The choice of a former Senate Leader, Victor Ndoma-Egba as chairman of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) by President Muhammadu Buhari is a good omen for the oil producing region, writes Jones Ekpa
Expectedly, the Senate of the federal republic of Nigeria would, upon returning from their annual recess this September, consider and confirm the appointment of Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba as Chairman of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) by President Muhammadu Buhari.
As one of their own, members of the red chambers are expected to follow legislative oversight tradition and give a “bow-and-go” privilege to the distinguished former senator cum legal luminary, who has exhibited exemplary qualities, when he represented the good people of Cross Rivers Central from 2003, culminating as Senate Leader between 2011 and 2015.
When considered against the background of the strategic significance of the Niger Delta region to the Nigerian federation, Senator Ndoma-Egba’s appointment is a reflection of the commitment and sincerity of the Buhari administration to properly harness the potential of the mineral and human resources rich region and place it in the development trajectory of modern Nigeria.
The region, for her endowment is the major economic backbone of the evolving Nigerian economy and such a strategic position as Chairman of NDDC remains a focal point in many respects.
A journey into the immediate era rife with sleaze and malfeasance in managing the commission, which was purposed to be an interventionist organ of government in harnessing the development potential of the 9 states that make up the Niger Delta region indicates the need to ensure that only knowledgeable individuals take the beckoning responsibility of improving the lots of a people in dire need of genuine transformation.
While past administrations, including the short stint of President Umaru Yar’Adua of blessed memory, which showed exemplary wherewithal in developing the region, have tried in the task of giving the people a better sense of belonging, a new era births with the incumbent administration’s innovations and sincerity.
Since inception, President Buhari has revived the development structure of the region. The administration evolved a citizens’ approach to policy implementation – a break from the past approaches of elites’ engagement; rethinking of past policies to engender better proficiency and the appointments of persons with requisite wherewithal to implement the administration’s visions.
While “disenfranchised” elite, who have hitherto exploited the yearnings of the people for pecuniary benefits continue to show an unfortunate proclivity for pinkish tendencies, a majority of the people of the Niger Delta are tired of being shortchanged by their own and have embraced the noble intentions of the administration.
In a recent engagement with the people of the region through a Town Hall meeting in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Usani Uguru aptly captured the Niger Delta situation, when he declared that government was more interested in “meeting the development needs of the majority” than oblige the excesses of some disgruntled ‘elite.’
This is the essence of the unfolding innovation in meeting the demands of development in the region: a paradigm shift from fulfilling the sense of entitlement of a few people to the utter relegation of the germane issues of development. This is one particular area the administration has got it right.
When the Senate eventually confirms the appointment of Senator Ndoma-Egba, it would be the administration’s way of further enhancing the prospects of the entire Niger Delta region. The erudite lawyer and distinguished lawmaker needs no introduction, having cut his teeth in public service from age 29, when he served in the old Cross River State as a high-ranking government official. His stellar career as erudite lawmaker and lawyer with the experience garnered over the years as champion of the course of the region are added advantages.
A broader perspective to brighter chances for the Niger Delta under Ndoma-egba as Chairman of NDDC is the prospects of financial probity and accountability which he would bring on board. Hitherto, the story of NDDC has been that of financial recklessness and impunity with little regards for sound auditing. Development projects purported to serve the needs of the collective were awarded to cronies of powers-that-be and subsequently abandoned with little or no fear of auditing.
A situation where stupendous funds were voted for the commission with little to show for was the bane of development that negated the intent of the framers of NDDC.
It’s heart-warming that the incoming chairman of NDDC will restore the confidence of the people of the Niger Delta through his penchant for accountability and sincerity. There can be no genuine development when those at the helms of affairs of development agencies like NDDC show half-hearted commitment to the job and this trend is expected to be reversed with the coming of Ndoma-Egba.
Responsibility also beckons on the people of the region, including the elite, agitators and all Niger Deltans to create an atmosphere for implementing Ndoma-Egba’s magic wand of performance. The people must commit to peace so as to key into President Buhari’s blueprint for change and progress in the entire region.
-Ekpa, an auditing professional wrote from Abuja
A broader perspective to brighter chances for the Niger Delta under Ndoma-egba as Chairman of NDDC is the prospects of financial probity and accountability which he would bring on board. Hitherto, the story of NDDC has been that of financial recklessness and impunity with little regards for sound auditing. Development projects purported to serve the needs of the collective were awarded to cronies of powers-that-be and subsequently abandoned with little or no fear of auditing