By Emma Okonji
The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) has told its critics that it would not be distracted by their antics, but would rather remain focused on the delivery of projects that would impact on the lives of the people of Niger Delta.
Director, Corporate Affairs at NDDC, Mr. Ibitoye Abosede who restated the commitment of the commission in a statement made available to THISDAY, said the attention of NDDC has been drawn to a dangerous plan by the Akwa Ibom State Government and its paid agents to destabilise NDDC.
He alleged that the government has assembled some hatchet-men who operate under the guise of questionable NGOs to throw mud at, and spread malicious lies about the NDDC, its executives and the APC led Federal Government.
â€œJust yesterday, a photoshopped image of a road project, which had been circulating online for months, was fraudulently and falsely represented as an NDDC project, in a bid to create the impression that the Commissionâ€™s road projects are executed without recourse to basic project standards.
We have been reliably informed that more of these mudslinging, falsehood, mischief and unwarranted and politically motivated attacks, have been planned with increased intensity in the coming days,â€ Abosede said.
According to him, â€œSince the current governing board and executive management assumed duties in November 2016, we have received the most sustained and unwarranted attacks from Akwa Ibom State. While we encourage scrutiny and objective criticism, geared towards ensuring that we offer the best service to the Niger Delta region, these constant, vicious and virulent attacks, deliberate distortions, falsehood and open confrontation, driven by political scheming, have become distractions that the region and our people cannot afford at this time.â€
As the Commission has often stated, NDDC, as an intervention agency, is not in competition with any of the nine state governments of the Niger Delta region. Our mandates are different, but equally important and desperately urgent. We ask that the Commission and its representatives be allowed to focus on the onerous responsibility of developing the region. We believe that there is no reason to poison the chalice, because our people drink from it.
The entire Niger Delta region is in dire need of rapid, even and sustainable development. That is our core Mandate. That is our primary focus. That is why we are more concerned about governance, which impacts positively on the people, than divisive and fraudulent politicking. Through our structures, we have extended our hands of cooperation and partnership to all the nine Niger Delta States, Abosede said.
He further said: â€œOur footprints in Akwa Ibom State are obvious in keeping with the mandate of the current Board to ensure that the state enjoys the largest share of NDDC projects as the leading oil producing state in Nigeria. We have extended our hand of friendship to the Akwa Ibom State Government on many occasions, as we have done with other State Governments. Indeed, our partnership with other state governments has yielded important projects, such as the construction of the 50-kilometre Akodo-Araromi/Ibeju-Lekki Road, connecting Ondo and Lagos States, being funded by the Commission and Ondo State government. We do hope that Akwa Ibom government will see reason why it must open the door to NDDC as a credible development partner, rather than continue to demonise it.
â€œThereâ€™s a lot that Akwa Ibom State stands to benefit from working with the NDDC as partners, just as the states of Edo, Delta, Imo, Abia, Bayelsa, Cross Rivers, Rivers and Ondo are doing, to address development needs in such areas as infrastructure, education, healthcare and job creation. We have reached out in many ways to the State Government to support its programmes for the benefit of its people. Ignoring such opportunities remains a major loss to the state.â€