elta Governor, Senator Dr Ifeanyi Okowa, has deplored what he described as “emergency projects’’ undertaken by Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), in recent times, saying they constituted embarrassment and disservice to the region.
According to Okowa, who spoke while receiving the Interim Administrator of NDDC, Mr Effiong Akwa, at the Government House, Asaba, on Thursday, the projects were not properly executed.
He urged the management of the commission to focus on the development of Niger Delta with people-oriented vision, adding that such development must truly impact positively on the region and its people.
“For the sake of sustainability, everything we do must be sustainable because I have seen roads done under emergency projects that failed under three months.
“The NDDC should spend more money on bigger projects that connect communities and with capacity to impact on the people.
“It is our hope that as leaders of the Niger Delta that the NDDC truly live up to its expectations, and for that to happen, there must be a partnership and a collaborative effort in the best interest of the region.
“The NDDC is supposed to be an interventionist agency but because of politics, we have continued to allow ourselves to be caught in the web of competition which ought not to be,’’ he said.
The governor recalled that there was a master plan developed by the commission in collaboration with the states in the region some years ago, which ought to have been used to properly develop the zone.
He advised the interim administrator to do something while in office that he would be remembered for by the people of the region, saying, “I don’t know how long you will be there, but try to make a mark for yourself while your stay lasts.
“When you satisfy yourself that you have done well according to your conscience, then you can leave the office a happy man.
“I am glad that you have met my brother governors. I am also of the opinion that the Presidential Advisory Committee on NDDC should meet with the management of the commission to look at further ways we can collaborate to develop the region.
“The more we are able to relate with ourselves, the more we are able to achieve as a people.”
Okowa added that the more the youths of the Niger Delta were engaged, the better for the nation, and disclosed that his administration had continued to provide skills acquisition and empowerment for youths in the state to enable them be job creators instead of job seekers.
“The more we give them skills that will enable them to stand on their own and also link them with finance houses or direct empowerment from government, the better for us as a people.
“That is a programme we are pursuing as a state and we do need collaborations in this regard, and I hope we can partner in this stead,” he said.
Earlier, Akwa had told the governor that he was in Asaba as part of his engagements with key stakeholders in the region and to share with him his plans for the region.
He lauded Okowa for his administration’s efforts in empowering the youths of Delta.
Akwa stated that NDDC was committed to sustainable development of Niger Delta, and assured that the commission would no longer carry out projects at variance with the aspirations of the people.
He commiserated with the governor over the death of his father, Pa Arthur Okorie Okowa, who was buried on Tuesday.
He said the late Pa Okowa was a great man of poise and candour, adding that his death was a great loss to his community, Niger Delta and Nigeria.
High point of the visit was the donation of five waste disposal trucks to Delta Government by the NDDC.