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NDDC has many untold success stories, says MD

Mr Ogbuku said the commission took care of the needs of the people in the region based on their needs assessment.

• April 23, 2024
Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC)
Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC)

The Niger Delta Development Commission has said contrary to general opinions it has many untold success stories.

The NDDC Managing Director, Dr Samuel Ogbuku, said this at the opening ceremony of a two-day technical committee meeting of the 6th National Council on Niger Delta in Asaba, Delta State on Monday.

The meeting is entitled, “Stimulating strategies for economic growth and development in the Niger Delta region.’’

Mr Ogbuku noted that not being able to tell its story, the commission gave room for the public to say things that were not correct.

He said that the commission had also been unable to generate data on its projects and programmes to prove what was done over the years.

He, however, assured that the era of not having data or evidence of projects and programmes was gone, adding the current administration had adopted strategies to showcase its activities transparently.

“This is the seventh governing board of the NDDC, but it has had many managing directors more than the number of governing boards. Despite its challenges, the commission has made a lot of successes. In some places, they say NDDC has not done anything; I had a similar impression too not until I became the MD/CEO of the NDDC. And from available records, the commission failed to tell its own story, so, the people started telling the story of NDDC that was not correct,” he said.

He said the management recently discovered that NDDC had completed a power project in Edo State many years back still to be inaugurated.

Mr Ogbuku, however, lauded the community for not allowing the project to be vandalised even when the credit had not been given to NDDC for the many years it had been without inauguration.

He said the commission, from available records, executed about 5,141km of roads across the nine states in the region.

He added that the commission had also taken care of the needs of the people in the region based on their needs assessment.

“This is because crude oil exploration eroded the economic lifestyle of the people; their agitations then were just the basics – community roads, schools, jetties, and water projects, which were the needs assessment when NDDC was constituted. Then, NDDC met the people according to their needs. However, the commission has graduated above that today. I can assure you that most of our communities today are sufficiently okay with some of the projects the commission has done. What we are doing now is to connect most of the communities to the cities.

“The commission today is intervening in everything about the lifestyle of the people of the region. We spent billions of naira on medical support,” he said.

He added that with its free medical healthcare, running into four years now, the commission had attended to more than 573, 258 patients from different communities in the region.

He said, “On foreign scholarships, we have done 2,323 students in the region and we have just published the resumption for 2024/2025 scholarship for postgraduate programmes.’’

The MD disclosed that the commission had adopted what he called ‘Triple T’ – Transiting, Transaction to Transformation to ensure accurate data keeping and transparency.

The commission, he said, had also adopted the ‘Project Hope Programme,’ which had ensured that a database was built for the youth of the Niger Delta.

“Currently, we have about 471,000 youths that have registered, yet we are pushing for more to be registered,” he said.

According to him, the database for the youth will enable the commission to intervene in any training programmes that may be necessary to equip the youth in specific training areas.

He disclosed that the commission has come up with the Niger Delta Chambers of Commerce to strengthen entrepreneurship in the region.

In addition, he noted that NDDC would soon be inaugurating an electricity power project in Ondo State to light up about five local government areas in the state.

He, however, said the commission could not do all the projects in the region alone.

He called for partnership with the state government and local and international corporate bodies for further development in the region.

Earlier, the Secretary to the State Government, Dr Kingsley Emu, while presenting a paper on the theme, advised the commission to explore the abounding economic opportunities, challenges and potential in the region.

According to him, the region has potential in tourism, agriculture, crude oil deposits, gas reserves, and ICT.

The SSG also identified the physical infrastructure development, like the coastal superhighways expected to begin in Lagos, through the coastal states of the Niger Delta to terminate at Calabar.

Meanwhile, the Director of Public Private Partnership Research Development, Dr Johnson Oseodion, said to bridge the infrastructural investment gap, Nigeria needs about $3 trillion.

The building and maintenance of the infrastructure, he said, would however be over the next 30 years. This will require the adoption of the Public Private Partnership model in energy, transport, agriculture, ICT, water and mining amongst others,” he said.

(NAN)

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