Saving NDDC from further slide- Salisu Ibrahim

NDDC Building

By Salisu Ibrahim

What is the best way to make the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), a dynamic and result oriented organization?

The Commission as at now has apparently lost bearing. It has veered off and has gone off the mark with no record of positive performance, after receiving almost N7trn from the current and previous governments in its years of existence.

Between 2001 and 2019, the Federal Government approved N3, 375, 735,776,794.93 as budgetary allocation and N2,420,948,894,191. 00 as Income from Statutory and Non Statutory Sources, amounting to over Six Trillion Naira as release to the Commission, yet with no visible impact either on the region or on the people but regrettably with a litany of 13,777 abandoned projects, huge infrastructural gaps and a colossal record of mismanagement of resources committed through unreconcilable 362 bank accounts, the audit report discovered.

This grim picture of the Commission, was part of the discovery of a report of the forensic audit enquiry, ordered by President Muhammad Buhari to examine NDDC’s activities between inception to 2019, a development that prompted government to threatened legal action against those behind the situation.

The sad narration has apparently reduced NDDC to a lame-duck organization and a graveyard of white elephant projects, with no prospect in the future.

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In all its twenty years of existence, the Commission had recorded very little impact on the people and the region.

Originally, NDDC which was set up to fast track development of the region, had over time, went off the mark, serving individual’s instead of community’s  interests.

But how and why did the NDDC get itself into this pitiable position and continue to fumble in the dark, after receiving huge allocation of resources over the years?

Available facts have shown that, the Commission get it wrong and began to go under with very little impact, because it was regrettably being run by some elements whose apparent objective was to feed fat on its resources, rather than drive the organisation to greater heights.

The forensic audit report has shown that, the past Commission’s handlers had succeeded in turning the organization into a cash cow for selfish politicians and their cronies, while abandoning reasons for its establishment.

But now, the President has received the report of the forensic audit enquiry, and in a bid to halt the process of milking the Commission dry and save it from further slide, promised to  wield the big stick: prosecute those indicted by the report and then move on to appoint trusted and transparent people that will manage the organization better.

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Good development. But the level of damage done to the Commission was so colossal, hence the need for the government to consider inviting designers of the Commission’s blueprint to rejig it for better performance and avoid slipping back into its dark history. Ideally, this will save time in revamping activities of the commission, and then get things rightly done.

With credible people on board, as a proactive solution to the long time damage done on the Commission, the organization would be saved from slipping back into the same pathetic situation, as discovered by the report.

Professor Jumbo is a scholar of repute and a successful professional and administrator per excellence. He led the design of the Commission’s blueprint, and will no doubt assist the government in realizing the organization’s objectives. He has rare insight into the Commission’s goals and can equally right the wrongs done by the previous administrators.

He is an erudite scholar and an accomplished professional with exceptional administrative skills. And most importantly, stakeholders in the region would be more comfortable, when Professor Jasper is assigned to this onerous task. This is the more reason why the federal government should consider running to him, to save the organization from further decline.

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Take a look at his pedigree. He had successfully led the conceptual process of OMPADEC and its transformation to NDDC. And later drew up the NDDC’s fantastic blueprint to the admiration of all stakeholders. He can salvage the drifting Commission and carry every stakeholder along.

His vision for the long neglected region remains how to fine tune it to serve people’s interest, and run as a dynamic organization that will foster an enabling environment with prosperous people.

For the benefit of hindsight, Professor Jumbo, has been one of the chieftains of the Niger Delta Region. He is also the deputy national chairman of the Presidential Support Committee (PSC), a support group that galvanised support for the president in the region in the last 2019 presidential election.

He has been tested and trusted in many ways and is being admired so much and loved by the Niger Delta people, a development that endeared him to the people and makes him a round peg in a round hole and a person well positioned to make the Commission deliver its mandate.

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Now that, the Federal Government has shown willingness to wield the stick of law in its bid to remedy the Commission’s deficiencies as outlined in the audit report, the next most appropriate measure the federal government should hopefully consider, to handover its leadership to Professor Jumbo, an erudite scholar, a credible and trusted leader that can turn around the institution and make the desired impact visible. A person invariably the region needs to achieve greatness.

Salisu, writes from PSC office, Abuja and can be reached on 08037015165

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