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NDDC: Crying wolf where there is none

Successive management of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, in the last 18 years have had a share of accusations bordering on malfeasance and various…

Successive management of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, in the last 18 years have had a share of accusations bordering on malfeasance and various insinuations of wrongdoings in the commission is not entirely strange to stakeholders and the various interest group in the region.

The background of the established perception may have informed the basis for the recent allegation levelled against the Ag. Managing Director of the NDDC, Professor Nelson Brambaifa and the Executive Director, Finance and Administration, Dr. Chris Amadi.

This is in spite of their track record and what they have brought to bear within the short time they have manned the affairs of the commission. The thoroughness and the discipline that the new management team has brought to bear in the management of the affairs of the commission seems to be threatening perceived interest in the region.

The agitations against the renewed effort by the Professor Braimbaifa’s led interim management team at strengthening the governance structure at the commission started as mere grumbling. What was then perceived as lame talk has snowballed into a full-blown gang up against the MD which is evidenced in the persistent campaign of calumny targeted at ousting him from office through trump up allegations of phony deals.

A forthright ago it was reported that the Acting Managing Director and the Executive Director Fianace, were guest at the office of the EFCC, following a petition regarding the purported withdrawal of N2.8 billion. The commission through it directorate of corporate affairs had since denied the allegations, describing it as unfounded given the stringent policy of financial regulations in the country.

According to Mr Chahrles Odili, the Director Corporate Affairs at the commission, based on the existing financial regulations it was not possible for any origination to withdraw N2.8 billion in a day. To put the record straight the interim management committee of the commission led by the Acting Managing Director had responded to the invitation by the EFCC where they had addressed all the issues raised in the said petition.

Having been satisfactorily exonerated by the crime commission, it is very clear to the discerning mind that the allegations were full of slur and distortion meant to destroy the reputation of the Acting Managing Director and members of the interim management committee. The Acting MD within the short period has recorded a quick turn-around  in the commission.

A thorough look at all the series of petition against Professor Brambaifa, one would be convinced that the contents of all the petition are fictitious and purely a misrepresentation fact intended to harm the reputation of the Acting Managing MD.

The tactic is not new to top management at the NDDC who have endured such campaign calumny as there is always something to contend with in the agitations and struggle which stakes the plumb job at the commission.

The Acting Managing Director, through his Special Assistant on Media, Barr. Igbeta Ayebakuro, in a recent statement said more of such petition should be expected against the MD. According to him this is the price he has to pay for doing the right thing for his people. According to him the obvious fact is that a of number of persons has drawn out the knives  because they want the  job of the managing director and they have sworn to stop at nothing in the bid to have their ambition come true.

It is a known fact that before his appointment as Acting MD, Professor Brambaifa was the state representative of Bayelsa State on the board, no doubt he had a clear understanding of what was at stake when he was made the head of the commission.

Prior to that time the commission had become a big men affair, contractors were left unpaid, and developmental challenges sacrificed at the altar of political connections and appeasements. Conscious of these challenges, the Professor Brambaifa led interim management committee, started out with a plan to clear most of the backlog of contractors awaiting payments which ran into billions of naira.

It is a known fact that the MD’s office does not decide who to pay or who not to pay, but in collaboration with the Executive Directors of Project and Finance they conclude on the funds to be released for payment and then, the administrative channels determine who qualify for such payment having certain parameters in mind.

It is impracticable under the structure at the commission for the Managing Director to sit down on his own to pay out monies to contractors as being speculated, there are procedures at the NDDC. Professor Brambaifa had stated clearly he doesn’t intend to tarnish his image at this stage in his life as the spurious allegations bordering on financial graft levelled against him are trumped up allegations for reason best known to the perpetrators.

It is very clear that the unmistakable paradigm shift in the development of the Niger Delta region is manifesting by the day as the Acting Managing Director, stamps his imprint on the region that serves as the food basket of the nation.

The Brambaifa-led executive is brimming with ideas on how best to deliver on the core mandate of the Commission. The team promptly set the stage for action by articulating fresh ideas to get things moving on a new trajectory.

The NDDC under the new leadership has continue to strengthen the relationship between the Commission and the governments of the Niger Delta, to make them partners and not competitors.  In this wise, the Commission is also making efforts to reactivate the Governors’ Advisory Committee, to encourage their collaboration with the Commission to develop the region.

There is no gainsaying that the Commission’s determination to help create jobs can only receive a boost with the collaboration of the state civil services, as well as the agencies which operate in the region. Such symbiotic approach to development is necessary to make the impact of the NDDC as an interventionist agency felt by the people at the grassroots. Good enough, supervising authorities are asking questions to ensure that things are done properly.

Umoren, a public analyst, sent this piece from Port Harcourt.