By Blessing Victor
Abubakar Mommoh, Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, has cautioned members of the Niger Delta Development Commission’s (NDDC) new board to perform or face dismissal by the Federal Government.
Mommoh, who was speaking while inaugurating the NDDC board, advised the new leadership to change the negative narrative held by the people against the commission. He explained that the current administration has a template to measure performance and any board that failed to measure up will be shown the way out.
“It is necessary for you to know that this administration is quite different from others because they are going to be a lot of supervision and monitoring in order for us to deliver. As you are aware, the permanent secretary and I signed a performance bond with Mr. President with deliverables that are associated with the eight presidential priorities,” said the minister.
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Just like ministers who signed a bond with the President, Mommoh said members of the board would be made to sign a performance bond. According to him, the performance bond will be signed during a proposed retreat for NDDC board members and the management team.
So, it’s very important because the President is not joking with this, and from time to time, we are expected to present our reports and there is also a committee that will be set up by Mr. President to monitor the performance of each ministry and the agencies.
“I want this to be behind your mind so that as you start your work, you know exactly what is expected of you. We are all aware that over time, there have been a lot of complaints about NDDC. I want to also use this opportunity to appeal that this time around, we need to change the narrative.
“As much as possible, let us try to change all those negative statements around the commission. This is the time to say that under the Presidency of Senator Bola Tinubu and my leadership in the ministry and yourself operating at that level, all those negative statements about NDDC are changed.
“What am I saying? There are quite a number of abandoned projects in the NDDC and there are quite a number of indebtedness in NDDC. You should take it as your personal responsibility as members of the board to develop the Niger Delta region. Because you are all from Niger Delta, and the progress of that area is supposed to be your utmost concern,” Momoh said.
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The minister challenged the board on the need to complete abandoned projects scattered across the nine states of the region and offset debts especially the ones owed to local contractors within the range of N30 million.
“That’s why we are advising you from the beginning on the need to work in harmony as members of the board and management. You need to work in harmony and make sure that you deliver and let it be recorded that in your time, NDDC was transformed. Also speaking, the NDDC Board Chairman, Chinedu Ebie, called for collaboration with all stakeholders in driving President Tinubu’s Renewed Hope Agenda for the region.
Ebie said the commission would achieve more when there was collaboration and harmony in the development process.
“To maintain focus on our development efforts, the board will honour and collaborate with critical stakeholders in the region. We will execute legacy projects based on detailed needs assessment. Furthermore, we will seek strategic collaborations and partnerships with opinion leaders, community leaders, professionals and development partners to leverage constructive and attainable outlooks.
“Effective communication with key stakeholders is paramount in the discharge of our duties as this will foster trust, restore transparency and promote accountability; all of which are of great importance to the people of the region and Nigeria. The board will stand on the pedestal of Mr. President’s Renewed Hope mantra.
“We will look back at the vision and history of NDDC’s 23-year existential journey, aligning it with current realities and the objectives of the current administration. This approach will illuminate the yearning needs of the people of the Niger Delta, identify the commission’s challenges, and proffer workable solutions.
“We acknowledge the genuine endeavors of our predecessors, who, at various times worked towards the development of the Niger Delta region through infrastructure projects and human capital development. Nonetheless, evident gaps still persist, as brought to light during our confirmation hearing at the National Assembly, especially concerning legacy and signature projects. This emphasizes the imperative for additional efforts and reforms centered on the needs of the people,” the chairman said.
The new board members include among others, Chiedu Ebie, Chairman, Samuel Ogbuku, Managing Director/CEO, Boma Iyaye, Executive Director, Finance and Administration; Victor Antai, Executive Director Projects, and Ifedayo Abegunde, Executive Director, Corporate Services.