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Exchange of communications baton at NDDC: Pius out, Seledi in

Exchange of communications baton at NDDC: Pius out, Seledi in

Wednesday, June 26, 2024, would mark the last date of Pius Ughkpoteni (PhD) as Director, Corporate Communications, Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC). Same day will welcome Seledi Thompson-Wakama as new head.

As in most big corporate organisations, especially those activities of which determine how a people would view their destiny and view the political leadership class, heading corporate communications is usually dicey; and change is even more dicey.

In the NDDC, many believe that two divisions decide how the oil region would view their fate and view the government of the day: Projects directorate that often executes projects worth between N400Bn and N1.9trillion; and the Communication directorate that has to tell the size of story worth double that budget to make the people believe they saw any change. It cannot be easy.

Read also: Dilapidated road: Delta agrarian community begs Oborevwori, NDDC to intervene

How then do the people appreciate the NDDC? Most persons believe it’s only when a chunk of the trillions get into their pockets; which Father Hassan Kukah and Emir Sanusi Lamido Sanusi say is impossible, even if you drill out all the oil in the land and sell and share.

So, there must be other ways of assessing the performance of the NDDC and such other ways would depend on the Communications Directorate. Some experts say press statements say what happened, but how do you communicate the ‘how’ and ‘why’ to the extent that the people feel satisfied without touching the money. That is what Pius has been doing, and that is what Seledi will have to do, even better. The biggest hazard of that position is that those (the people, the media, etc) who will assess and judge may not be competent in doing it due to many inadequacies including bias; but judge, they must.

The outgoing (Ughakpoteni) has poured appreciations and said what he is going to pursue, both in teaching, learning, and pursuing a passion in the form of an NGO. The incoming has been toasted as someone very tested and competent to fly the flag on. The rest is expectation which would have to be matched or surpassed.

Pius said: “I am deeply grateful to the Managing Director/CEO of the NDDC, Samuel Ogbuku, for his astute leadership and for considering wise counsel in approving the recommendation for my posting as the Director of Corporate Affairs. Leading this department has been an immense privilege and a profoundly fulfilling journey. Throughout my tenure, I have been fortunate to work alongside a dedicated team of professionals and collaborate with a wide range of stakeholders committed to the sustainable development of the Niger Delta region.”

Read also: Contractors to execute 1,006 projects as NDDC gets N1.9trn budget approval

Seledi Thompson Wakama is said to belong to the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR), a vital part of the NDDC’s history for a long time, working under the guidance of Anietie Usen and Christie Atako.

She has a strong educational background from the University of Port Harcourt and the Mandelson School of Business and Management in the UK, as well as a recent Leadership Certificate from Harvard Business School.

Reflecting on her appointment, Thompson-Wakama expressed gratitude for the opportunity and pledged to continue the NDDC’s commitment to transparency and accountability.