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WE SHALL NOT BE DISTRACTED – NDDC

It has been brought to our attention that the Akwa Ibom State Government and its paid agents have assembled and commissioned some hatchet-men who operate under the guise of questionable NGOs to throw mud at, and spread malicious lies about the NDDC, its executives and the APC Federal Government.

Just yesterday, a photoshopped image of a road project, which had been circulating online for months, was fraudulently and falsely represented as an NDDC project, in a bid to create the impression that the Commission’s road projects are executed without recourse to basic project standards.

We have been reliably informed that more of these mudslinging, falsehood, mischief and unwarranted and politically motivated attacks, have been planned with increased intensity in the coming days.

Since the current Governing Board and Executive Management assumed duties in November 2016, we have received the most sustained and unwarranted attacks from Akwa Ibom State. While we encourage scrutiny and objective criticism, geared towards ensuring that we offer the best service to the Niger Delta region, these constant, vicious and virulent attacks, deliberate distortions, falsehood and open confrontation, driven by political scheming, have become distractions that the region and our people cannot afford at this time.

As the Commission has often stated, NDDC, as an intervention agency, is not in competition with any of the nine state governments of the Niger Delta region. Our mandates are different, but equally important and desperately urgent. We ask that the Commission and its representatives be allowed to focus on the onerous responsibility of developing the region. We believe that there is no reason to poison the chalice, because our people drink from it.

The entire Niger Delta region is in dire need of rapid, even and sustainable development. That is our core Mandate. That is our primary focus. That is why we are more concerned about governance, which impacts positively on the people, than divisive and fraudulent politicking. Through our structures, we have extended our hands of cooperation and partnership to all the nine Niger Delta States.

Our footprints in Akwa Ibom State are obvious in keeping with the mandate of the current Board to ensure that the state enjoys the largest share of NDDC projects as the leading oil producing state in Nigeria.

We have extended our hand of friendship to the Akwa Ibom State Government on many occasions, as we have done with other State Governments. Indeed, our partnership with other State Governments has yielded important projects, such as the construction of the 50-kilometre Akodo-Araromi/Ibeju-Lekki Road, connecting Ondo and Lagos States, being funded by the Commission and Ondo State Government. We do hope that Akwa Ibom Government will see reason why it must open the door to NDDC as a credible development partner, rather than continue to demonize it.

There’s a lot that Akwa Ibom State stands to benefit from working with the NDDC as partners, just as the states of Edo, Delta, Imo, Abia, Bayelsa, Cross Rivers, Rivers and Ondo are doing, to address development needs in such areas as infrastructure, education, healthcare and job creation. We have reached out in many ways to the State Government to support its programmes for the benefit of its people. Ignoring such opportunities remains a major loss to the State.

Moreover, the Commission is open to engaging with any persons or groups interested in our work. We have collaborated – and will continue to collaborate – with civil society organisations, in the discharge of our Mandate. We want to restate that our doors are open at all times to all stakeholders interested in supporting, understanding and collaborating with the Commission to move the Region forward.

It smacks of malice, ill-will and deliberate mischief for organisations to assemble to discuss the NDDC and pass judgement, without inviting the Commission or its representatives to present its perspectives. To do otherwise reeks of an agenda different from promoting the well-being of Akwa Ibom State and the Niger Delta region.

IBITOYE ABOSEDE
Director, Corporate Affairs
NIGER DELTA DEVELOPMENT COMMISSION

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