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Driving through the
GRA junction to Waterlines stretch of Aba road in Port Harcourt, one can not help but notice the increased level of activity within that axis; the hustle and bustle surrounding this area each week day and the influx of people of different categories into the towering 8th floor edifice of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC,  draws attention and arouses the curiosity of every passer by.

Having been privileged to work with the NDDC since its early days, I have had the rare opportunity of  working with different management teams  saddled with the tasking responsibility of providing direction and implementing the core mandates of the Commission as they come and go, I can rightly and fairly say that the Commission has hardly been gifted with people-driven, goal-oriented, focused and astute administrators as the present management team.

With profound vision and palpable passion for the development of the Niger Delta region, the Management team of the Commission upon assuming office in January 2019, set out with a clear cut agenda to rebrand NDDC and return it back to the people; they are concerned about  building credible projects, re-energizing failing partnerships and re-engaging relevant stakeholders of the Niger Delta project.

First, they began by fixing and bringing life back to the Commission by practically renovating the office and ensuring it is in working order. Before now, staff of the Commission have had to suffer the trauma of accessing their offices through the staircase as the regular lift was not operational.

Before assuming office, the morale of staff in the Commission was at its lowest state, After coming on board, the management team psyched up the staff to work, through regular meetings with staff at different levels. This strategic  engagements stirred up the staff and spurred them to their best.

Determined to make a statement and  give Niger Deltans a new lease on life, the Management team of the NDDC in less than a month in office, cleared several backlog of payments owed contractors; made payments for water Hyacinths contracts which has not been paid for over 3 years , cleared all outstanding payments for Niger Delta students on foreign scholarship programmes and restored total order and discipline in the operations and activities of the Commission. For instance, the age-long practice of demanding 10% of contract sum from contractors by staff was completely ousted. Today, several contractors have testified of getting their payments from the comfort of their homes without any form of lobby or prior payment of 10% to anybody.

NDDC has done so much more in the last five months than it did in the last three years. The people of Niger Delta has benefitted massively from the developmental drives of this present administrations. From the payment of thousands of Niger Delta youths and women under the Niger Delta Surveillance Scheme, to the sponsorship of Niger Deltans on different training programs within and abroad, to the initiation of several projects in the areas of road, healthcare, Agriculture, social welfare and education, the NDDC has demonstrated in all sincerity, its commitment towards improving the lives of the people of the Niger Delta region.

In the past few months, we have seen an NDDC that has gone beyond impressing a certain group of powerful individuals to deliberately pursuing the interest, well-being and development of Niger Delta people and the region. It is no longer business as usual, we see a team that is propelled by passion, commitment, vision, goals and discipline; we see a team that truly has the interest of the Niger Delta region at heart; we see a team that is bent on doing the right thing even if it means being hated by those who take pleasure in subverting due process at the detriment of the people.

It is the firm resolve of the management team to do the right thing by committing the resources of the Niger Delta people to work as against the wishes of those who desire to plunder the resources of the Commission for their own selfish gains that have triggered the flurry of attacks and accusations against the Management.

The truth is, as insiders, we interact amongst ourselves and the dominant opinion has remained that the present management has surpassed all others in the last 10 years. NDDC was virtually dead, it existed only for the money, no development roadmap, there was no clearly defined plan to consciously affect  lives in the region. They lived only for themselves and frittered away our collective resources.

With the new management team, comes an injection of purposefulness, life and hope for the Commission, little wonder those who benefitted so much from the rot of  previous managements are fighting so hard to return the Commission (their farmland) to its former state of total decadence and corruption so they can feed their insatiable appetite again.

If the present management team could achieve these  much within just five months, I can tell you for free that  the impact they will make if allowed another six months, will be mind blowing given their present achievements and performance rate.

As a people with conscience who want the good of the region, we must rise and speak up against this evil that is about to devour us and destroy our common patrimony; we must speak up and tell the world that the "buccaneers"of our region are at it again. They don't want peace and development in the region, all they are after is how to pillage the region and fill their pockets with its gold.

We know that the attacks on the management of the Commission are sponsored by these enemies of Niger Delta. We also know that the accusations of financial misappropriation against the management is unfounded and grossly fictitious. This is the handiwork of detractors and we shall soon put them to shame.

Pius Nwidor,
Concerned NDDC Staff.

July 1, 2019.