Yenagoa—Bayelsa-based media professional, Pereokosifa Buseni has hailed the appointment of a new board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), particularly, the nomination of Chief (Dr) Samuel Ogbuku as Managing Director of the NDDC.
President Muhammadu Buhari had on Wednesday, 24th November 2022, submitted the names of a new NDDC Board to be chaired by his Special Adviser on Social Media, Lauretta Onochie (Delta State), to the Senate for confirmation.
This follows months of protest and subtle requests by various groups and ethnic nationalities including the Ijaw National Congress (INC) and Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) calling on Buhari to stop appointing interim administrators for the NDDC, a move they described as unconstitutional.
In a statement released to newsmen on Thursday, Buseni commended Buhari for finally assenting to the request of the various pressure groups and stakeholders in the Niger Delta region, calling it a wise decision.
He expressed delight over the appointment of Ogbuku as NDDC MD, saying it is an indication that the federal government is finally recognizing and appreciating the steadfastness, loyalty and immense contributions of the Bayelsa-born politician to the APC and nation.
Buseni, who congratulated Ogbuku and others, charged the former Chief of Staff to former Governor, Chief Timipre Sylva and Special Assistant to the Deputy Senate President, to bring his wealth of experience to bear on his new assignment, as a seasoned administrator, towards the attainment of the cardinal objectives of establishing NDDC.
He said “for someone who has been loyal to his party all these years, through thick and thin, I believe this appointment shows that loyalty indeed pays. I want to congratulate him as well as other members of the board.
“He is well known in Bayelsa State as a politician and administrator. He’s a young man who relates well with both the old and young, a bridge between the old and young. Well experienced to face pressure in such an assignment and I know he will do well, we all should support him to succeed.
“The caliber of names on the board of the NDDC with Lauretta Onochie leading that park brings renewed hope to the Niger Delta people and urges the board to hit the ground running by collaborating with all stakeholders to achieve set goals.”
Buseni, a media aide to the Senior Special Assistant to the Bayelsa Governor on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), bemoaned the unhealthy relationship between the NDDC and governors in the region and solicited a paradigm shift to enable both parties to engage in effective and result-oriented collaboration for the good of the entire region.
He said he was saddened by the number of abandoned projects littered across the region and appealed to the new NDDC Board to be alive to its responsibility by digging up the books and ordering contractors to move back to site or commence legal action against contractors who have abandoned their jobs after receiving money from the interventionist agency.
“I was Bayelsa Government House Correspondent for three years and during an assignment, I heard former Governor, Chief Seriake Dickson lamenting about the way NDDC embarks on projects in the states without working out a possible collaboration with state governments.
“The relationship between governors and the NDDC is currently fractious and I think, going forward, these board should work in synergy with all state governors to develop the region.
“If a state is embarking on road projects, the NDDC can intervene in other areas, not replicating projects everywhere, this is the bane of abandoned projects everywhere.
“If you go around the Niger Delta region, you will shed tears, NDDC projects are abandoned everywhere. Very sad and unfortunate. Who do we blame? The federal, state, NDDC or the people who allowed it?
“Our people need these projects and demand that the era of abandoned projects is over with this new board,” he said.
Read also: IYC hails Buhari for appointing Ogbuku as NDDC MD, urges Senate to hasten confirmation
Buseni equally enjoined the Lauretta Onochie-led NDDC Board to work out modalities with federal and state governments, relevant agencies and international donors on cushioning the effect of the perennial flooding of states like Bayelsa, Delta and others, as he claims that during this year’s flood, many lives were lost, farmlands and other property worth millions of naira have been destroyed and many rendered homeless.
“I was a flood victim this year and I can confirm that the number of affected persons in Bayelsa State was over a million going by statistics released.
“NDDC must come to our aid in times of disasters like this one. It is supposed to be apolitical and must play its role as an interventionist agency.
“They should partner with relevant bodies in a bid to find lasting solutions to our myriad of challenges in the zone. Shore protection seems to be one of the solutions to flooding and loss of land, we need to encourage this new NDDC Board to deliver on their mandate,” he urged.
While reaffirming that the new NDDC Board has the support of the people including governors, media and other stakeholders in the region as long as the development and stability of the region remain paramount to the board, Buseni enjoined the Senate to speedily confirm the nominations sent by President Buhari, to enable to the board commence immediate work.