By Our Reporter
For many years, it appeared as if the media constituency that fought with militants in the days to bring about the Niger Development Commission (NDDC) had been forgotten in the interventionist Commission as CEOs came and left. The media were owed for long periods and their cries seemed to fall on deaf ears, except a few CEOs that tried to listen.
Now, the media seems to become important in the scheme of things at the NDDC. Engagements have been held with different groups and more may happen in the coming days. Many say this depends on the disposition of a CEO at the time and the desires of the head of corporate affairs division.
A new director has mounted the saddle at the Commission, though the attention to the media began in the twilight days of the immediate past one, and indication that the disposition of the present MD/CEO may have much to do with this new development, and the fact that core journalists and Correspondents are now leading the media charge including an SA to MD/CEO, a long-serving Correspondent.
The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) has commenced an engagement with media organisations to enlist their support and collaboration in disseminating information on the activities and programmes of the Commission.
Leading a delegation from the NDDC corporate communication team, the Director of Corporate Affairs, Dr Pius Ughakpoteni, visited the Port Harcourt offices of the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN), the WAVE 91.7 FM, and MegaLectrics Limited, operators of Naija 92.7FM, Classic 91-1 FM and the Beat 99.9 FM.
Speaking at the WAVE 91.7FM, Dr Ughakpoteni said that members of his team, which included the Director, Branding and Standardisation, Mr. Erteka Oyo, were passionate advocates for the continuous growth and prosperity of the Niger Delta region. He noted that the ongoing visits would extend to other media organisations.
He said: “The mission of NDDC is to serve as catalyst for the development of the Niger Delta region. We seek your partnership, not just as media organisations but as stakeholders in the Niger Delta project. Let us collaborate to write a new chapter in the quest to develop Nigeria’s oil-rich region.
“We are committed to transparency and accountability, and we believe that this collaboration will help us to achieve this goal in line with the Renewed Hope Agenda of President Bola Tinubu’s Administration.”
Dr Ughakpoteni noted the importance of strategic and effective communication in facilitating sustainable development in the Niger Delta region, stating: “We want the public to be adequately informed about our activities and we believe that the electronic media will play a key role in this regard.”
The Corporate Affairs Director said that the NDDC leadership under Dr Samuel Ogbuku as the Chief Executive Officer, was working hard to bring a new lease of life to the Commission. He appealed: “We want you to help us to propagate the message that NDDC is now rebranding and doing things differently.
“We acknowledge that mistakes were made in the past but we are set to change the narrative. We, therefore, need the support of the media to achieve this objective.”
Dr Ughakpoteni regretted that in the past, NDDC was associated with corruption and poor service- delivery. He remarked that the situation had changed for the better, hence the need to educate the public that the Commission was on a new trajectory.
He stated: “We recognise the fact that effective communication is necessary for success. We want to correct the wrong perception that the NDDC is synonymous with corruption. We have the responsibility to drive the message that the NDDC has rebranded. We seek your support in this regard. The news media plays an important role in shaping public opinion.”
The General Manager of Wave FM, Mr. Rex Igiri, assured the NDDC team of the support of the radio station in its efforts to develop the Niger Delta region. He observed that the meeting with the Commission’s officials was a break from what happened in the past.
He said: “We will support NDDC in its rebranding efforts. We are ready to be part of the changes that is taking place in the NDDC. Taking off on this note of collaboration is commendable.”
At the FRCN the South-South office, the Zonal Director, Mr. Obare Lucky remarked that the visit of the NDDC team was going to open a new chapter of collaboration that will change the negative perception of the Commission.
He said: “NDDC needs a strong communication tool and FRCN is there to assist you in propagating information on any life-changing programmes and projects.”
Speaking in a similar vein, the NTA Zonal Director, Mrs. Evelyn Nwosu, said that the NDDC could always count on the support and cooperation of the station. She appealed to the Commission to complete a water project being executed at the NTA premises.
At the offices of Naija FM, Classic FM and the Beat FM, the Station Manager, Mr. Chris Oluigbo thanked the NDDC Corporate Affairs team for initiating a collaborative effort in the dissemination of information.