Minister: Present NDDC Management Not Responsible for Poor Projects Execution

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Segun James
Following the damning report that holds the management of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) responsible for poor project delivery in the region, the Minister of Niger Delta, Mr. Usani Uguru Usani, has exonerated the current management of the commission of any blame.

The minister in a statement signed by him, described reports suggesting that he passed a vote-of-no confidence on the management of Mr. Nsima Ekere as malicious, stating that “they do not convey any coherent correlation between my views and the role of the current management for the deeds that span for more than one decade.”

Usani said he was conscious of the fact that his observation predates the current management which places no burden of liability on the current Managing Director, adding that he made no committal pronouncement on the claims of reporting certain unaccomplished projects as completed because he never sighted any such documentary content of claims.

“It is reminiscent of simple reasoning to note that we cannot blame a five-month old management of the deeds that spans for more than one decade,” he declared.
He said whereas he expressed “discontent for obvious observations of poor project execution” during his visit to Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital, he pointed out that “there is no vestige of attributing the cause to the current management.”

The managing director of the commission had earlier given contractors handling projects in the commission 30 days to return to site in order to complete all on-going projects in the region or face prosecution.
The commission, in a statement in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, had explained that it had become imperative to fast track the on-going audit of projects awarded in the region, in line with the federal government directives as one of the planks of the new governing board’s four-R Initiative, which is to restructure the balance sheet of the commission and determine poor performing projects.

Ekere had said: “It is important for our contractors to realise that it can’t be business as usual as President Muhammadu Buhari is determined to change how government business is conducted and everyone must wake up to that reality. But beyond that is the fact that we owe the Niger Delta region and our people the duty to implement and complete these projects, in order to facilitate sustainable regional development.”

Reacting to the reports of allegations of abandoned projects, Chief Edet Nkpubre, a stakeholder in from Akwa Ibom State said it is cheap blackmail to associate abandoned projects in the commission to the present board and management.
Nkpubre, explained that when the managing director assumed office barely five months ago, he made it clear he was going to ensure that all the projects were completed.

He said while Ekere is making effort to correct the anomalies he met in the commission, the people of the region should give him time to adequately address the problem of abandoned projects.
He said: “All these stories of abandoned project and blaming same on the present management of the commission boils down to the politics of 2019 in the state. And that is regrettable. It is impossible to assess the managing director in just five months.”

Also reacting, another stakeholder in the state, Chief Sunny Jackson, said Ekere should rather be commended for what he has done for the state, in particular, and the Niger Delta in general.
Jackson said even though there are incidence of abandoned project in the commission, credit should be given to the present management for taking positive steps to resolve them, by ordering contractors to go back to site.