The Oasis Reporters
March 3, 2021
The Governor of Imo State, Senator Hope Uzodinma, has charged Niger Delta stakeholders to shun politics and give room for the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, to work for the development of Nigeria’s oil-rich region.
Senator Uzodinma made the appeal yesterday during a courtesy visit by the NDDC Interim Administrator, Mr Efiong Akwa, and his team of directors at the Imo State Government House, Owerri.
The governor lamented that over the years, politics had impeded the speed of work by the NDDC, advising Niger Deltans not to allow politics and sentiments to slow down the work of NDDC.
He declared: “The time for politics is over. This is a time for governance.”
Senator Uzodinma lauded President Muhammadu Buhari and the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio for the appointment of Akwa as NDDC Interim Administrator, pending the composition of a new board for the Commission.
The governor noted that the NDDC, as an interventionist agency, was meant to fast-track development of the oil-producing region of the country. He noted: “NDDC is not an ethnic or tribal organization,” warning those trying to portray it as such to stop forthwith.
He regretted that some young people were being sponsored to protest against the activities of the NDDC, urging them to stop and allow peace to reign because development could only take place in an atmosphere of peace.
He observed: “Since it is the wisdom of Mr. President to put in place an Interim Administration, we are bound to respect the position of the President and support the Interim Administrator.”
The governor said that Imo State was in dire need of NDDC’s intervention in roads and in the educational sector, especially the tertiary institutions. He asked the NDDC to furnish the hostel it built for the state university so that students could use the facility in comfort and safety, noting that it was particularly important now in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Earlier, the NDDC Chief Executive Officer told the governor that the Interim Management was meeting with important stakeholders of the Niger Delta region as directed by President Buhari, stating: “This is important, because partnership is key to development.”
According to Akwa, “Partnership is a key aspect in United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It advocates for a shared vision, shared responsibility, shared commitment, as well as shared budgeting process and implementation of development initiatives
“That was the spirit in fashioning a Master Plan for the Niger Delta, the vision of our shared allegiance to this great region. After so many years of neglect, it is important that, together, we do far more for our people. It is important that we do more for a region which has provided the bulk of Nigeria’s wealth, and accounted for our rise in the comity of nations.”
He commended the Imo State governor for embarking on many projects which were helping to open up areas with rich agricultural potential. “You are helping to boost the economy of these areas and helping to improve the living conditions of the people. We are here to learn from you,” he said.
The NDDC boss highlighted the importance of energising the Commission’s Presidential Advisory Council, comprising the state governors in the nine Niger Delta states, stating: “The past practice where the Commission undertook projects and programmes in the states, without first building a working coalition with the states governments, to integrate our plans, policies, projects and programmes into the state government’s overall master plan, will no longer hold.”
Akwa said that the courtesy visit was both to acknowledge the governor’s strategic importance to Niger Delta development, as well as to seek ways in which to forge a stronger alliance with the government and people of Imo State.
He remarked: “We are determined to continue to make a difference in the Niger Delta region in general, and in Imo State, in particular. We remain committed to providing projects and programmes of enduring quality. To build the Niger Delta is to build ourselves. To make it a better place is to give our people a better place.”
The Interim Administrator later handed over keys to four waste disposal trucks to the Akwa Ibom State Government to assist the government in its efforts to improve the sanitary conditions of the cities in the state.