Opinion: NDDC media chest: Pius out, Seledi in

Written by silvernewsng

From Ignatius Chukwu
The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) has two major war fronts: projects/programmes execution to change the landscape of the oil region; and communications front to convince the people and win their minds and support without which the projects would be meaningless. All others are believed to be ancillary or supportive.
In this case, whoever heads each of the two critical war chests is always on scrutiny from within and outside, and uneasy will always lie the head that wears the crowns. The most important point is; how do you assess the success or failure of the head of communications in any corporate body especially the NDDC?
Now, the Commission has announced change of leadership in the Communications Division or directorate with Dr Pius Ughakpoteni bowing out as Director, and Mrs. Seledi Thompson-Wakama taking over on Wednesday, June 26, 2024.
A statement said Dr Ughakpoteni is leaving with a sense of ‘pride and nostalgia’.
These changes are said to be part of the new federal directive in all government agencies that directors must leave office on the dot of their service departure date. Before now, people retired but stayed on as directors, blocking those behind them from rising; this, at best, caused stagnation.
Dr Ughakpoteni or Dr Pius as those in the media preferred to call him is a member of the media family (ThisDay in particular) and is going to his passion being the giving and taking knowledge, according to him.
He has expressed deep gratitude to the Managing Director/CEO of the NDDC, Dr. Samuel Ogbuku, for what he termed astute leadership and for considering wise counsel in approving the recommendation for his posting as the Director of Corporate Affairs.
He has now admitted thus: “Leading this department has been an immense privilege and a profoundly fulfilling journey. Throughout my tenure, I have been fortunate to work alongside a dedicated team of professionals and collaborate with a wide range of stakeholders committed to the sustainable development of the Niger Delta region.”
He stated: “As I embark on my next chapter, I will be fully engaged in two of my passions: lifelong learning and knowledge dissemination. In addition to running the Center for Corporate Sustainability Performance Advancement, where I will leverage my doctoral research from Business School Lausanne to work with C-suite executives on advancing corporate sustainability performance, I will dedicate my time to advocating for the practical application of the lessons encapsulated in my new book, “Making the Niger Delta Work: Strategy Execution Tips from the Niger Delta Regional Development Master Plan and Essays on the Niger Delta.”

The task will fall on the lanky shoulders of a strong and tested lady, Mrs. Seledi Thompson-Wakama, who belongs to the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR), as my successor at the NDDC.
The statement said: “Mrs. Thompson-Wakama has been a vital part of the NDDC’s history for a long time, joining the Commission in 2004 and advancing through significant roles from Manager to Director. But Seledi is more than just an accomplished professional with a wealth of knowledge and a keen intellect. She was fortunate enough to work under the guidance of Mr. Anietie Usen and Dr. Christie Atako, the first two Heads of the Commission’s Corporate Communications. Together, they cultivated the core values of integrity, passion, and the relentless pursuit of excellence that define our department today.”
The directorate is stuffed with many doctorate degree holders, and thus the new boss comes with what has been termed a ‘strong educational background’ from the University of Port Harcourt and the Mandelson School of Business and Management in the UK, as well as a recent Leadership Certificate from Harvard Business School. More, she has a wealth of expertise in corporate governance, personnel management, and leadership. “She has held key roles at prestigious organizations such as the NDDC, British American Insurance Limited, and the National Boundary Commission, demonstrating her capability to navigate complex organizational structures and deliver impactful results.”
She has already reflected on this appointment and has expressed deep gratitude for the opportunity.
Seledi has pledged to continue the NDDC’s commitment to transparency and accountability. “I am honored to be entrusted with this responsibility,” she said. “Effective communication is essential to our success, and I am committed to building upon the strong foundation that Mr. Ughakpoteni has established and ensuring that the NDDC’s message is heard loud and clear.”
Whoever is the Director has many critical publics to satisfy, often objectives that conflict with each other: the departments expectations, the inter-department expectations, the outsiders expectations, and the intractable media world expectations. How Seledi will joggle all of these without deep injuries is what she alone will work out; of course with God behind her.

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