… A Time to Heal, Build Together
By Ukpong Ukpong
Hosting the just concluded 4-day retreat of the governing board and management of the Niger Delta Development Commission in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital, was of great significance on several fronts for the State. According to the Managing Director of NDDC, Dr. Samuel Ogbuku, Akwa Ibom’s thriving economy bolstered by enduring peace, security and hospitable business atmosphere reflects the disposition of the reformed NDDC. In his own words, ” Akwa Ibom is the window of development for the Niger Delta Region”.
Such commendation for a State that produces most of the crude oil that funds Nigeria’s economy was not misplaced, moreso the State has shown great consistency in pursuing sustainable development and in building infrastructure that ease the cost of doing business as well as enhance self sufficiency. Also, in the course of opening up the State for development, the capacity of its human resources has been built to manage its vast and diverse natural resources, reaping from opportunities available within and across the region.
In the case of NDDC, the State has its best team forward with Dr. Emem Wilcox Wills serving Akwa Ibom people on the governing board. This is one appointment that has received applause across the State because the appointee is an experienced professional who has shown capacity in every assignment he handles. As a matter of fact, he transformed the State Ministry of Commerce and Industry into one of the most productive while serving there and contributed immensely to uplifting the psyche of citizens with his ‘Akwa Ibom Ado Ok’ orientation campaign. As a man of faith, he believes that every given opportunity whether in private or public service, is a gift from God to serve dutifully and selflessly with probity, knowing that one day an account will be required of his stewardship.
Accordingly, with Dr. Wills on the Board, Akwa Ibom people should look forward to collaboration between NDDC and state government in areas of common developmental objectives. Eventually, this expectation was expressed by the deputy governor, Sir Moses Ekpo while playing host to the governing board of NDDC at Government House recently. He admitted that Akwa Ibom is not a project for any one man or woman, noting that everyone has a stake in building our State.
Likewise, the repositioned board of NDDC shares this mindset as stated in the communique issued after the 4-day retreat. It stated in parts, “that the NDDC in its determination to take the Region to greater heights shall engage in Public Private partnership arrangements with State Governments, International Oil Companies (IOCs) as well as International Donor Agencies with a view to executing mega projects for the region”.
The importance of this partnership cannot be overemphasized as such notwithstanding differences in our religious beliefs, ethnic nationality or party affiliation, the growth and development of our State should be a common denominator that drives our polity. It is therefore time to commence the healing of our land through sincere, deliberate and thoughtful effort, targeted at building Akwa Ibom State together.
This is the assurance Akwa Ibom have with Dr. Wills on the governing board of the NDDC. Things will definitely take a new turn for good. He brings renewed hope that projects left undone will be completed, programmes meant for the State will be delivered intact and all eligible Akwa Ibom youths will have undeniable access to diverse empowerment opportunities whether in education, skills acquisition or social welfare. In the light of this, he needs the support of the government and people to succeed.