Port Harcourt—The Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Samuel Ogbuku, said that the recent comments on the Commission’s activities by former Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, served as a push for positive change in driving the development process in the Niger Delta region, Sun newspaper reports.
Ogbuku, who was in the company of the NDDC Executive Director, Finance and Administration, Major-General Charles Airhiavbere (retd), and other Directors, was responding to questions during an interactive session with journalists at the Commission’s headquarters in Port Harcourt.
He commended the former governor for the milestones he achieved in urban centre modernization, stating that his remarks about the NDDC will spur the Commission to positively change the narrative about the interventionist agency.
Ogbuku stated: “We will not join issues with former Governor Nyesom Wike. He has done well for the people of Rivers State, especially in the area of urban modernisation. Rather, we are spurred by his comments to change the narrative about the NDDC positively.”
On the way forward for the Commission, he stated that establishing an effective and sustainable Corporate Governance system, as well as Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) in the Commission, would be a game changer for the Commission.
He noted that having an effective Corporate Governance system in place was key to the future successes and sustainability of the NDDC.
The NDDC boss affirmed that the Commission was laying a solid foundation for impactful development of the Niger Delta region; strengthening Public-Private Partnerships and ensuring that its projects and programmes were aligned with the needs and aspirations of the people of the region.
He said: “In the past six months, NDDC has been engaged in building a sustainable foundation to ensure that we run on a smooth and right track. We are working to put in place a Corporate Governance System that will enable the Commission to run in accordance with global best practices.
Ogbuku declared: “Once there is a Corporate Governance system, you cannot beat it. That means you must be subjected to the processes and procedures. That is the game changer for us. We want to regulate ourselves internally; that is why we must establish a Corporate Governance system.
“Whenever we go out seeking partnerships, one thing these prospective partners and donor agencies look for is our internal control system. We are willing to be internally regulated. So, we need to establish a Corporate Governance system and we are talking with KPMG, a reputable global business consultancy, to help us establish a sustainable Corporate Governance system.”
Speaking further, he revealed that the Commission’s leadership was looking at legacy projects to quickly complete and commission.
“One of these projects is the construction of the 3.65-kilometre Okrika-Borokiri Road with three bridges connecting Kolabi, Abotoru and Okpoka creeks to Port Harcourt.
Ogbuku said that talks between the NDDC and contractors for the project were very fruitful and construction work would resume within a week.
He remarked: “The contractor has assured us that by next week they will mobilise to the site. They also assured us that the project will be completed in two years. We do not want to spread ourselves thin. We do not want to take on too many projects that we cannot complete in good time.”
On the state of the Commission, he said that on the assumption of duties, the current Executive Management realised that the Commission was working with many directorates with overlapping functions.
He said many of the directorates were not created to enhance the service delivery of the Commission but were set up for some ethnic and political interests.
Ogbuku noted: “I met about 30 directorates as against the 13 provided for in the Act establishing the NDDC.