• Fri. May 24th, 2024

NCND; PRESIDENT TINUBU AND NIGER DELTA DEVELOPMENT

Apr 28, 2024

NCND; PRESIDENT TINUBU AND NIGER DELTA DEVELOPMENT

By; Jerome-Mario Utomi

The 6th Meeting of the National Council of Niger Delta, (NCND), recently held in Asaba, the Delta State capital, with the theme: “Stimulating Strategies for Economic Growth and Development in the Niger Delta Region”, may have come and gone, but not without touching, and significantly proffering solution to the root of social, economic, environmental and infrastructural poverty bedeviling the people and the region.

Aside from the disclosure at the event by the Minister of Niger Delta Development, Engr. Abubakar Momoh, that the Council was working assiduously with other stakeholders to improve on infrastructural development and human capital development in the region in line with President Tinubu’s renewed hope agenda, coupled with his assurance that the ministry would work with the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to complete all ongoing and abandoned projects across the region, very profound of the gathering, was President Bola Tinubu’s reassurance of his administration’s commitment to a holistic plan for the overall development of the Niger Delta region.

President Tinubu’s remark at the gathering was not only laced with practical definition of the region’s problem, the goals to be achieved and the means chosen to address the problem/achieve the goals, but more than anything else dotted with considerations for connecting the poor in the region with good means of livelihood; food, job, security and sustainable infrastructures.

While appealing for patience of the people of the region on the infrastructural deficit in the region, saying his administration will make good his promise, Mr. President who was represented by the Minister of Steel Development, Prince Shuaibu Abubakar Audu, said that the focus of the council was in tandem with his administration’s objectives in the renewed hope agenda.

He said: “It is expected to bring succour to all citizens of Nigeria in these difficult times. The government has developed a holistic plan for the development of the Niger Delta Region and, indeed, all parts of Nigeria in terms of infrastructure, education, and harnessing the bountiful resources of all parts of our great country.

“This is evident in the Ministerial Performance Bond for Presidential Priorities and Deliverables for 2023 – 2027 which was signed between the Minister of Niger Delta Development and myself, as well as with all members of the Federal Executive Council.

“To achieve these development initiatives, my administration deemed it fit to widen the scope of the Ministry of Niger Delta Development which is saddled with the responsibility of formulating and executing plans, programmes and other initiatives for the development of the Niger Delta region.

“To this effect, the name of the Ministry was changed from the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs to the Ministry of Niger Delta Development. The expected effect of this is that the Ministry will now be responsible for all policies, projects and programmes that are targeted at bringing to fruition the long-envisaged development of the Niger Delta region.

“I am pleased to note that the new leadership in the Ministry has prioritized the process of Harmonizing all Developmental Plans of Agencies and Development Partners operating in the Niger Delta Region into a Single Integrated Regional Development Plan as a roadmap to accelerated development of the Region.

“It will gladden you to note that my administration has demonstrated interest in repositioning the NDDC to ensure it delivers optimally on its objectives and mandate, and to make its achievements manifest in different sectors of life across the Niger Delta region. This is evidenced in the recent inauguration of the new board of the Commission.

Away from Mr. President’s declarations, another key remarks at the event that must not be allowed go with political winds came from the chairman of Progressive Governor’s Forum, Senator Hope Uzodinma, who among other comments called for ideologically based conversation on the overall development of the region and urged the NDDC to call a meeting of the Governors of the nine states of the Niger Delta to discuss the way forward on Niger Delta Development.

Indeed, separate from the awareness that the forum serves as a strategic platform for states in the Niger Delta region to focus on issues and challenges of common interest, create a more dynamic and equitable arrangement for regional prosperity, and deepen our collaboration for using the region’s natural resources for inclusive growth and sustainable development, it will not in any way be adjudged as hasty to characterize the gathering as learning ‘ecosystem’ devised to fashion out how the leadership of the region can ‘work hand in hand with the Federal Government for unprecedented, efficient and transparent development of the Niger Delta region’.

SEE ALSO: TINUBU HAS STRONG DESIRE TO TRANSFORM NIGER DELTA REGION – Ebie, Chairman, NDDC

Without doubt,  for so many years, the Niger Delta region in the opinion of this piece symbolized a location where communal right to a clean environment and access to clean water supplies was violated, where the oil industry abandoned thousands of polluted sites in the region and a location where the past Federal governments employed non-participatory approach to development and consultative approach that stripped the people of the region their sense of ownership over their own issues and most importantly, where the previous administrations and other Nigerians from different geo-political zones failed to see the problem of the Niger Delta as a national one and not restricted to the region.

Also, before now, the region was reputed for infrastructural insufficiency and amply considered as a zone where fierce and protracted war raged between ethnic and social forces in Nigeria over the ownership and control of oil resources. And as a direct result, a long dark shadow has been cast on efforts to improve the wellbeing and economic development of the region’s individuals, peoples, and communities.

But with the latest promise by Mr. President that his government has developed a holistic plan for the development of the Niger Delta Region and, indeed, all parts of Nigeria in terms of infrastructure, education, and harnessing the bountiful resources of all parts of our great country and other calculated development focused efforts so far put in place by his administration, it is obvious that Niger Deltans should expect a changing narrative for their region.

Also working in favour of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu led administration is the fact that the Mr. Chiedu Ebie led Governing Board of the Niger Delta Development Commission, recently constituted by him, is not left out in this clarion formulation of strategies needed for getting hold of region’s resources and stakeholders, and converting their support to a springboard for right vision that will set the tone for sustainable development of the Niger Delta region.

For me, it appears certain that the era of waiting and imaginations are over for the good people of the region as they are presently in the period of sustainable transformation to reality.

Also working in favour of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu led administration is the fact that the Mr. Chiedu Ebie led Governing Board of the Niger Delta Development Commission, recently constituted by him, is not left out in this clarion formulation of strategies needed to get hold of region’s resources and stakeholders, and converting same to a springboard for right vision that will set the tone for the region’s sustainable development.

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