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NDDC’s Infrastructural Provision as Elixir for SME Development, Job Creation

May 26, 2024

NDDC’s Infrastructural Provision as Elixir for SME Development, Job Creation

By; Jerome-Mario Utomi

For the indigenes of Okitipupa Local Government Area of Ondo State, Wednesday May 22, 2024, is a day that will be too difficult to forget. Even if they do, as it is essentially easy for humans to forget but hard to remember, the constant electricity they enjoy going forward, after 15 years of darkness will always be available to remind them.

Likewise, for the natives of Ogbia-Nembe communities in Bayelsa state, Saturday May 2024, shall remain ever green in their memories.

Beginning with the people of Okitipupa Local Government Area of Ondo State, it was on the aforementioned date that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu commissioned the multi-billion Naira 132KV Transmission Line and I32KV/33KV electricity substation as executed by the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), at Ode-Erinje in Okitipupa Local Government Area of the State.

Speaking at the commissioning ceremony, the President, who was represented by the Minister for Niger Delta Development, Engr. Abubakar Momoh, said that the project demonstrated the determination of the Federal Government to develop the Niger Delta region, noting that the Federal Government was placing priority on electricity as one of the sure ways of boosting industrialization in the country.

Adding context to the discourse, the project provided for the construction of 45km double circuit 33KV Feeder lines from Omotosho Power Station (Hook-up point) to Okitipupa and two 30MVA, 132/33KV Injection Substations with breakers, gantry and substation automations.

*The initiative which also provided for the construction of 3-bedroom semi-detached bungalow as service quarters is reportedly aimed at complementing the Federal Government’s *effort* in the power sector by improving power supply to Okitipupa, Igbokoda and other neighboring communities in Ondo South Senatorial District with direct value to chain in small and medium scale industries, job creation and consequently endanger growth and development in Ondo State.

See also: IKA INDIGENES, GROUP EXPRESS CONFIDENCE IN EBIE’S CAPACITY

Interestingly too, before the ‘dust of excitement’ raised by this ‘unusual breakthrough’ could settle, another was up.

This time around in Bayelsa state, where President Bola Ahmed Tinubu on Saturday May 24, 2024, commissioned the 25.735 km Ogbia-Emakalakala-Akipelai-Etiama-Nembe road, including seven bridges that connect 14 communities such as Ogbia, Emakalakala, Akipelai, Etiama, Nembe, Bassambiri, and Ogbolomabiri, constructed by NDDC in partnership with Shell Petroleum Development Company.

Mr. President who was represented by the Hon. Minister of Niger Delta Development, Engr. Abubakar stressed on the significance of the project, stating, “This important road will alleviate many issues and hardships in the region by facilitating the free movement of goods and services. This is a project everyone would want to be associated with. The NDDC deserves a lot of commendation for this accomplishment. This demonstrates Mr. President’s commitment through the release of funds.”

More specifically, while the Commissioning of these laudable projects in Ondo, Bayelsa among others, and the excitements it elicited may have died down, the event left two important lessons behind; first, NDDC’s governing board and management as presently constituted is living up to the agency’s motto; ‘Making A Difference In The Niger Delta’. Secondly, the agency is under the right leadership and managed in line with President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s renewed hope agenda targeted at turning the region to a zone of peace and development.

The reason for the above assertion is predicated on the global understanding that infrastructural provision is the bedrock of development.

Beginning with global reasoning on infrastructural development, it is widely believed that development is an inalienable human right by virtue of which every human person and all peoples are entitled to participate in, contribute to, and enjoy economic, social, cultural and political development, in which all human rights and fundamental freedoms can be fully realized.

Take as an illustration, it is obvious that international law does not specifically acknowledge the right to access electricity as a human right, but the United Nations and other international organizations recognize the right to access electricity as one of the keys needed to enhance human welfare and achieve sustainable development.

Again, analysts believe that infrastructural development such as roads, rail and electricity enable development and also provides the services that underpin the ability of people to be economically productive, for example via transport. “The transport sector has a huge role in connecting populations to where the work is,’.

For instance, the World Bank estimates that in Sub-Saharan Africa closing the infrastructure quantity and quality gap relative to the world’s best performers could raise GDP growth per head by 2.6 per cent annually. Infrastructure investments help stem economic losses arising from problems such as power outages or traffic congestion. Experts also believe that energy, for instance, is tightly linked to economic development while higher levels of GDP are more correlated with greater electricity use, access, reliability and affordability.

In the same span, testimonies from various beneficiaries of NDDC’s initiatives also indicate that it is not only in infrastructural provision that NDDC board and management have demonstrated excellence in public leadership, winning confidence of the people particularly in the Niger Delta region.

According to reports, the transformative projects of the present board and management is also bringing to the region significant benefits, including job opportunities, new investments, better healthcare and support socioeconomic development, boost economic activities and improve the quality of life for the people of the Niger Delta region.

Viewed broadly, from the above cheerful commentaries from NDDC’s investment in infrastructure and other initiatives such as the Holistic Opportunities, Projects and Engagement (HOPE); which is positioned to provide a platform to empower youths in the region on a sustainable basis, designed to create a comprehensive resource database of the youth population of the Niger Delta region so that NDDC can clearly see what the youths want in their commitment to sustainability in line with international best practices and development, it is certain that the message NDDC’s handler is sending to the people of the region and the nation in general is that of a bunch that is willing to take every legitimate action to accommodate the youths in the region, assist them acquire skills in different areas needed to fill vacancies in fields they have been skillfully equipped.

As we know, employment creates an environment for stability which in turn enhances the confidence that protects the very investments that are necessary for the development of national asserts.

For me, NDDC has finally gotten a board with the understanding that it is their duty to serve our communities and embrace its aspirations, both now and in the future, by assuring the people economic growth, education, health, security, stability, comfort, leisure opportunities and freedom in ways that will allow for the most conducive atmosphere to achieve the targets that will guarantee our welfare and a bright future.

 

 

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