The Honourable Minister, Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, CON, says that the ministry is committed to harmonizing the Niger Delta Regional Development Master Plan with the Niger Delta Action Plan to produce one regional road map for development in Nigeria’s oil-rich region.
Akpabio, who spoke at the new Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Permanent Headquarters at the Eastern By-Pass, Port Harcourt as part of the activities during his working visit to the Niger Delta, harped on the need for collaboration and synergy in the effort to develop the Niger Delta region.
The visiting team was received by the NDDC Acting Managing Director, Professor Kemebradikumo Pondei, in company of the Acting Executive Director, Finance and Administration, Mr. Effiong Akwa, a member of the Interim Management Committee, IMC, Mrs Caroline Nagbo and directors of the Commission.
The Minister regretted that the NDDC had not lived up to expectations, noting that “Whether we like it or not, this child (NDDC) has not grown well in 19 years. It could have done better. Perhaps, we lost track of the developmental plan of the Niger Delta region.”
He, however, congratulated the NDDC Acting Managing Director and members of the IMC for doing a good job in delivering the new office complex, which he described as “a good story for the NDDC.”
“The most thrilling thing for me is that change has come to the NDDC. I must commend the management and staff of the NDDC for making this possible. Despite the criticisms and distractions, some positive change has taken place in the Commission and I like to see progress because I am a development-oriented politician.”Akpabio added.
While still speaking, the Minister also noted that Prof Pondei should be proud to be the first Chief Executive Officer of the NDDC to move into a new edifice. “The feat could not have been achieved without the cooperation of members of the IMC and the Ministry of the Niger Delta Affairs.
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, Babayo Ardo, in his remarks, said the site inspection embarked by the Minister is to appraise the progress of work done and also to give appropriate attention to areas where the Ministry with other development partners would intervene to ensure that the project is completed for the benefit of the people in the region.
Dr. Ardo said that, NDDC is being repositioned and refocused on the mandate of the Ministry with the Support of President Muhammadu Buhari for effective service delivery. Therefore, it is important to synergise the master plan and actions with all development partners.
Speaking earlier, the NDDC Chief Executive Officer said that the new headquarters would add value to the work of the NDDC towards meeting its mandate of facilitating the rapid development of the Niger Delta region.
In his own remarks, the NDDC Director of Project Monitoring and Supervision, Engr. Tonye George, said that he felt fulfilled that the project, which started in 1993 during the days of the Oil Minerals Producing Areas Development Commission, OMPADEC, was virtually completed.
He said that the IMC was able to push the project to the level where the contractor was now putting finishing touches because of the active support of the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, noting: “As we speak, members of the IMC now work from the new headquarters building.”