Ndoma-Egba’s Team And NDDC Assignment | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Ndoma-Egba’s Team And NDDC Assignment

Posted: Oct 22, 2016 at 3:10 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Nsa Gill

Abuja-  The Niger Delta Development Commission  (NDDC) is a federal government agency established during the administration of former Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo in the year 2000 with the sole mandate of developing the oil-rich Niger Delta region of Southern Nigeria.

From inception till date, four governing board and management has been in place and as at May 2016 when the acting managing Director Ibim Semenitari, presented the first quarter report for 2016 of the NDDC, she revealed what the state of affairs and the challenges of the NDDC are.
According to the acting MD who is expected to hand over the reign of office to the duly constituted new board and management. NDDC awarded a total of 8,557 infrastructure development projects valued at N2.4 trillion between 2001 and March 18, 2016.

The report said that 3, 454 projects worth N441 billion were completed out of the total number of contracts awarded within the period. It said that the projects were awarded in the areas of roads, bridges, jetty and shore protection, canalisation and reclamation, electricity and power, water and buildings, food control and equipping and furnishing. “Of the total number of infrastructure projects awarded, about 250 are regarded as mega projects, that is projects with cost ranging from N500 million to N24 billion.

“There are 2,257 ongoing projects totalling N1.2trillion in value, while 292 others worth N81 billion were either stalled or abandoned.
“During the period under review, the commission terminated a total number of 49 projects valued at N1.9billion. Other agencies of government took over 29 projects with a total contract sum of N16 billion from the NDDC.
Semenitari, said the biggest challenge she had upon assumption of office “was the fact that NDDC was owing so many people.”

As she puts it the commission owed more than 8,600 contractors between N400 billion and N450 billion when she assumed office, but about 600 of them were paid by her administration.
She said that the paucity of funds coupled with the public perception of the commission became sources of concern for the management of NDDC but assured that better days will come for the commission by the time its funding partners pay up the amount they are owing. She noted  that the commission spent N9.2 billion on execution of projects between January and March, 2016.

She said that with payment of the outstanding monies, the projects the commission was handling would become visible. But regretted the fact that the late passage of the budget of the commission had hampered proper planning and proper management of the commission.
She revealed further that “as at Jan. 1 2016, our balance of account was N9.9 billion. And then within this period under review that is – January to March 2016- for that first quarter, we received N6.8 billion from the Federal Government and N32 billion from oil companies, so that total inflow as at March was about N48. 9billion.

She revealed the expenses made in the course of the period, saying “the recurrent payment including salary and allowances and other expenditure stood at N7 billion and payment for projects stood at N9.2 billion. “So, the total of expenditure within the period under review is N16.3 billion. And the cash balance as at March 25, 2016 was N32. 26 billion.”
Ms. Semenitari said the commission paid 642 out of the 8600 contractors during the period under review. “Basically, what I am saying is that I have addressed over 600 contractors. In other word, 600 projects have treated during the period under review. And “We have been able to complete about 28 projects in this period.”
The interim period which Semenitari has held brief has provided a foundation for the duly constituted governing board and the management to start off with more ease than they ordinarily would.

The huge challenge of stakeholders’ perception, insincerity of most contractors and the double standards of some commission staff still need attention.
Some stakeholders in the region, politicians, elders, militants and ex-militant groups have perceived the commission as their own national cake and some often allow their selfish interest to override the common interest of the region. It’s common for the commission board and management to be pressured and face threats that end up being settlement of personal interest of a person or a group then a through need of a community.

Politicians have taken NDDC contracts and handed same over to aides or cronies that would either abandon same or engage in a shabby execution. Most of the commission’s contractors have also followed the same path of either abandoning the projects or executing a substandard work.

Some commission staff has collaborated often with the contractors to promote project abandonment or shabby execution. Imagine a group agitating so furiously to be given multi-million and billion contract for reclamation of an imaginary area and they would just go with the funds on luxurious vacation and build personal mansions within and outside the country with little or nothing on ground in the region.

The expectation is therefore high on the Ndoma-Egba led board and the management committee. Things must be done differently. There must not be infighting between the board members nor within the management committee members. Cooperation and oneness of purpose should be the watch words.
It is the views of many that the former senate leader, Senator Ndoma-Egba SAN comes with a baggage of experience to the NDDC job.

His appointment has been greeted with applause for the president over a choice well made. He has been described as one who will make the region and the nation proud in the discharge of his duties.

Similar commendations have also been variously made over the appointment of Obong Nsima Ekere who ones served as the deputy governor Akwa Ibom State and now designated as the new Managing Director of the NDDC.
Cross River State Governor, Prof. Ben Ayade particularly commended the President on Ndoma-Egba appointment, for having chosen one of the best Cross River state can boost of.

Also former governor of Cross River State, Mr. Clement Ebri, gave thumbs up to President Muhammadu Buhari for nominating Senator Ndoma-Egba(SAN), to chair the board of the Niger Delta Development Commission(NDDC).
In his words Ebri said “The nomination of Ndoma-Egba is a step taken in the right direction because of his wealth of experience in public and community service. He has the requisite experience required to perform creditably. I think we should be expecting a lot of development of infrastructure in the entire nine states of the Niger Delta. His appointment is a clear example of fixing a square peg in a square hole by President Muhammadu Buhari.”

Ebri described Ndoma-Egba as a nationalist whom he has confidence that under his watch as chairman, every part of the region will witness tremendous development.

Now Senate has approved N241 billion as the 2016 Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) budget and a breakdown of the budget shows that N18 billion is for personnel cost, N10 billion for overhead, internal capital, N1 billion and development project, N231 billion.

Therefore, there should be transparency in approach by the new Board and management. Outstanding projects should be sorted out between the fathom and imaginary contracts with the ones that are real which need to have outstanding payments made and the execution properly delivered to specifications. New projects tenders and execution should follow clearly seen due process and execution properly monitored with the necessary engagement of all stakeholders.

Many have talked about the need to revive the well thought out NDDC master plan that was long kept in the cooler by previous administration. The change must be seen in the NDDC so that perhaps at the end of the tenure, one can point at NDDC model schools, NDDC skills acquisition centers, quality NDDC communities link roads and bridges. With a better leadership approach expected from Ndoma-Egba SAN as Board Chairman and cooperation from Obong Nsima Ekere in the day to day management needs, best is expected and the best is possible.