The Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Samuel Ogbuku, has urged people of the oil-rich region to unite and confront the challenges facing their communities.
Ogbuku made the call at the Commission’s headquarters in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, while receiving a delegation from the Ijaw Youths Council (IYC), on a solidarity visit. He informed the IYC leaders that the commission was founded on the foundation of inclusiveness and with the mission to promote sustainable development across all communities in the Niger Delta region’s nine states.
“NDDC is for the nine states of the Niger Delta region, meaning I am here to work in the interest of the nine states of the region. No matter your ethnic group in the Niger Delta region, we all face the same challenges. Therefore, we must all work together to address our challenges.
“All Niger Deltans must be accommodating and work in harmony to drive the process of development for the well-being of our people. I was not appointed to look back or shift blames. I was appointed to look forward and fix the problems in the region.
“This commitment to inclusiveness is not only regional but also aligns with the global vision of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),” Ogbuku told his visitors.
Continuing, he said that regardless of ethnicity, the people of the Niger Delta were bound by common challenges, including underdevelopment and ecological issues, which he noted the Commission was, more than ever before, poised to tackle.
“Regardless of our ethnicity, we are all related and we face common challenges. These challenges, like underdevelopment and ecological problems, bring us all together.”
To accelerate progress and address the persistent underdevelopment in the region, Ogbuku revealed the commission has adopted a robust public-private partnership (PPP) strategy to fund major projects.
This approach, he said entailed collaborative efforts with corporate organisations and state governments in the Niger Delta region.
He said, “We are actively engaged in solar power projects to contribute to the fight against climate change. Our goal is to electrify every community using solar energy, while also seeking to recover carbon credits through our projects.”
Ogbuku highlighted some of the commission’s strategic partners to include the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG), aimed at financing essential projects as the Bonny Ring Road, Okrika-Borokiri Road, and Sampou-Sabagrigha-Ulako Road and Bridge projects.
He maintained that those projects were in line with the SDGs and were focused on infrastructure development and environmental sustainability.
“Recently, we signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the NLNG, and through that partnership, we intend to revive the Bonny Ring Road project which was stalled for many years. The Okrika-Borokiri Road and bridge project is also being revived in partnership with the Rivers State Government. Similarly, in Bayelsa State, we are partnering with the state government on the Sampou-Sabagrigha-Ulako Road and Bridge project,” the NDDC boss said.
Earlier, the President of the Ijaw Youth Council, Jonathan Lokpobiri, had acknowledged the NDDC’s progress under Ogbuku’s leadership, saying, “The NDDC may not have reached where it is supposed to be but the NDDC is far from where it used to be.”
While congratulating Ogbaku on his re-appointment to the commission’s board, he also commended his exemplary leadership. Lokpobiri appealed to the Federal Government to fulfill its financial obligations to the NDDC, saying that the Commission was the primary driver of sustainable development in the region.