When on assumption of office in July this year, the current Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Mr. Umana Okon Umana, promised a new lease of life for the Niger Delta Ministry and the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), not a few waved him off as another appointee with a “sugar-coated mouth” given an opportunity to continue with the wanton looting of the money assigned for the development of the region.
However, things began to take a different shape for good with the rolling out of his Ministerial Action Plan and the hosting of a Management Retreat to draw up a roadmap for a new era in both the Niger Delta Ministry and the NDDC.
The Management Retreat was followed up with a review of non – connection of the NDDC head office in Port Harcourt, Rivers State to public power supply; Review of “Disproportionate recruitment of staff during the COVID-19 lockdown” ; petitions over irregular promotions and deployment of staff in the NDDC; compilation of list of all completed projects in the NDDC awaiting payments for public scrutiny; among other lofty initiatives aimed at repositioning the NDDC to play its pivotal role as the provider of “lasting solution to the socio-economic difficulties of the Niger Delta region and facilitating the rapid and sustainable development of the Niger Delta into a region that is economically prosperous, socially stable, ecologically regenerative and politically peaceful”
The sacking of the immediate past Sole Administrator of the NDDC, Barr. Effiong Akwa; who allegedly engaged in contract splitting to the tune of over N300bn and the appointment of the Acting Managing Director for the NDDC, Engr. Emmanuel Audu-Ohwavborua, seems to be the masterstroke aimed at unlocking the full potentials of the NDDC.
Since assumption of office, Engr. Emmanuel Audu-Ohwavborua, in compliance with the Ministerial directive of Mr. Umana Okon Umana, has shown a firm resolve to get the commission and its personnel to do things right and “to move the Commission from one that is determined to make a difference to one that is making a difference in the Niger Delta region”.
Within the short span of the tenure of the Acting Managing Director, the Commission has intervened on a failed portion of the East-West road as directed by Mr. Umana Okon Umana, during his recent visit to a section of the road devastated by flood. This is in addition to partnering IFAD in the training of the people of the region in Agriculture to curb unemployment in the region, among several other initiatives aimed at ameliorating the sufferings of the people of the region.
From the foregoing, President Buhari deserves a special commendation for acting in good faith by sacking the immediate past Sole Administrator and initiating lofty reforms through the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs aimed at repositioning the NDDC to play its pivotal role in the development of the Niger Delta region.