NDDC to Prioritise Regional Integration, Devt – Nsima Ekere

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The newly appointed Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) Mr Nsima Ekere, has assured that the agency could
change the face of the Niger-Delta if its full potentials were
harnessed.

In an interview, he promised to ensure that the goals and mandate of the interventionist agency would be actualized. These include provision of basic social infrastructure, coordination of resources for regional impact and driving regional economic development,

Noting that he was already aware of the situation of things at the agency, Ekere affirmed that he is fully prepared for the task ahead. He disclosed that he has already started reaching out to potential local, national and international partners on ways of ensuring that the commission executes the duty for which it was set up.

He maintained that unlike in the past where the impact of some projects was felt only in certain states, he would work to drive regional economic development by focusing on projects that would link all Niger- Delta states, so ensure maximum impact.

“The only way to effectively carry out the mandate of the NDDC is to ensure that all hands are on deck and that all stakeholders key into the project. We must work with state governments, development partners and non governmental organisations. We cannot afford to work in isolation”, he said.

He noted that one of the problems he has observed is that in the past, there was lack of coordination between the various groups carrying out projects in the area and the agency, a development which according to him led to a disconnect between the people, their needs and the groups.

“If things are properly coordinated, there will the assurance of continuity. A situation where NDDC will go into a state or local government and carry out projects without the knowledge of the relevant stakeholders like the state government and the local government chairmen is not the best, because what that means is that once the project is completed and the NDDC team moves out of that area, the people will be left on their own. There will be no one to monitor and ensure that they are being utilised as they should. The same thing will happen in the event that there is a need for repairs.

So, it is important to ensure that stakeholders key into every project. I believe very strongly that if things are done properly, the agitation in the region will reduce because more people will feel the impact of the government”, he said.

Ekere added that another way for the agency to actualise its mandate is by sticking to its core mandates rather than veering into areas that should ordinarily be handled by other sectors. Lamenting the recent report which stated that despite the huge sums of money spent in the region through the NDDC, only a little impact was felt, he maintained that things will definitely change for the better under his leadership.

“We will ensure that all contracts awarded are executed and not just that, we will ensure that the projects have direct impact on the masses. We will develop the non-oil sector and engage in massive training of youths to ensure that they are self reliant”, he said.

Ekere, who chaired some commissions including the Akwa Ibom State Emergency Management Agency, in the past, said the NDDC under him will review all stalled projects to see if some of those that have direct impact on the people, can be revived.