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By Gabriel Choba
I have come to disquiet over the state of affairs of the Niger Delta region and its intervention agency, the Niger Delta Development Commission’s (NDDC) docile stand on making the desired impact, following the vested interest in and out of the region blocking development for the people and the region as it were.
Forgive my ignorance, the region is still filtered with a dosage of abandoned projects and allegations of corruption. I am not unaware of the Forensic Audit report falling in the public space. The expectations of the NDDC are met below the belt if you travel from Ondo, Edo, Delta, and Bayelsa, to Rivers. The story is even worst in Imo; I don’t have a concrete experience of Abia and Akwa-Ibom. My travels in the region expose that everyone and places remains unattended to, in the Niger Delta region. Only God knows if we are serious about developing the region from the proceedings of oil rent extracted so far.
The propensity to extract and spill the money met for development (into private accounts while the region suffers) has bitten objective observers’ imaginations on the lack of tangible development. The oil resource curse and the paradox of the common stands is an empirical case against the possibility of the black race ever developing. Why should the United Arab Emirate be the envy of the Niger Delta people when the same resources were and are still available to build the Niger Delta region alike. Whatever has gone into building the UAE as a 21st-century miracle is a leader with purpose.
Chinua Achebe noted before going beyond the physical plane that there was a country . The problem with Nigeria is squarely leadership. Leadership without efficient administration, transparent and accountant methods, procedures, and outcomes. Without committed and sincere leadership, defined by purpose, nothing will happen in the region and the NDDC.
The Buhari experiment with the Interim Management Committee (IMC) and Sole Administrators must have revealed the desperation of occupying the palace of oil found in the NDDC. The conditions of the appointment of Lauretta Onochie should not have been accidental. A bencher on the sideline with the coach of a losing team has the advantage to see the field and take instructions for correction.
The NDDC needs the right leadership to fix the problems of interventions in the Niger Delta. Working close with President Buhari carries weight in meeting the desire of the President in the 11th hour of the administration. It is a desperate move to clear up the dust and put the region on track.
The track records of Lauretta Onochie are impressive. The long-awaited list to quench the taste of the agitators calling for a board to pilot the affairs of the NDDC is out and honorably, it is headed expectedly by a super amazon. The President see more and hears what we are not privy to. Credible intelligent is part of the president’s advantage in taking last minute decision. The president’s wise counsel is amazing in bringing merit to bear.
As an educationist and administrator per excellence, Lauretta Onochie represent gold fish has no hiding place. Education advancement has been given little or no concern in NDDC affairs in the past while militancy and amnesty programs have dominated the regional body budget. Education represents the building of the minds that fix the decay of society and build the path to sustainable development. Sustainable development is building peoples capability to create their own opportunities and the ability to respond to challenges in their environment. It is self sufficiency in practise. Youth and women empowerment are our critical tool to open the doors of possibilities.
Lauretta Onochie has built social capital in the region and has the capacity as an educator and administrator to mobilize these potentials into real resources with impactful outcomes. Build a person and build a nation. Working between several sectors of our economy have equipped the Mrs. Lauretta Onochie mind with the right button to touch to make the desired impact.
The collapse of the previously screened board of NDDC vibrated concerns if the president intention is to allow a board to function in the commission. The appointment of Lauretta Onochie put to rest the waiting and shopping for a credible, honest, and dutiful personality clothed in performance gear to dress the Niger Delta in a beautiful robe worthy of presentation as the Buhari’s administration legacy to the region.
Attending to the vex gap in infrastructure deficit owing to dubious concern about worries on the release of funds for ghost projects, the president needs to be sure that the mess cleared by the forensic exercise is prevented in the years to come again.
The Amazon touch in the appointment of Lauretta Onochie brings concern for social and gender justice in the management of our national resources. The Confucian ethics captured in her predisposition to work is moral conduct and ethical living. A combination of merit, duty, respect for official rule, honesty, dedication, and commitment to purpose are in the offering.
Placing confidence in the board she leads with dialectics of education and administration. No doubt this will put pressure on the short time to deliver. What is before the Niger Delta and NDDC is a force of nature playing the game of social and gender justice.
The opportunity for the feminine contribution to regional and national development is before us. We have to support this cause to give women sense of belonging as partners and gatekeepers of our commonwealth.
Lauretta Onochie will combine her bold, meticulous, adventurous, fearless, caring, and homely virtues to deliver with speed and accuracy like the hand has the last ace for the Niger Delta region. No time for troubling the changes of the NDDC to make the right moves given the short period at hand.
As a call to duty, the senate is expected with good conscience, public interest, and moral expediency to provide the needed path and support for a renewed Niger Delta under the quintessence leadership of Lauretta Onochie to navigate the NDDC to better the Niger Delta region. This is a chance to impress the world that Niger Delta is not a home for hostility, it also thrust its best in a soft beautiful feminine presence that is gender sensitive and offers promotion of women’s empowerment.
Allowing Lauretta Onochie to serve will remodel our society to appreciate the benefit of the girl child education, minority rights, and concern for trust in equity and fairness for a holist society. Buhari will depart from the Presidency with a legacy of showing courage to colour the NDDC leadership as an equal opportunity organization working for the interest of the Niger Delta region and Nigeria as a whole.
As you assume the leadership of the NDDC board, the Niger Delta people are with you to contribute to the development of the region that is waiting for urgent attention. May your leadership brings good fortune to the region as your reputation of performance proceed with your achievement. God bless the people of the Niger Delta as your good deeds are framed in our experience and expectation of your performance.
Gabriel Choba, Journalist,
Writes from Warri, Delta State. (07056711495).