The Managing Director of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Dr. Nsima Ekere, has again stated the resolve of the Commission to deliver on quality projects in communities across the Niger Delta region.
Ekere was speaking after inspecting road and drainage projects, including the emergency repairs of Hospital Road and gully erosion at Midim Waterside in Abak Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State.
Addressing the people of the five local government areas that make up the former Abak Division at a reception organized in his honour by the Abak 5 Redemption Movement at Government Technical College, Abak, Ekere expressed satisfaction with the quality of work on the projects he inspected.
He said: “I came to see the extent of work and I was very impressed with the quality of work that I saw there. One of the things that we try to do at the NDDC is to patronize competent and qualified contractors. That is the spirit of the new NDDC. The projects are just few out of several interventions that NDDC has engaged in not just in Akwa Ibom State, but in the entire Niger Delta Region.”
Ekere affirmed that the NDDC had received enormous support and encouragement from the administration of President Mohammadu Buhari, noting that all requests to the President for intervention in the affairs of the NDDC had been approved by the Federal Government.
He said that the outstanding money owed the NDDC by the Federal Government was in the process of being paid. He stated: “This year, after our written supplications to Mr. President, he approved that the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Budget and Planning should sit down with NDDC to reconcile the books and agree on how much is outstanding and also agree on an acceptable payment plan. He did not stop at that, in the budget that has just been passed by the National Assembly, awaiting presidential assent, the Federal Government has provided for the sum of N34 Billion as part payment of the outstanding debts to NDDC.”
The NDDC Managing Director decried the disruption of the Commission’s projects by agents of the State Government, stating that it was counter-productive because “the money NDDC is using to develop Akwa Ibom State is our own share of money for the development of the Niger Delta.”
The NDDC boss promised that the commission would continue to seek ways of constructive engagement with all governments in the region “so that we can bring development to all nooks and crannies of the Niger Delta.”
Reacting to the invitation by the people to contest for governorship in 2019, Ekere stated that Akwa Ibom State deserved better governance. “I want to respond by saying that this call by Abak 5 has been taken note of, and I will consider it very seriously. For today, I am still the Managing Director of NNDC. I have a job to do for the Niger Delta People. I have a job to do for Akwa Ibom People.
“Mr. President showed confidence in our capabilities and gave us this appointment. We are committed to delivering on our mandate with everything that is in our fabric. We shall do it. When the time for politics comes, when the time for election comes, I will come back here and I will remind you of this resolution that you passed today.
The Chairman of the occasion, Atuekong Don Etiebet, said the people of Abak 5 had resolved to Ekere because he had done well for them. “Performance does not hide,” he said.
The Managing Director of Oil and Gas Free Zones Authority, Mr. Umana Umana, said the people were supporting support Ekere because of his outstanding performance at the NDDC.
He added: “When the access road to Onne Free Trade Zone was impossible I wrote to NDDC as an interventionist agency, they responded within two weeks, bulldozers were working on the road. Today that road is like an express way as it should be.”
He stated further: “And I know his ideas about Akwa Ibom State. His programmes for Akwa Ibom State will not be about promises and ground breaking. There is nothing as traumatic as somebody will come and break your grounds and after two years the site will be overgrown with weeds..”
A former Minister of Women Affairs, Obong Rita Akpan, said she was overwhelmed by the size of the crowd: “People talk about sea of heads but this is an ocean of heads. I have never seen this kind of crowd before.”