Delta activist demands adequate funding for NDDC

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Comrade Jerome-Mario Utomi, a Niger Delta activist and the coordinator of the Social and Economic Justice Advocacy program, has praised the “rancor-free relationship” that currently exists between the Samuel Oguku-led management of the interventionist agency and the Barrister Chedu Ebie-led governing board of the Niger Delta Development Commission. He has also called on the Federal Government to provide the interventionist agency with additional support in the form of “adequate funding” so that it can carry out its mandate in the region.

He said, “This must be done, not for political reasons, but for the survival of our democracy and the economic life changes of the people of the Niger Delta.”

On Wednesday, Utomi made this available to the press in Warri, Delta State.

The statement described as “unprecedented” the present relationship between the NDDC board and management saying, “It has rekindled the hope of Niger Deltans.”

The statement says that “the NDDC board and management has been making corresponding efforts to offer a lasting solution to the socio-economic difficulties of the Niger Delta, to facilitate the rapid and sustainable development of the region into one that is economically prosperous, socially stable, ecologically regenerative and politically peaceful.”

It added, “It is obvious that there is a total departure from the old order, and without fear of contradiction, the current governing board and management of the agency is breathing fresh infrastructural and quality human capital into the region.”

Utomi insisted, “As a close observer to the several fact finding missions and studies in the Niger Delta region, it is easy to spot that NDDC present governing board and management have not only rekindled the hope of the people of the region, but demonstrated that they are committed to changing the narrative by transforming the backward condition of the region.

It is unprecedented, the rancor free relationship that exists between the governing board and management. Also, Mr. Ebie’s persistent promise that NDDC under his watch will not be in the press for the wrong reasons remains a positive attribute, which should be emulated by other public office holders at both state and federal levels of governance in the country. Why this understanding between the governing board and management should be underlined and celebrated is that in any environment where there is no peace, development will be impossible.

Mr. Ebie during the inauguration of the NDDC board at the Conference Room of the Ministry of Niger Delta Development in Abuja, promised that the agency will maintain focused on development efforts, fast-track development of the Niger Delta region, as well as seek strategic collaborations and partnerships with opinion leaders, community leaders, professionals and development partners to leverage constructive and attainable outlooks. Many viewed the statement as a regular music hall fame coming from appointees still basking in the euphoria of the new elevation.

Like every other well-meaning Niger Deltan, one is particularly elated with the record of completed, and ongoing achievements since its inauguration in November 2023, which presently reflects in the nine mandated states and exemplified in critical projects as designed by the agency; sustainable livelihood, building partnership, lighting up the Niger Delta, improved youth capacity and skill base, stakeholders engagement, project hope for renewed hope, among others; it is evident that the board is not only standing on the pedestal of Mr. President’s Renewed Hope mantra, but have aligned fully with current realities and the objectives of the current administration.

Some of these achievements include the ongoing Niger Delta Regional Specialist Hospital – Cardiovascular and Orthopedic – in Port Harcourt, the Rivers state capital; the completion and imminent inauguration of the 132/33kv electricity substation at Ode-Erinje in Okitipupa Local Government Area of Ondo State, which will illuminate over 2,000 communities across five local government areas within the oil-producing region of Ondo State; provision of solar-powered light to some communities in Edo, Delta and Bayelsa states, which will significantly impact lives by ending decades of darkness; award of full foreign postgraduate scholarship to 200 deserving Niger Deltans and construction of economically viable roads within the mandate states, among others.

While the present board and management recognize that it is their duty to serve Niger Delta communities and embrace the people’s aspirations, both now and in the future, by assuring the peoples economic growth, education, health, security, stability, comfort, leisure opportunities and freedom in ways that will allow for the most conducive atmosphere to achieve the targets that will guarantee their welfare and make bright future possible for the people of the region, critical stakeholders from the region, comprising traditional rulers, opinion leaders, media owners and professionals and international oil companies, should give the board and management the necessary support needed to succeed on the present assignment.

“The Federal Government should support the agency via adequate funding.”

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