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Why president enlarged NDDC interim management committee, by Akpabio

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Inaugurates panel, demands cooperation, service delivery

The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio yesterday offered reason for the enlargement of the Interim Management Committee (IMC) of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) by President Muhammadu Buhari.

The Nigerian leader had on Wednesday approved the increase in the panel’s membership from three to five.

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The new outlook includes Prof. Kemebradikumo Daniel Pondei as a new Acting Managing Director; Chief Ibanga Bassey Etang, Acting Executive Director (Finance and Administration); Dr. Cairo Ojougboh, Acting Executive Director (Projects); Mrs. Caroline Nagbo (member) and Cecilia Bukola Akintomide (member).

But advancing the rationale for the move during the inauguration in Abuja, Akpabio said the president’s widening of the committee was to inject fresh blood for better service delivery, just as he charged the members to cooperate with forensic auditors and deliver service.

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According to the minister, change is inevitable in a commission like the NDDC, adding that the interventionist agency was passing through a phase that would better position it for visibility in the future.

He said: “The story of NDDC in the last 19 years has not been so rosy. The NDDC we believe could have achieved more. You have a stunted child who could have been a six-footer. We need to find out the reason why the child could not grow. Is it that the child was not given enough nourishment”?

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“And then the country is looking at the fact that a lot of money has gone into the NDDC but we could not see the commensurate result. I am not saying this to deride any particular person. I am not saying this to bring down anybody. I am not saying this to make a political point. I say this from the point of truism.”

Akpabio continued: “I am a Niger Deltan and I believe in the Niger Delta. God has put us in the Niger Delta to make a difference. I had the opportunity of being a governor in the Niger Delta and I left my mark behind. Nobody can deny that there was an uncommon transformation of Akwa Ibom State.

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“I will like to see the NDDC build specialist hospitals. I will like to see the NDDC provide light to communities in darkness. I will like to see the NDDC support industrialisation and food sufficiency in the Niger Delta. These things are possible. It is a question of commitment.

“I want to thank President Buhari for the interest he has shown in the Niger Delta region. That is why he ordered the forensic audit of the commission. As soon as the forensic auditors were appointed, there was the need to inject new blood into the Interim Management Committee (IMC). The NDDC must change and we will all work together to achieve that.”

Speaking further, the minister advised the IMC members to work as a team to achieve the goal set for them by the president.

The Minister of State in the ministry, Omotayo Alasoadura, however, canvassed a synergy between the ministry and the commission.

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