board is as follows:

Chiedu Ebie (Chairman –Delta), Samuel Ogbuku (Managing Director/CEO –Bayelsa), Boma Iyaye (Executive Director; Finance and Admin. –Rivers), Victor Antai (Executive Director, Projects – Akwa-Ibom), Ifedayo Abegunde (Executive Director; Corporate Services – Ondo), and Dimaro Denyanbofa (state representative –Bayelsa).

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Others are Abasiandikan Nkono (state representative – Akwa Ibom), Monday Igbuya (state representative –Delta), Tony Okocha (state representative – Rivers), Patrick Aisowieren (state representative – Edo), Kyrian Uchegbu (state representative –Imo), Hon. Otito Thompson Atikase (state representative –Ondo), Dimgba Eruba (state representative –Abia) and Rt. Hon. Orok Duke, (state representative –Cross River) are others.

The three zonal members of the board are Nick Wende (zonal representative, North-Central), Namdas Abdulrazak (zonal representative, North-East, and Ibrahim Abdullahi Gobir (zonal representative, North-West).