APC targets Cross River in 2019

Cross River State is one of the 15 states which the ruling APC at the presidency could not take over from the People’s Democratic Party(PDP), during the 2015 general elections. Therefore, since 1999 till date, Cross River state is governed by the PDP at all levels. The state Governor, Senator Ben Ayadeis of the PDP, so are all the members of the state House of Assembly and in the eighteen local government councils of the state, the council chairmen and all the elected councillors are from PDP.

But with the feeling of control at the presidential level, the leaders of APC and their members in Cross River State are hopeful they could win the control of Cross River State in 2019.That task going by statistics would not be an easy one for them. In the last presidential elections of 2015, the party did not win any elective post. The declared results by the Independent Electoral Commission INEC is another reason some of the party stalwarts believe they will get if right in 2019. The 2015 decleared results showed that after Edo state that is an APC controlled state in the South-south, Cross River came second in the percentage of votes earned in the Presidential election for APC.

They had barely 22% but that was a far improvement from what opposition parties get in previous elections. Besides other reasons and possibilities for the party to achieve its 2019 target, the task seem to be cut out for the new entrance or the members of the party who joined after the 2015 general elections. These include political leaders of repute such as the former Senate Leader, Senator Victor Ndoma Egba, former governor of the state, Chief Clement Ebri, Senator Prince Otu and Prince Goddy Jeddy Agba among others.

The combine strength of the new bigwigs of the APC in Cross River State is such that achieving their target can be argued to be an easy one but such argument could be risky as well and that is why the stakeholders are trying to put the APC family in Cross River State into order and bring about the much needed oneness of purpose. Internal divisions within the ranks of the opposition in the state have kept them where they are always at the polls. The party stakeholders, penultimate week in Calabar, the State capital organised and held the first quarterly retreat for members and party officials in the state in order the kick start an orientation and re-orientation exercise that would drum up a new message of sacrifice towards 2019 general elections. 

The retreat with the theme, “APC, Cross River State: The Way Forward, Reconciliation and Strategies of Winning Elections”. The retreated was addressed by a guest speaker and other senior party stalwarts including the former Senate Leader Senator Ndoma Egba, the APC South, South Chairman, Mr. Hilliard Etta and Special Assistant to the President on Prosecution, Chief Obon Obla. Senator Ndoma-Egba predicted that APC will take over the state by 2019. According to him, “the PDP has given us a template of how not to be a political party. All we need to do is to avoid the mistakes the PDP has made. One of the biggest mistakes of the PDP is the issue of ownership of the party.

The PDP lost membership of its party and the governors became the only members and owners of PDP and the only people who matter in the party and owners of the PDP. In APC ownership of the party must reside with the common members of the party like you and me. We must protect the ownership of the party. “The second lesson we must learn from PDP is that impunity anywhere is not sustainable. There is nothing like doing the correct thing. The governors decide everything. Let us apply democracy in whatever we are doing in selecting our leaders at all levels. We must apply the rules and be fair to all…It is our choice to win but whether to win or lose is our choice, we have to make that decision. 

I believe that we can win and I want us to win and we must win”. Recalling one of the immediate issues that led to his exit from the PDP, Senator Ndoma-Egba said, “if you remember what happened, quite a number of us; everybody who was sympathetic to me was shut out of PDP. For three years, I was not invited to any PDP meeting in Cross River State. “We were constructively evicted. So, if the party itself has evicted you, you can no longer be saying you moved from PDP to APC. I moved from the roadside to APC. PDP had already shut its doors against me and everybody who supported me in anyway. "Meanwhile the position of the caucuses was supposed to be statutory.

It was spelt out by law. They stopped following the law. All that was important was ‘are you for Victor or you are against him.’ If you are for victor, ‘remove him from the caucus.’ But that is in the past now, I have moved on”. he continued, “before now, what you use to hear was that there was no opposition in Cross River State. Yes, it may have been true, can anybody say that now? “Our intention is to put our house in order to avoid anybody sitting down to impose anyone they like just because he does not like the popular candidate. “If we are able to achieve this and collectively build the party from the grassroots, then the challenges to take power in Cross River State in 2019 will be minimal.” However, the Special Assistant to the President on Prosecution, Chief Obon Obla tasked members of the party to have unity of purpose and warned that in order for APC to take over power from the PDP in the state, they must practice true democracy by giving equal opportunity to everyone.

He stated, “if you must take over Cross River State from PDP, we must have unity of purpose, we all must be treated as equal. In a situation where a particular person would want to control the entire structure of the party will be strongly opposed, so we must be democratic to give equal opportunity to everybody whether as a Minister or as an S A, we must be treated as the same”.

The invited lecturer, Professor Yakubu Uchefu who is the Vice Chancellor, Kwararafa University Wukari, Taraba state in his speech stressed the need for the party in the state to continuously engage the populace and remain popular at the grassroots as “some people think being at the central and holding the power in Abuja means automatic victory at home, which is not so. “This is the reason why the young man presented by APC, Onjeh could not win this other man (David Mark) in the senatorial re-run. We must work.” Uchefu who based his lecture’s practicality on the ‘Operation SSA 2015’ employed by the APC in the build up to the 2015 general elections in Benue state also, described expectation management as “A key variable to midwifing opposition to power”, adding that, “There must be management of the aspirant to ensure he/she does not say things far from the realities on ground, management of the bureaucrats (public and civil servants) to win them over as they make up almost 70 percent of the informed voting population and the shadow individuals. All these must be managed properly with the party ensuring it carries out it plans in zoning with equity and fairness and without impunity.”

Earlier, the party’s gubernatorial candidate in the 2015 general elections, Odey Ochicha said at the moment, “The ultimate goal is to win the PDP which has dragged Cross River State backward.” Ochicha also averred that the party must close ranks to achieve their set objective, noting that “lack of cohesion cost us the last election.” However, the high challenge for the APC how to close ranks between the expectations of the old members and the interest of the new members who have brought in more political strength and clout into the state chapter. Analysts believe with the likes of Senator Ndoma-Egba, Chief Clement Ebri, Senator Prince Bassey Otu, Prince Jeddy Agba, Pastor Usani Usani and the Zonal Vice Chairman South-south, Prince Hillard Ettah amongst a host of others, APC can rally around the electorate and secure their trust to meet the party’s 2019 target. In addition to their cooperation, they also know that putting in place an active an vibrant state executive structure of the party is also paramount to their anticipated success.

Top politicians in Cross River State move to APC

The National Chairman Of The All Progressives Congress, Chief John Odigie Oyegun , on Saturday formally received former Senate Leader Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba, Former Governor Clement Ebri, Senator Bassey Otu, Prince Goddy Jedy Agba and many others into the party as bonifide members. Chief Oyegun who led other National Working Committee members of the party for what was tagged a mega reception rally expressed his satisfaction over the turn out at the event and declared that Cross river state will fall into the hands of his party in 2019. Some others who were also received into the APC at a colourful ceremony held at the Atu Playground include a former state chairman of Peoples Democratic Party Ambassador Sony Abang, Ntufam Sandy Onor, Ntufam Fidelis Ugbo, Dr. Emmanuel Nsan, Sir Wilfred Inah, and Mrs. Nela-Andem Rabana.

The Third Republic governor of the state, Mr. Clement Ebri, who had remained without a political party, but an active supporter of President Muhammdu Buhari’s election efforts was also received into the APC. Oyegun who addressed the mammoth crowd of party members and their supporters that thronged the event said he had campaigned in Calabar on four different occasion, but the Saturday’s event was most impressionable as it witnessed a movement of progressive forces into the party. Oyegun admonished those joining the party and the people of the state to support the president’s anti-corruption war. He said unlike the past when their resources were denied them by a few, the APC government in the country would always have them in mind in the implementation of its programmes and projects.

National Vice chairman of the APC in the South south zone Hilliard Eta, in his remarks welcomed the politicians to the party and lauded them for the rare display of courage in confronting the PDP which he accused of leading the state with utter disregard for the people. In his remarks, Ndoma-Egba who spoke on behalf of himself and Ebri said their joining the APC was borne out of the desire to stop the culture of impunity in the politics of Cross River State as well as provide alternative for the electorate to chose from. He said the coalesced forces under the APC will rescue the state from the suffocating grip of the forces of retrogression.

In remarks, Otu said the PDP was under the iron grip of a political shark and a looting cabal who promoted impunity to the extent that the party’s tickets were sold to the highest bidder. Otu promised that as a progressive he will continue to serve the people because he has committed himself to their cause. Agba who led the decdampees from the northern senatorial district said they were in the wrong political group, but as progressives they have retraced their steps to the APC , a party they are naturally cut for. END

Read Michelle Obama’s Emotional Speech at the Democratic Convention

First Lady Michelle Obama gave an emotional speech at the Democratic national convention Monday night, arguing for the importance of black and female role models in the White House.

“That is the story of this country, the story that has brought me to this stage tonight, the story of generations of people who felt the lash of bondage, the shame of servitude, the sting of segregation, but who kept on striving and hoping and doing what needed to be done so that today I wake up every morning in a house that was built by slaves,” she said. “And I watch my daughters, two beautiful, intelligent, black young women playing with their dogs on the White House lawn. And because of Hillary Clinton, my daughters and all our sons and daughters now take for granted that a woman can be president of the United States.”

Michelle Obama

Read Obama’s remarks as delivered below:

(CHEERS, APPLAUSE) Thank you all. Thank you so much. You know, it’s hard to believe that it has been eight years since I first came to this convention to talk with you about why I thought my husband should be president.

(CHEERS, APPLAUSE)

Remember how I told you about his character and convictions, his decency and his grace, the traits that we’ve seen every day that he’s served our country in the White House?

(CHEERS, APPLAUSE)

I also told you about our daughters, how they are the heart of our hearts, the center of our world. And during our time in the White House, we’ve had the joy of watching them grow from bubbly little girls into poised young women, a journey that started soon after we arrived in Washington.

OBAMA: When they set off for their first day at their new school, I will never forget that winter morning as I watched our girls, just 7 and 10 years old, pile into those black SUVs with all those big men with guns.

(LAUGHTER)

And I saw their little faces pressed up against the window, and the only thing I could think was, what have we done?

(LAUGHTER)

See, because at that moment I realized that our time in the White House would form the foundation for who they would become and how well we managed this experience could truly make or break them. That is what Barack and I think about every day as we try to guide and protect our girls through the challenges of this unusual life in the spotlight, how we urge them to ignore those who question their father’s citizenship or faith.

(CHEERS, APPLAUSE)

How we insist that the hateful language they hear from public figures on TV does not represent the true spirit of this country.

(CHEERS, APPLAUSE)

How we explain that when someone is cruel or acts like a bully, you don’t stoop to their level. No, our motto is, when they go low, we go high.

(CHEERS, APPLAUSE)

With every word we utter, with every action we take, we know our kids are watching us. We as parents are their most important role models. And let me tell you, Barack and I take that same approach to our jobs as president and first lady because we know that our words and actions matter, not just to our girls, but the children across this country, kids who tell us I saw you on TV, I wrote a report on you for school.

Kids like the little black boy who looked up at my husband, his eyes wide with hope and he wondered, is my hair like yours?

And make no mistake about it, this November when we go to the polls that is what we’re deciding, not Democrat or Republican, not left or right. No, in this election and every election is about who will have the power to shape our children for the next four or eight years of their lives.

(CHEERS, APPLAUSE)

And I am here tonight because in this election there is only one person who I trust with that responsibility, only one person who I believe is truly qualified to be president of the United States, and that is our friend Hillary Clinton.

(CHEERS, APPLAUSE)

That’s right.

(CHEERS, APPLAUSE)

See, I trust Hillary to lead this country because I’ve seen her lifelong devotion to our nation’s children, not just her own daughter, who she has raised to perfection…

(CHEERS, APPLAUSE)

…but every child who needs a champion, kids who take the long way to school to avoid the gangs, kids who wonder how they’ll ever afford college, kids whose parents don’t speak a word of English, but dream of a better life, kids who look to us to determine who and what they can be.

You see, Hillary has spent decades doing the relentless, thankless work to actually make a difference in their lives…

(CHEERS, APPLAUSE)

…advocating for kids with disabilities as a young lawyer, fighting for children’s health care as first lady, and for quality child care in the Senate.

And when she didn’t win the nomination eight years ago, she didn’t get angry or disillusioned.

(CHEERS, APPLAUSE)

Hillary did not pack up and go home, because as a true public servant Hillary knows that this is so much bigger than her own desires and disappointments.

(CHEERS, APPLAUSE)

So she proudly stepped up to serve our country once again as secretary of state, traveling the globe to keep our kids safe.

And look, there were plenty of moments when Hillary could have decided that this work was too hard, that the price of public service was too high, that she was tired of being picked apart for how she looks or how she talks or even how she laughs. But here’s the thing. What I admire most about Hillary is that she never buckles under pressure. She never takes the easy way out. And Hillary Clinton has never quit on anything in her life.

(CHEERS, APPLAUSE)

And when I think about the kind of president that I want for my girls and all our children, that’s what I want.

OBAMA: I want someone with the proven strength to persevere, someone who knows this job and takes it seriously, someone who understands that the issues a president faces are not black and white and cannot be boiled down to 140 characters.

(CHEERS, APPLAUSE)

Because when you have the nuclear codes at your fingertips and the military in your command, you can’t make snap decisions. You can’t have a thin skin or a tendency to lash out. You need to be steady and measured and well-informed.

(CHEERS, APPLAUSE)

I want a president with a record of public service, someone whose life’s work shows our children that we don’t chase form and fortune for ourselves, we fight to give everyone a chance to succeed.

(CHEERS, APPLAUSE)

And we give back even when we’re struggling ourselves because we know that there is always someone worse off. And there but for the grace of God go I.

I want a president who will teach our children that everyone in this country matters, a president who truly believes in the vision that our Founders put forth all those years ago that we are all created equal, each a beloved part of the great American story.

(CHEERS, APPLAUSE)

And when crisis hits, we don’t turn against each other. No, we listen to each other, we lean on each other, because we are always stronger together.

(CHEERS, APPLAUSE)

And I am here tonight because I know that that is the kind of president that Hillary Clinton will be. And that’s why in this election I’m with her.

(CHEERS, APPLAUSE)

You see, Hillary understands that the president is about one thing and one thing only, it’s about leaving something better for our kids. That’s how we’ve always moved this country forward, by all of us coming together on behalf of our children, folks who volunteer to coach that team, to teach that Sunday school class, because they know it takes a village.

(CHEERS, APPLAUSE)

Heroes of every color and creed who wear the uniform and risk their lives to keep passing down those blessings of liberty, police officers and the protesters in Dallas who all desperately want to keep our children safe.

(CHEERS, APPLAUSE)

People who lined up in Orlando to donate blood because it could have been their son, their daughter in that club.

(CHEERS, APPLAUSE)

Leaders like Tim Kaine…

(CHEERS, APPLAUSE)

…who show our kids what decency and devotion look like.

Leaders like Hillary Clinton who has the guts and the grace to keep coming back and putting those cracks in that highest and hardest glass ceiling until she finally breaks through, lifting all of us along with her.

(CHEERS, APPLAUSE)

That is the story of this country, the story that has brought me to this stage tonight, the story of generations of people who felt the lash of bondage, the shame of servitude, the sting of segregation, but who kept on striving and hoping and doing what needed to be done so that today I wake up every morning in a house that was built by slaves.

(CHEERS, APPLAUSE)

And I watch my daughters, two beautiful, intelligent, black young women playing with their dogs on the White House lawn.

(CHEERS, APPLAUSE)

And because of Hillary Clinton, my daughters and all our sons and daughters now take for granted that a woman can be president of the United States.

(CHEERS, APPLAUSE)

So, look, so don’t let anyone ever tell you that this country isn’t great, that somehow we need to make it great again. Because this right now is the greatest country on earth!

(CHEERS, APPLAUSE) And as my daughters prepare to set out into the world, I want a leader who is worthy of that truth, a leader who is worthy of my girls’ promise and all our kids’ promise, a leader who will be guided every day by the love and hope and impossibly big dreams that we all have for our children.

So in this election, we cannot sit back and hope that everything works out for the best. We cannot afford to be tired or frustrated or cynical. No, hear me. Between now and November, we need to do what we did eight years ago and four years ago.

(CHEERS, APPLAUSE)

We need to knock on every door, we need to get out every vote, we need to pour every last ounce of our passion and our strength and our love for this country into electing Hillary Clinton as president of the United States of America!

(CHEERS, APPLAUSE)

So let’s get to work. Thank you all and God bless.

(CHEERS, APPLAUSE)

How Times have Changed

How Times have Changed

By Kenneth Gyado

President BuhariAs a student of mass communications in the late 80s, one of my elective subjects was introduction to Sociology. My lecturer then was Dr Sam Ibeabuchi, a well groomed and elitist scholar whose trademark was his immaculate appearance. His students called him " the dapper professor".

We all looked foward to his lectures and I must say that some of us feverently waited to see his perfectly manicured mustache, his well knotted tie and his matching pocket square. He sure knew how to choose his suits.

while the Professor's spotless appearance was a distraction to most students especially the female ones who usually swarmed around him, some of us never lost the import of his often repeated mantra which was " the adaptive Nigerian Personality" . Dr Ibeabuchi was very passionate in highlighting how the Nigerian was the most adaptive to situations in the world. He taught this subject at the peak of the anti-SAP protests of 1988 when prices of commodities spiraled out of control due to the harsh economic policies of the Babangida administration. He kept reminding us that the protests will last a few days and life will return to normal. This according to him is because the Nigerian society is growing progressively individualistic with a tendency to focus on self survival rather than the collective good.

This way of thought has affected the sense of right or wrong. In Nigeria there is no objective yardstick of measuring right and wrong. The phenomenon of RIGHT and WRONG is defined by how the situation affects the individual.. It is purely a matter of personal perspective.

The coming on board of President Muhammadu Buhari has tested this theory of the adaptive Nigerian Personality. For the first time, it seems that Nigerians especially the elite are finding it difficult to adapt to the changing times. Maybe the elite have been unprepared for the kind of Change that Buhari has brought upon the nation. The loudest cries we hear today are from people who were perceived yesterday to be very wealthy. These were people who lived obscene lifestyles fueled by free funds stolen from government coffers or borrowed from banks. They hosted lavish parties at the pleasure spots of the world aboard yachts and in villas.

I remember a bizzare birthday celebration in the immediate past era. One of the nouveau Rich entrepreneurs turned 40 in 2011. He took up 40 full color pages in a popular newspaper to mark his birthday. This is only half the story. The grand finale of this festival of waste held in one of the ultra luxury hotels in Dubai. Your invitation card came with a fully paid airline ticket and your room key at this hotel where three whole floors were reserved for Guests. I won't waste time describing the decadent consumption of choice civilized wines and the presence of commercial bodies at hand.

Another "billionaire " mogul held the wedding of his son in a similar fashion in Dubai. The Nigerian elite is known for his waste culture. They want to own villas in the signature spots of the world. They want to be seen at the Côte d'Azur in France. They want to be in Marbella . They own expansive palaces On Alpine drive in Beverly Hills where they only visit once in 5 years.They want to enjoy sunny summers in Sardinia and the carribean islands when they have sunlight all year round in Nigeria. A semiliterate fool once told me he loves Italy because he enjoys breakfast in Rome, lunch in Florence and dinner in Venice.

They own own private planes but lack the destinations to fly them there. They fly women in first class cabins at the drop of a hat. They occupy the biggest suites in the best hotels around the world. They enjoy limousine pickups and "escort services " . They are a pimp's delight as their presence means brisk business. They host decadent parties where girls the age of their daughters entertain them in unprintable ways.

Fast forward to the post 2015 era and it is a different ball game. There are cries and gnashing of teeth especially among the elite reminiscent of the old Mexican soap opera, " the rich also cry". The Nigerian comprador bourgeoisie has now been reduced to feel the pain they subjected the rest of us to for so many Years. Their garages are now filled up with cars needing various forms of mechanical attention. Some are grounded because the Nigerian state can no longer fuel them. The young girls are crying because parties don't hold as often as they used to. They are also weeping because even when they hold there is no more TFC ( thanks for coming). I am told that in the past era, the going TFC rate was 500,000 each. Half a million Naira for appearance fees at orgy laden parties!. If 20 girls arrive for instance, it's N10,000,000 and this is outside the fees paid for any one on one transaction.

The airlines fly empty luxury cabins because the free source of funds have dried up. A visit to the Presidential villa which had its own TFC rate of $50,000 is no longer as lucrative. The Nigerian big man now seats on his sofa and spreads his account details around via text messages as if they are casting lots or playing a lottery. it is now an era of digital begging. The common chorus now is " make I send my account?"

The current situation has exposed yesterday's big men as lazy and unproductive leeches who bled the country to its current sorry state. They add no value whatsoever . They only believe in pressing the country down while feathering their individual nests. In other countries , the elite prosper from the growth of their countries. An example is the Arab states where the ruling elite have become unbelievably wealthy as the states grew. In Nigeria, the elite prosper while the country collapses. This explains why a group of people will share billions of dollars meant to buy arms while insurgents ravage the citizenry. It explains why governors buy homes for harlots and buy million dollar wrist watches while teachers remain unpaid. This is the reason why some common sense proponents collect huge loans from banks and end up buying mansions in Los Angeles.

A band of people who were used to freebies and who suddenly have realized that things have changed will surely muster the remaining energy in them to resist. They are now having a taste of the reality they imposed on others. Prof Ibeabuchi will need to propound a new theory because these elite are proving to be incapable of actualizing the Nigerian adaptive personality model. Our Ogas are not rich men after all. They a merely a group of thieves and debtors.

citizen reporter Kenneth Gyado

Ndoma-Egba's team and the NDDC Assignment

President Mohammadu Buhari has chosen the former Senate Leader, Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba SAN as the chairman of the new governing Board of the Niger Delta Development Commission. Ndoma-Egba will work with Obong Nsima Ekere as the commission’s Managing Director and a host of other members of the Board. The NDDC 16 years after establishment has arguably not created the desired impact in the region and with the change mantra of the APC government:  Nsa Gill writes on the task before the new board and management of NDDC.

President Buhari and Sen. Victor Ndoma-Egba, SAN chairman designate, NDDC

The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) is a federal government agency established during the administration of former Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo in the year 2000 with the sole mandate of developing the oil-rich Niger Delta region of Southern Nigeria.

From inception till date, four governing board and management has been in place and as at May 2016 when the acting managing Director Ibim Semenitari, presented the first quarter report for 2016 of the NDDC, she revealed what the state of affairs and the challenges of the NDDC are. According to the acting MD who is expected to hand over the reign of office to the duly constituted new board and management. NDDC awarded a total of 8,557 infrastructure development projects valued at N2.4 trillion between 2001 and March 18, 2016.

The report said that 3, 454 projects worth N441 billion were completed out of the total number of contracts awarded within the period. It said that the projects were awarded in the areas of roads, bridges, jetty and shore protection, canalisation and reclamation, electricity and power, water and buildings, food control and equipping and furnishing. “Of the total number of infrastructure projects awarded, about 250 are regarded as mega projects, that is projects with cost ranging from N500 million to N24 billion.

“There are 2,257 ongoing projects totalling N1.2trillion in value, while 292 others worth N81 billion were either stalled or abandoned.

“During the period under review, the commission terminated a total number of 49 projects valued at N1.9billion. Other agencies of government took over 29 projects with a total contract sum of N16 billion from the NDDC.

Semenitari, said the biggest challenge she had upon assumption of office “was the fact that NDDC was owing so many people.”

As she puts it the commission owed more than 8,600 contractors between N400 billion and N450 billion when she assumed office, but about 600 of them were paid by her administration. She said that the paucity of funds coupled with the public perception of the commission became sources of concern for the management of NDDC but assured that better days will come for the commission by the time its funding partners pay up the amount they are owing. She noted that the commission spent N9.2 billion on execution of projects between January and March, 2016.

She said that with payment of the outstanding monies, the projects the commission was handling would become visible. But regretted the fact that the late passage of the budget of the commission had hampered proper planning and proper management of the commission.

She revealed further that “as at Jan. 1 2016, our balance of account was N9.9 billion. And then within this period under review that is – January to March 2016- for that first quarter, we received N6.8 billion from the Federal Government and N32 billion from oil companies, so that total inflow as at March was about N48. 9billion.

She revealed the expenses made in the course of the period, saying “the recurrent payment including salary and allowances and other expenditure stood at N7 billion and payment for projects stood at N9.2 billion. “So, the total of expenditure within the period under review is N16.3 billion. And the cash balance as at March 25, 2016 was N32. 26 billion.”

Ms. Semenitari said the commission paid 642 out of the 8600 contractors during the period under review. “Basically, what I am saying is that I have addressed over 600 contractors. In other word, 600 projects have treated during the period under review. And “We have been able to complete about 28 projects in this period.”

The interim period which Semenitari has held brief has provided a foundation for the duly constituted governing board and the management to start off with more ease than they ordinarily would.

The huge challenge of stakeholders’ perception, insincerity of most contractors and the double standards of some commission staff still need attention.

Some stakeholders in the region, politicians, elders, militants and ex-militant groups have perceived the commission as their own national cake and some often allow their selfish interest to override the common interest of the region. It’s common for the commission board and management to be pressured and face threats that end up being settlement of personal interest of a person or a group then a through need of a community.

Politicians have taken NDDC contracts and handed same over to aides or cronies that would either abandon same or engage in a shabby execution. Most of the commission’s contractors have also followed the same path of either abandoning the projects or executing a substandard work. Some commission staff has collaborated often with the contractors to promote project abandonment or shabby execution. Imagine a group agitating so furiously to be given multi-million and billion contract for reclamation of an imaginary area and they would just go with the funds on luxurious vacation and build personal mansions within and outside the country with little or nothing on ground in the region.

Sen. Ndoma-Egba

 

The expectation is therefore high on the Ndoma-Egba led board and the management committee. Things must be done differently. There must not be infighting between the board members nor within the management committee members. Cooperation and oneness of purpose should be the watch words.

It is the views of many that the former senate leader, Senator Ndoma-Egba SAN comes with a baggage of experience to the NDDC job.

His appointment has been greeted with applause for the president over a choice well made. He has been described as one who will make the region and the nation proud in the discharge of his duties.

Similar commendations have also been variously made over the appointment of Obong Nsima Ekere who ones served as the deputy governor Akwa Ibom State and now designated as the new Managing Director of the NDDC.

Cross River State Governor, Prof. Ben Ayade particularly commended the President on Ndoma-Egba appointment, for having chosen one of the best Cross River state can boost of. Also former governor of Cross River State, Mr. Clement Ebri, gave thumbs up to President Muhammadu Buhari for nominating Senator Ndoma-Egba(SAN), to chair the board of the Niger Delta Development Commission(NDDC).

In his words Ebri said “The nomination of Ndoma-Egba is a step taken in the right direction because of his wealth of experience in public and community service. He has the requisite experience required to perform creditably. I think we should be expecting a lot of development of infrastructure in the entire nine states of the Niger Delta. His appointment is a clear example of fixing a square peg in a square hole by President Muhammadu Buhari.”

Ebri described Ndoma-Egba as a nationalist whom he has confidence that under his watch as chairman, every part of the region will witness tremendous development. Now Senate has approved N241 billion as the 2016 Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) budget and a breakdown of the budget shows that N18 billion is for personnel cost, N10 billion for overhead, internal capital, N1 billion and development project, N231 billion. Therefore, there should be transparency in approach by the new Board and management. Outstanding projects should be sorted out between the fathom and imaginary contracts with the ones that are real which need to have outstanding payments made and the execution properly delivered to specifications. New projects tenders and execution should follow clearly seen due process and execution properly monitored with the necessary engagement of all stakeholders.

Many have talked about the need to revive the well thought out NDDC master plan that was long kept in the cooler by previous administration. The change must be seen in the NDDC so that perhaps at the end of the tenure, one can point at NDDC model schools, NDDC skills acquisition centers, quality NDDC communities link roads and bridges. With a better leadership approach expected from Ndoma-Egba SAN as Board Chairman and cooperation from Obong Nsima Ekere in the day to day management needs, best is expected and the best is possible.

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