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Buhari, Umana turned Niger Delta around for better, says group

A pro-democracy and good governance group, the Niger Delta Network (NDN), has poured encomiums on President Muhammadu Buhari for eight years of “dedication and commitment”…

A pro-democracy and good governance group, the Niger Delta Network (NDN), has poured encomiums on President Muhammadu Buhari for eight years of “dedication and commitment” to good governance and quality leadership especially in the fostering development of the Niger Delta region.

The group made this known during a press briefing in Port Harcourt, recently where it also commended Umana Umana, minister of Niger Delta Affairs, for defying the odds to reposition the ministry.

In its statement read by John Douglas, director, public communications, the group noted in parts “we are particularly grateful to the President for the following reasons; Appointment of Umana Umana as Minister of Niger Delta.

“We have never had any doubt about President Buhari’s preference for competence and experience when it comes to assigning responsibilities to people. As such, the appointment of an astute administrator, Obong Umana Umana as the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs was a masterstroke.

“Having previously served in various key offices in his home state, Akwa Ibom such as Commissioner for Finance and Secretary to the State Government, and later as the Managing Director of Oil and Gas Free Zones Authority (OGFZA), Obong Umana Umana was roundly fit for the office considering his depth of knowledge, administrative prowess brought to bear in the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs.

“As expected, within a short period that he has been in office, the region has witnessed tremendous positive changes in both the ministry and Niger Delta Development Commission hence enhancing government impact, relations between government institutions and communities, and overall dividends of governance in the region. Mr. Umana Okon Umana undoubtedly brought his rich experience and expertise in administration to bear in the management of the Niger Delta affairs these few months and the results are very evident. We therefore applaud the Honourable Minister for justifying the trust President Buhari and the Niger Delta people put in him.

“Inauguration of a proper NDDC Board. We are aware that the President took the bull by its horn to reposition the NDDC to work for our people. Before now, some unpatriotic individuals in the region who were entrusted with managing the NDDC, recklessly abused the privilege by using their office to run the Commission like their private enterprise, denying member States opportunity to access constitutionally provided benefits of the NDDC.

“Thankfully, the President in 2019 responded to calls by stakeholders to reposition the Commission. Eventually, the forensic audit was initiated and executed. Then, an astute administrator was appointed to execute recommendations of the aidit. Upon assumption of office as Minister, Mr. Umana Okon Umana promised, in a 10-point ministerial action plan, to find lasting solutions to the critical problems in the region which culminated in the inauguration of a governing board for NDDC in line with extant laws.

“In keeping to his promise and helping President Buhari demonstrate his love for Niger Delta, Umana got President Buhari’s approval and consequently inaugurated a new NDDC Board in January 2023. The Board had since gone to work by undertaking critical interventions in the region.

“Projects, Programmes and Interventions in Niger Delta. According to a list published in 2022 by the NDDC, the Buhari administration had completed 2,506 projects in Niger Delta region between 2015 and 2022. The publication, which was part of the new transparent and accountable leadership initiated by the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Umana Umana, showed the projects, their costs, contractors, benefitting communities, institutions and dates they were awarded to the firms. The list which was dominated by road projects, indicated that the administration through NDDC also undertook other projects like shore protection, solar water, buildings, desilting, electricity, canalisation, etc.”

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