By Dayo Johnson
The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) has said that the era of duplicating projects in states in the region was over.
Its Interim Administrator of NDDC, Efiong Akwa said this in Akure, the Ondo state capital during a courtesy visit to Governor Rotimi Akeredolu.
Akwa said that the past practice where the Commission undertook projects and programs in states, without first building a working coalition with the states governments, to integrate plans, policies, projects, and programs into the government’s overall master plan, will no longer hold.
” The visit to the state is part of the commission’s ongoing engagement with stakeholders within the Niger Delta region in order to seek partnership.
“This is important because partnership is key to development. It rekindles our long-held tradition of brotherhood.
“Importantly, also, partnership is a key aspect in United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
” It advocates for a shared vision, shared responsibility, shared commitment, as well as shared budgeting process and implementation of development initiatives.
“This way, we are able to do far more, with far less funds, than if we were duplicating projects and working alone.
“That was the spirit in fashioning a Master Plan for the Niger Delta, the vision of our shared allegiance to this great region.
“After so many years of neglect, it is important that, together, we do far more for our people. It is important that we do more for a region which has provided the bulk of Nigeria’s wealth, and accounted for our rise in the comity of nations.
“And so, Aketi, our visit is both to acknowledge your strategic importance to Niger Delta development, as well as to seek ways in which we can forge a stronger alliance with the government and people of Ondo State.
“We offer both our hands and seek embrace, so that, together, we can build a region of which we can be eminently proud.
“We are determined to continue to make a difference in the Niger Delta region in general, and in Ondo State, in particular.”
Responding, governor Akeredolu said that it is high time for the Commission to consider exploring avenues of investing in states in a bid to make money for the over all interest of the mandate areas.
Akeredolu who advised the commission to partner states with potentials through investment said this would be beneficial to the states and the commission, disclosed that such move will better enhance the NDDC’s developmental drive across the mandate areas.
While describing the present composition of NDDC as a new era, Akeredolu emphasized that with the abundant potentials littering the state, the commission can partner the state through investment.
He said that “In Ondo State we have potentialities. Not even oil, our potentials are diverse and we are ready to put it before you so that we can work together.
“I know that NDDC has not been making money but it has been giving money out. But in Ondo State NDDC can make money by investing.
” We can have joint investment that NDDC will make money from. We have potentials, there is nothing stopping NDDC from buying into our bitumen.
“Our investment in bitumen might be what we will be relying on later in life as people are looking for zero oil economy.
“We have so many minerals here in this state. When it comes to dimensional stones, Ondo State has the largest quality in terms of colours.
“We can invest in it together, we have beautiful seaside in Ondo State. We can invest in tourism together.
“The Araromi seaside tourism, we develop it together. These are areas of interest for me.
“We have suggested many other areas where we can work together. I can assure that here in this state, a lot can be done.
“I look forward working together. We want you to help established Project implementation and monitoring unit in the state as part of your CSR which will also go round the other Niger Delta States.
“Our belief in this state is that this is a new era in NDDC for quantifiable economic growth and strategic developmental focus
While speaking on the outage of power supply in the southern part of the state, Akeredolu assured that electricity would be restored only when the 132KVA transmission station is completed.
“You are visiting the Erinje 132KVA transmission station which is so important to us, particularly for the people of Ondo South.
“Electricity cannot be restored to the area until the transmission station is commissioned.
” It’s so important to us. We want light in the south and the only we can have light in the south is to have this 132KVA transmission station ready.
Akeredolu said ” So our people from the south can be very hopeful. So, let our people in the south know, light is coming. When this is completed by the end of the year, I’m assured that there will be light.”
Vanguard News Nigeria