Abia State says it will collaborate with the Interim Management Committee, IMC, of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, in its quest to take development to the rural communities of the Niger Delta region.
The State Governor, Dr. Okezie Victor Ikpeazu, gave the assurance on Tuesday while receiving a delegation led by the NDDC Acting Managing Director, Gbene Dr Joi Nenieh, on a courtesy visit at the Government House Umuahia.
The NDDC Chief Executive Officer was accompanied by a member of the House of Representatives Committee on NDDC, Hon Okezie Kalu; the NDDC Acting Executive Director, Finance and Administration, Chief Ibanga Bassey Etang and other directors of the Commission.
Dr. Ikpeazu urged the NDDC to continue with its inclusive approach to development, which he noted, had made it possible for key stakeholders to make contributions to the activities of the foremost interventionist agency in Nigeria’s oil-rich region.
He stressed the need for development actors in the region, especially the state governments, to play a strategic role and indeed take leadership in the harmonization of the development strides in the region.
He declared: “We need to collaborate more in the execution of projects. There is no need for the NDDC to embark on projects that are already being handled by the state,” adding that harmonization was necessary to avoid duplication of projects.
He called for streamlining of procurement and project selection by NDDC and advised that contracts should be awarded outside the season of elections to minimize political influences that often work against the interest of the people.
He called the attention of the NDDC to the 46-kilometre Obohia-Ohanku-Aba Road, urging the NDDC to address the challenges that had delayed its completion.
Earlier, the NDDC Acting Managing Director, Dr Nunieh, told the governor that the Interim Management Committee was determined to partner with the governors and key stakeholders of the Niger Delta to drive development in the rural areas.
The NDDC boss appealed to the governor to lend support to the new spirit of collaboration between the Commission and development partners. She observed: The NDDC is making a deliberate effort to collaborate with the governors and other major stakeholders in the Niger Delta region to ensure that development projects and programmes were carried out in such a way as to avoid unnecessary duplications.
She presented a list of 633 NDDC projects in Abia State to the governor, explaining that it included those at various stages of completion as well as the completed ones.
According to her, the list of NDDC projects in Abia “is very important” as it would enable the state government to assess how far the interventionist agency had impacted on the lives of the people, adding that the projects included roads, water, electricity, primary healthcare centres, university hostels, among others.
She stressed the importance of the list as a tool for harmonizing the development projects of both the state and the NDDC.
Nunieh stated that the Interim Management Committee had a mandate from Mr President to sanitise the Commission and reposition it for better service delivery.
In his own remarks, the spokesman of the House of Representatives and member of the House Committee on NDDC, Hon. Kalu, said that federal lawmakers were in support of Mr. President’s decision to appoint an interim management to sanitise the NDDC.
He stated: “We are standing with Mr. President on this and we’re saying that it is high time we cleaned up the NDDC,” adding that The President acted within his constitutional powers.
“We have seen the programme of the IMC and we are convinced that it has what it takes to provide the necessary results. With the kind of collaboration promised by the Commission, we are convinced that they will deliver.”
Hon Kalu affirmed that the leadership of the House of Representatives believed in the new leadership of the NDDC and was ready to support the three-man committee to take the Commission to new heights.
He said he was delighted to be on the inspection team of the NDDC to assess the progress and status of the various projects being executed in Abia State.
The lawmaker joined the NDDC team in inspecting completed and on-going projects in parts of Bende Local Government Area.