By Nsoyoh Okokon
Desperation drives irrational thoughts and actions, even as some analysts see it as the raw material of drastic change. One thing is certain though, never underestimate the desperation of people bound by a common ulterior motive as they will stop at nothing to achieve their aim.
It is sad and heart rending to observe the desperation being exhibited by some acclaimed elders from the Niger Delta region, apparently in a morbid quest to destroy the hard-earned reputation and character of a shining light in a most wicked attempt to take control of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC.
In a stretch of a miserable link associating the futile plot for the balkanization of the Commission to the highest political leadership of the South-South region, it becomes gloomy for the region to be subjected to the whims and caprices of one man who has arrogated supreme powers to himself just because providence has to heigh of leadership in the South-South region.
In the last two weeks the news media has been awash with reports of a purported petition to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, by a self-styled group under the aegis of the Niger Delta Elders for Good Governance (NDEGG), calling for the removal of Chief Samuel Ogbuku ( PhD) current Managing Director of the NDDC.
The presumed leader of the pseudo group which has no known address, His Royal Highness, Chief Donald Ewere, in the said petition spewed inanities and absolute falsehood against Dr Ogbuku, thinking in their deceitful minds that the presidency will be swayed by their untruth.
In a failed effort to dent the image of Dr Ogbuku, the group went as far as trampling on his goodwill and reputation to prove that he is a corrupt and bad person. The petitioner threw caution to the wind in a bid to so deceive and outlandishly alleged that Dr Ogbuku has mismanaged the sum of Three Hundred and Fifty Billion (N350b) Naira.
Chief Ogbuku only assumed duties as the Managing Director of the NDDC, on January 5th, 2023, he has barely been in office for about seven months. The records at the commission shows that the Commission has not received such amount as claimed by the group.
By speculating that there is a rift between the Senate President Senator Godswill Akpabio, Secretary to Government of the Federation, Senator George Akume and the Chief of Staff to the President, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamala, over the position of the Managing Director of the commission, the group is only attempting to sow a seed of discord between the government functionaries.
Over the years Senator Akpabio has been embroiled in the affairs of the NDDC in a negative way. Senator George Akume may be taking the wrong step if he aligned with Senator Akpabio to fight against the reappointment of Dr Ogbuku into incoming Board of the NDDC. The ground swell of opinion holds that the current MD is doing extremely well as and should be allowed to continue as the managing director of the commission.
To every discerning mind, it is trite law that the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federation, reserved the right to appoint persons that will work with him, there is a clear divide between the functions of the Executive and Legislative armed.
President Bola Ahmed Tinubu can never abdicate his responsivity by according the Senate President the right to absolutely decide who gets appointments in the South-South region as canvass by the group being the number three citizen and leader of the Niger Delta region even as the constitution is very clear on powers of the President of the country.
It is a height of disrespect to the office of the Present of the Federation for the leadership of the group to assume the function of Mr. President and presume an anger and frustration against President Tinubu for ignoring their call for the removal of Dr Samuel Ogbugu and institute an interim government which the people of the region has consistently rejected.
Those causing confusion in twisting the system are actually stoking the embers of mistrust and disinformation about the Commission which should be the vehicle driving the expected development in the Niger Delta region.
The so-called elders, who seem to be hands-in-glove with other misguided bodies, is apparently being used as a tool of destabilization by those working against the development of the Niger Delta.
Coming at a time the NDDC is busy pursuing innovative policies aimed at delivering services more efficiently to the people of the Niger Delta, it is sad that some people appear intent on distracting the Commission.
What they fail to realise is that a distabilised NDDC is a loss to the Niger Delta region. It is obvious that one of the banes of the poor development of the region is associated with incessant change in the leadership and introduction of Interim Administration in the Commission.
Although we cannot discountenance the effects of political interference in the activities of the NDDC, we are pleased that the current management has adopted measures to check these extraneous influences.
The claim that the current NDDC management is not working for the general good of the people is preposterous, considering the numerous development projects of the Commission. It is common knowledge that the NDDC had invested in infrastructural development, especially on roads, electricity, healthcare, education, agriculture and environment.
From recent activities, one can say that NDDC is beginning to do things differently to improve the transparency of its processes; leverage technology to increase accountability and efficiency; consult stakeholders frequently; engage proactively and be creative about the programmes that it designs to uplift the people and the region.
Indeed, it is a new dawn at the Commission and the era of underhand practices are over and to sustain the progress made so far, the Commission needs the support and cooperation of all stakeholders to drive development in the Niger Delta region. The last thing it needs is unnecessary distractions from mischief makers
Perhaps, the scramble to exert influence in the affairs of the NDDC is because of the wrong notion that the Commission is a “money-spinning” agency. This must be discountenanced. Contrary to this narrative, the Commission has demonstrated that is dedicated to fostering sustainable development and uplifting the lives of the people in the Niger Delta region.
To overcome the challenge of poor funding, the NDDC has adopted a partnership approach that prioritizes building strong and effective partnerships with relevant stakeholders. Through this approach, the Commission hopes to leverage on the resources, expertise, and goodwill of various partners, such as federal and state governments, local communities, non-governmental organizations, international agencies, and private sector entities. The NDDC believes that by working together with these partners, it can mobilize more funds, reduce costs, improve efficiency, and enhance impact.
The NDDC is currently exploring more avenues for collaboration and cooperation with all stakeholders who share its vision and mission. The Commission believes that by working together, it can achieve more with less to achieve its primary objective of promoting sustainable development, providing vital infrastructure, and enhancing the livelihoods of the people in the region.
The NDDC focuses on a comprehensive range of initiatives to improve the quality of life for the people of the Niger Delta, executing a diverse portfolio of projects that span infrastructure development, education enhancement, healthcare advancement, skill acquisition, and empowerment programs. These endeavors are meticulously designed to create tangible and enduring positive changes in the lives of the people.
It is important to note that the NDDC operates within strict regulatory guidelines and financial regulations laid down by the government. These guidelines ensure that transparency, accountability, and integrity are maintained at all levels of the organization.
The Commission, as an interventionist agency, should continue to focus on its mandate of fostering sustainable development in the Niger Delta region, as well as work diligently, transparently, and in collaboration with all stakeholders to achieve meaningful impact and improve the lives of the people within the region.
All Niger Delta stakeholders should join in the efforts to transform the Niger Delta into a thriving center of sustainable development and shun all divisive tendencies.