Open letter to the newly constituted board of Niger Delta Development Commision (NDDC)
By GbaramatuVoice Editorial Board
The management of GbaramatuVoice Newspaper writes to congratulate the members of the newly constituted board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) for the well deserved appointment.
Going by their profiles at the public domain, it is obvious that the current board is filled with highly skilled Nigerians with capacity to deliver.
Against this backdrop, GbaramatuVoice specifically sends a wholehearted appreciation to the Commander-in-Chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces, President Muhammadu Buhari, for the appointment of these great men and women of honour to stir the ship of administration, and chart a new course for NDDC. Without doubt, Mr. President has become reputed for choosing the right people for the right job.
However, while the newspaper celebrates this well deserved appointments, it also observes with dissatisfaction that the NDDC which was set up in the year 2000 by enabling Act, as an interventionist agency to specifically bring about prosperity, integrated and sustainable development of the Niger Delta region particularly in the coastal areas of the region, have suddenly become different things to different people.
To some, NDDC is an Automated Teller Machine (ATM) used to fund political campaigns, compensate failed politicians from within, and outside the region. To others, it is an agency that has abandoned the riverine communities it was created to develop as it presently sites project in the cities without recourse to NEED assessment but based on political patronage and other pecuniary considerations.
Also, the Newspaper must, without fail, use this same medium to intimate the appointees that NDDC they inherited is reputed for project abandonment. A tour of the riverine and other remote communities of NDDC – member states will further clarify this position.
In the past 23years of its existence, NDDC have neither religiously trained the youths of the region to achieve self reliance nor vigorously empowered them with the needed formal education via scholarship schemes.
It is painfully true that some youths and adults from outside the region with high political connections and unwholesome supports from public office holders in high places have benefited more from NDDC as an agency than people of the Niger region-the targeted beneficiaries of the programme.
Making the whole narrative a disturbing episode is the painful awareness that past managements of the board were in the habit of not engaging stakeholders from the region in their day-to-day administration and policy formulations.
This is not just deplorable but condemnable.
Looking at these painful realities, it points to the fact that more work needs to be done and more reforms urgently calls for attention.
To get started, GbaramatuVoice calls on Lauretta Onochie led Governing Board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), to recognize that they are in the office not for private gain but to implement policies for the greater good of greater numbers.
The board must admit that presently, there exist great disappointments among the people of the Niger Delta region towards the agency- a frustration fueled by the peoples’ economic plights and uneven spread of projects in the region by NDDC. Also necessary at this moment is the need for the members of the new board to own up that the appointment has thrust on them yet another responsibility, an extremely important destiny; to complete a process of socioeconomic rejuvenation of the region which the successive Federal Governments have spent far too long a time to do.
To get started, the Newspaper calls on the members of the new board to study both individually and collectively some of these challenges listed above and take practical steps to have them addressed. They must reposition the agency to serve the people by doing things differently. This needs to be done not for political reason but for the overall interest of the people of the region.
Concretely, the keys to this victory lay in the board’s ability to allow its actions to be guided by reason and reality, re-investment in education, infrastructural development particularly in the coastal areas of the state, employment generation, training and re-training of youths from the region for self-reliance.
As part of its infrastructural democratization, GbaramatuVoice urges the NDDC new board to open up some of these coastal areas of the region by constructing major bridges to link such villages and towns. It is both a shame and a sin that in this 21st century, there are still communities in the region that cars cannot get to due to absence of link bridges.
The newspaper holds the opinion that constructing such bridges will assist boost the socioeconomic well being of such people
Finally, as the editorial board of GbaramatuVove again congratulates the new NDDC governing council for this well deserved appointment, it, as a matter of importance suggests that the board identifies their stakeholders and work closely with them.
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