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Need for a re-invigorated NDDC board – Part 2

By Bernard Ogboka
10 September 2021   |   3:05 am
Unfortunately, after spending millions, only the forms for that election was over a million, we paid Eight hundred and fifty thousand to the national and another two hundred thousand

Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC)

Continued from yesterday

Unfortunately, after spending millions, only the forms for that election was over a million, we paid Eight hundred and fifty thousand to the national and another two hundred thousand in the state secretariat in Asaba and aspirants to the Delta State House of assembly alone across the state were over a hundred. And you have to spend money going round all the wards for consultation not once.

At the end of the day, the primary elections did not hold in my constituency but results were announced and one of my opponents in that election was declared the winner. You can’t quantify the toll that scam of a primary election took on my business and family but God helped me. The APC primaries were marred with election irregularities across the country, something that could have derailed the re-election campaign of the president who then personally intervened and encouraged aggrieved aspirants to work with him and promised that they would be rewarded if he wins. Prof Pat Utomi also had a bitter experience in the governorship primaries which he wrote about in his book titled “Why Not- Citizenship, State Capture, Creeping Fascism and Criminal Hijack of Politics in Nigeria”.

Nevertheless, I continued with the party to campaign for the President and vice president for their integrity was never in doubt. And even though I had spent millions in my primaries that never held, I went ahead to spend more of my personal resources towards the president’s reelection sincerely in the printing of campaign materials and funding the campaign in other ways. I was a member of the Delta State campaign council as an aspirant representing my Isoko South constituency 2. There is a quote by Warren Buffet that “Somebody once said that in looking for people to hire, you look for three qualities: integrity, intelligence, and energy. And if you don’t have the first, the other two will kill you. You think about it; it’s true”. We have so many corrupt players in the political arena, which have discouraged honest people from throwing their hats in the ring, so we must endeavour to support the few good men out there like the president and the vice president so that corruption does not kill our country.

Now, development does not just happen, in the case studies of countries I refered to earlier you find the critical role played by ministries, agencies, and commissions similar to the NDDC in bringing development to those countries mentioned earlier. But here what has been the role of the NDDC? What’s their plan for the development of the Niger Delta that they are supposed to be engaged in? People don’t know it. What we know is that the commission had been used to reward political cronies with contracts where monies are siphon for narrow self-interest leaving the Region as underdeveloped as it is and it is time to change that.

Therefore, I am calling on the president to jettison the board that has not been inaugurated and constitutes a fresh new board with people who have the capacity to do the right things for the Niger Delta region. Adam Oshiomole recommended his former deputy governor, Pius Odubu from Edo state for chairman of that board for instance. Though, it is clearly the turn of Delta State to produce the next Chairman of the board according to the NDDC Act which states that the office of the Chairman shall rotate amongst the member states of the Commission in alphabetical order and the last Chairman was Victor Ndoma-Egba from Cross Rivers State. The president should correct that anomaly rather than open his government to litigations some of which were already filed before he suspended the inauguration of that board and seize the opportunity to bring in capable people like us who have hazarded our lives for his reelection that he promised to reward who also are not only capable of doing a good job but are passionate about the development of the Niger Delta region and of the rest of the country which led us into politics in the first place.

Ogboka, a former aspirant to the Delta State House of Assembly wrote from Warri.