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Participants At NDDC Retreat Calls For Paradigm Shift To Accelerate Development In The Niger Delta Region (February 10, 2024)

Participants at the board and Management retreat of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) have called for a paradigm shift from the litany of setbacks and lost opportunities witnessed by the commission to address issues that would positively impact the lives of people and ensure the desired socio-economic development in the region in line with the Federal Government Renewed Hope Agenda.

The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Board and Management Retreat with the theme: " Renewed Hope: A New Era for Vitality, Peace and Development" which started on Thursday, 9th February, and ends on Friday 10th, 2024, in Ikot-Ekpene, Akwa Ibom State.

Minister, Ministry of Niger Delta Development (MNDD) Engr. Abubakar Momoh noted that the retreat presents us with the opportunity to interrogate and prescribe solutions in our corrective quest for sustainable development.

According to Engr. Momoh, “It's a platform in which Management and Stakeholders come together to brainstorm; cross-pollinate ideas, and chant new way forward. It is a veritable opportunity for us to examine some of the factors that have militated against the collective and efficient operations of NDDC in the last few years and we have a lot to learn from the presence of past leaders of the organization.

"If we must make any headway in chanting the desired roadmap for sustainable development, all hands must be on deck with every courage it deserves to tackle these factors that have constituted a clog in the wheel of the development programmes and policies in the region. In specific terms, today marks the rebirth of another era in the management of NDDC.

"To this end, I urge the new board and Management of NDDC to cautiously strive to enthrone a regime of strengthened institution through transparent and realistic adherence to financial regulations, public procurement acts, public service rules, and compliance with administrative guidelines. Also, collaboration with critical stakeholders, especially with the state governments is necessary to leverage the opportunities in achieving the presidential deliverables.
“There is a need to cautiously monitor and evaluate the performances of all contracts to ensure compliance. On our side as a ministry, we would make sure that monitoring measures are put in place to guarantee quality and ensure projects implemented stand the test of time. We need to do things differently with the new board so that people can see the value for money spent “he said.

The former lawmaker noted that in our commitment to make a difference, the Ministry has prioritized the harmonization of all development programmes and plans into a single integrated regional development plan and a roadmap to accelerate the development of the region.

Speaking earlier, the chairman Niger Delta Development Commission, governing board, Mr. Chiedu Ebie said that the objective of the retreat is replicated in the theme of the retreat "Renewed Hope: A New Era of Vitality, peace, and sustainable development", which is a reflection of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu strong desire to transform the Niger Delta Region into a region of peace and development.

The Board chairman called for the adoption of strategies that will enable the introduction and establishment of coordinated development in the region. Adding that, at the end of the retreat we should become aware that the main parameters for our assessment as board members and Management staff would be dependent on the way we discharge our responsibilities and the legacies we live behind in terms of development.

Managing Director/CEO NDDC, Dr. Samuel Ogbuku, in his presentation titled, "The journey so far and the road ahead" noted that the commission was created by an act of Parliament 24 years ago due to the agitation for better life in the region. Since then, the interventionist agency has done a lot in the provision of education, clean water, good health facilities, roads, medical outreach, training, and others to talk about. But even with this, a lot of people have different impressions of the commission.

Dr. Ogbuku said over the years, the NDDC has completed 7, 833 projects and 3,427 are ongoing to mitigate developmental challenges. However, in the course of doing this, mistakes were made resulting in many abandoned projects. In addressing this situation, the MD advocated for the ‘triple T’ approach. Transiting from transaction to transformation, means going beyond the idea of procurement to getting the work done and also exempting the commission from the 'Treasury Single Account'.

Chindaya Ahmadu
D(Press & PR)
11th February, 2024.

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