A weekly digest that summaries NDDC events and activities of the preceeding week include the Commission’s readiness to collaborate with the Niger Delta University, NDU, Amassoma in Bayelsa State, to promote research that will address peculiar health and environmental challenges in the Niger Delta region.
The NDDC Managing Director, Dr Samuel Ogbuku, made the promise during a courtesy visit by a delegation from the university at the Commission’s headquarters in Port Harcourt. He said: “We want to collaborate with the NDU in the area of research and I challenge the university to go into research that will focus on ecological challenges, food production and herbal medicine.”
He stated: “Our work at the NDDC goes beyond building roads and bridges; we are also concerned about manpower development which is the forte of universities. Our interventions are not limited to building physical infrastructure. The research from universities is equally important as we have challenges in the area of erosion and flooding. Universities should help us to find solutions that will endure. Research from universities should give us the comprehensive solutions we need.
“We are prepared to collaborate with universities to provide solutions to the problems facing the region. Let us invest in the area of research to help us to appropriately intervene in the lives of our people.”
Ogbuku assured that the NDDC was ready to provide the needed support to universities in the region to prioritise research that seeks to provide solutions to issues plaguing the society.
He told the NDU Vice Chancellor that the NDDC Executive Director Projects, Sir Victor Antai, would lead a team on a site visit to the university to articulate their needs, noting that they recently benefited from the “Operation Light up the Niger Delta Programme” of the Commission.
On his part, the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Allen Agih, commended the efforts of the NDDC in building the capacity of universities in the Niger Delta region and described the NDU as a manpower development centre for the region.
He said: “We thank the NDDC management for the numerous projects executed in the university, including the on-going solar-powered street light project that has improved security and night life within the campus.”
In another activity of Commission, he Managing Director NDDC, Dr Samuel Ogbuku, last outlined the Commission’s plans for 2024, stressing that stakeholders’ engagements will set the tone for its activities.
Speaking during an interactive session with NDDC management and staff at the Commission’s headquarters in Port Harcourt, Ogbuku stated that engagements with various stakeholders will take the spotlight this year.
He said that such engagements would help the Commission implement projects that would ensure sustainable development of the Niger Delta region and address the aspirations and needs of the people of the region.
The Managing Director stated that the NDDC would host a stakeholders’ summit in March to provide a platform for new ideas and strategies to fast-track development in line with the Renewed Hope Agenda of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
According to Ogbuku, “the summit will not just be a forum for a few individuals, but will involve major stakeholders, including members of the National Assembly, Ministers from the region, traditional rulers and the private sector to discuss the Niger Delta”
The NDDC boss also noted that rather than working at cross purposes, the summit would help the Commission to harmonise its activities in the Niger Delta region. He noted that priority would be given to capital projects with less emphasis on recurrent expenditure.
Ogbuku urged the management and staff of the NDDC to brace up to tackle the challenges of driving the process of development in Nigeria’s oil-rich region.
Ogbuku commended the efforts of the staff in the past year, while charging them to prepare to do more as a lot was expected from the Commission. “The President has high expectations of us, especially to change the narrative of the NDDC and the Niger Delta region,” he said.
In his remarks, the NDDC Executive Director, Finance and Administration, Alabo Boma Iyaye, said that the story of the NDDC had changed for the better, stating: “We now know that most of the things we were hearing about NDDC are not correct. The staff of NDDC are hardworking and they are giving their all to the development of the region.”
Speaking in the same vein. the Executive Director Project, Sir Victor Antai, thanked the staff for their cooperation and diligence in the discharge of their duties.
Reacting on behalf of the staff, the Chairman of NDDC Staff Union, Comrade Anthony Gbendo, thanked the Executive Management for treating staff welfare with dispatch. He also canvassed attention of management to capacity building for staff through training to prepare them for the challenges of developing the Niger Delta region.