…Partners with USAID, PH Club
The most consistent slogan in the new Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) seems to be partnership, collaboration, cooperation.
This seems to have made impossible to be possible as most states of the Niger Delta now want to work with the Commission led by Bayelsa-born Samuel Ogbuku, a Uniport alumnus who is said to be have fought in the trenches with the boys during the struggle.
Read also: Bayelsa community honours NDDC’s CEO, Ogbuku
The partnership drive has also won the big corporations such as the NLNG, KPMG, etc, to work with them in delivering value in the ravaged Niger Delta region. Many more are on the way, BusinessDay gathered.
The latest is to be the Port Harcourt Club which boasts of men and women from varied background in industry, academia, and politics. The NDDC just flew back to the garden city where they engaged with the USAID to restore trust in how mega-agencies can be run.
Ogbuku says the Commission is ready to partner with Port Harcourt Club to boost social activities in the Rivers State capital. So, social activities are now a major focus.
Speaking when members of the executive of the club paid him a courtesy visit in his office at the NDDC headquarters in Port Harcourt, Ogbuku said the Commission was open to sustainable relationships that would bring back the past glory of Port Harcourt city, so that the present generation would be proud that in their time the social life in the Garden City was revived.
The NDDC CEO recalled with nostalgia the serene atmosphere created by the older generation, insisting that such beautiful scenery would be revitalised to keep the old memories alive.
According to him the present generation would not allow social activities in the city to stagnate or retrogress, promising to galvanise progressive residents of the city to pull resources together to build a society that would be stronger and socially active.
Ogbuku used the opportunity to request for the revival of the W.W. White football tournament amongst secondary school students in the state.
According to him while growing up in the city of Port Harcourt, it was through the football competition that students in secondary schools were brought together in the state to socialize.
The President of the Port Harcourt, Soberekon Dikibo, while congratulating Ogbuku on his reappointment as the Managing Director of the NDDC, applauded President Ahmed Bola Tinubu, for making the right choice and described him as a true Port Harcourt man.
As a mark of honour, the Club conferred on the NDDC Managing Director an honorary membership of the Club.
Dikibo while conferring the special membership on Ogbuku, said though membership follows a strict process of nomination and subscription, it was customary of the club to offer the membership to deserving public officers such as service chiefs and heads of selected Federal parastatals serving in the state.
Read also: Reps screen NDDC board nominees
The Port Harcourt Club, founded in 1928, is family-oriented sports and recreational club South of the River Niger, has been in existence for nearly a century and has over 1,800 members.
NDDC and USAID
Meanwhile, the NDDC has reached out beyond Nigeria to source for help to restore trust in the Commission.
It has also restated its determination to establish collaborative relationships and focus on governance, as part of its commitment to transformative change in the Niger Delta region.
Speaking during a meeting with representatives of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) at the United States Embassy in Abuja, the NDDC Managing Director, Samuel Ogbuku, stressed the need to rebuild public trust and enhance service delivery in the Niger Delta region.
The NDDC delegation, led by Ogbuku, included the Director of Information Technology and Innovation, Emeka Ani; NDDC Consultant on Public-Private Partnership (PPP), Uche Igwe, and other directors.
On the other hand, the USAID delegation from the Peace and Democratic Governance (PDG) programme included the Office Director, Daniel Morris, who connected virtually; Deputy Director, Melissa Desai; Programme Specialist, Aisha Shehu; and Governance Specialist, Machill Maxwell.
The NDDC CEO noted that the meeting was aimed at exploring collaborative strategies that aligned with several United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs. Specifically, the discussions mirrored the aspirations of SDG 16, which focuses on promoting peace, justice, and building strong institutions, and SDG 17, which advocates for partnerships to achieve these goals.
Ogbuku said that the new management of NDDC was keen on doing things differently, stating that the new approach signified a commitment from the Commission to revitalise its image and operations and align itself more closely with global sustainable development objectives.
The NDDC boss was said to have briefed the USAID team about several ongoing reforms and programmes the Commission had embarked on, including “Project Hope, which is building a comprehensive database of young people in the Niger Delta to ensure that a solid foundation is built for interventions without undue political interferences.”
He also briefed the team about the progress of the ongoing assessment by KPMG, which is now producing a standard operating procedure (SOP) to cover all aspects of the Commission’s activities and transactions.
Ogbuku informed the USAID of the willingness of the Commission to partner with the agency in every area that could empower the women and youth of the region in order to sustain the peaceful atmosphere currently enjoyed in the region. He pointed out specific areas like agriculture, technology, climate change and potential windows through which the agency could explore cooperation in a mutually beneficial manner.
The USAID Office Director, Daniel Morris, commended the proactive efforts of the NDDC, noting that it was indicative of a shift from traditional practices. He expressed enthusiasm over the Commission’s quest to establish productive partnerships.
Morris, who led the USAID team, thanked the NDDC Managing Director for leading the renewed efforts to challenge the negative public perception of the Commission and undertaking interventions that restore stakeholder confidence and rebuild public trust. The two teams agreed to continue to work together both in technical support and other areas in line with the mandate of the Commission.
The Deputy Office Director of the PDG programme, Melissa Desai, affirmed that the agency would consider the areas suggested as they plan the new programme in order to reestablish their footprint in the Niger Delta. She praised the efforts of the Commission in working in synergy with the state governments to ensure adequate coordination that reduces duplication and waste.
The partnership expert and consultant to the Commission thanked the USAID team for the meeting and confirmed that the interaction would continue to ensure that it yielded results that would positively impact on sustainable development in the region.