By Audrey Lotechukwu
THUR 11 MARCH, 2021-theGBJournal- With regards to the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), it would be hard to find anything as high profile, both figuratively and physically.
The usual anecdotes-oh it’s a fraud ridden agency, ghost and uncompleted projects, billions budgeted for a corporate headquarters, etc.
But all that is changing. There is an on-going forensic audit of the Commission, and today, President Muhammadu Buhari commissioned its new multibillion naira, 13 Floor Twin Tower Corporate Head Office in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, 26 years after the groundbreaking, and carrying on with his pledge to clean up the mess created over the years due to lack of oversight.
President Buhari described today’s (virtual) commissioning of the building as ‘’an important milestone in the history of our administration’s effort to reposition NDDC for the overall development of the Niger Delta.’’
The speedy completion of the building underscores the significant shift in the Federal Government’s attitude towards the development of the Niger Delta region. It took less than a year after the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio complained that the Commission was wasting N300 million yearly-that was in September 2019 to complete.
Akpabio before the commissioning took place, praised President Buhari for ‘’librating’’ the Commission from ‘’infrastructural deficiency,’’ a statement that underlines the administration’s new focus in the region.
‘’It gladdens my heart to see the completion of this project. It shows that, indeed, Nigeria can change with determination and focus. I have seen it here in the NDDC,’’ said Akpabio, the Minister who first raised a determined cry against the millions paid to cronies as rent to house the Commission.
The NDDC’ was founded on 5 June 2000 by former President Olusegun Obasanjo with the sole mandate of developing the oil rich Niger Delta Region.