The Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, Dr. Samuel Ogbuku, says the Commission has completed some key development projects and will embark on massive commissioning across the Niger Delta region in 2024.
Speaking during an interactive session with journalists at the Commission’s Headquarters in Port Harcourt, Ogbuku, Ogbuku said that the major projects to be inaugurated included the 132/33kv electricity sub-station in Okitipupa, Ondo State and the Ogbia-Nembe Road, executed through a partnership between the NDDC and Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC.
Ogbuku said that all NDDC stakeholders, including the International Oil Companies, IOCs, traditional rulers, civil society groups, contractors and youths have been engaged in the efforts to fast-track the development of the Niger Delta region.
The NDDC Chief Executive officer said that the Commission would henceforth adopt the use of technology in project supervision and monitoring, stating that projects would be geotagged to make it easy for them to be monitored electronically.
He stated that the Commission would not condone substandard projects and warned that payments would not be approved for any contractor that failed to meet specified standards.
Ogbuku said that apart from deployment of technology in project supervision, he would be personally involved in project monitoring to keep the contractors on their toes. He equally expressed displeasure over abandonment of projects across the region and vowed to end the trend.
The Managing Director affirmed that the Commission was strengthening its Public-Private Partnerships and ensuring that its projects and programmes were aligned with the needs and aspirations of the people of the region.
He noted: “Public Private Partnerships go beyond the IOCs. We are talking about health, youths and education. We are open to the world, and where our resources cannot reach, the PPP programme will fill in those gaps.”
“The PPP is attracting a lot of interests from different organisations and we are studying the proposals we have received, even as we are being careful to make the right decisions for the benefit of our people.”
Reflecting on the achievements of the NDDC under his watch, Ogbuku said: “We have given more opportunities and hope to Niger Delta youths through our Holistic Opportunity Projects of Engagement, HOPE, meant to identify interests of the youths for skills training.
He said that the HOPE project had helped the Commission to develop a comprehensive digital repository, comprising important information about the youths of the Niger Delta region; including their qualifications, skills, interests, needs, and current employment status. “This database will serve as a plank for data-driven planning, enabling the formulation of impactful policies and programmes targeted at the youths,” he said.
Ogbuku remarked that the NDDC had developed a new concept of working with the Niger Delta Chamber of Commerce in the training of youths and young entrepreneurs in the Niger Delta region. He explained that the Commission would collaborate with the Chamber of Commerce to support Small and Medium Enterprises in the region and ensure the sustainability of youth development programmes.
The NDDC boss observed that many organisations were now discussing with the Commission in different areas of partnership, noting that this could only mean a vote of confidence from them.
On the way forward for the Commission, he identified two key priorities for progress: establishing a robust Corporate Governance structure that fosters accountability and transparency, alongside the development of clear and measurable Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to track progress towards goals.
“We have 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 seamless system that will enable the Commission run in accordance with global best practices,” he said.
Ogbuku declared: “Once there is a good Corporate Governance structure, the system is stable and reliable. That means you must be subjected to the processes and procedures. That is the game changer for us. We want to regulate ourselves internally to help in building trust. KPMG, a reputable global business consultancy, is already working with us in this regard.”(CHAMPION NEWS)