The Imo State Governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha has advised the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, to focus more on building big ticket projects that would connect states in the region. The governor was speaking yesterday when the NDDC Acting Managing Managing Director, Mrs. Ibim Semenitari visited him at his residence in Owerri.
Owelle Okorocha said that as an interventionist agency NDDC should not bother itself with the renovation of primary and secondary school buildings, as well as small water projects and health centres. “I will like to see a change in the NDDC. The earlier I see NDDC change its style, the better for everyone.” he said.
The governor applauded President Muhammadu Buhari for appointing Mrs. Semenitari as the NDDC Chief Executive Officer, describing her as a courageous woman who stuck out her neck to ensure the victory of the current governing party in the country. He expressed confidence on the ability of the new NDDC helmsman to make a difference.
“I urge you to follow the mandate of the Buhari administration to complete all on-going projects. This is a new government and everyone knows the President has zero tolerance for corruption,” the governor said.
Addressing the governor earlier, Mrrs. Semenitari remarked that the NDDC was established to intervene and bridge the development gaps in the Niger Delta region, as well as renew the sustainable livelihoods of the people. She said that the commission had tried to meet the expectations of the people as an agency that would fundamentally address the dire challenges of regional development, from physical infrastructure needs to human capacity development.
She said: “Since inception, the commission has completed 242 projects in Imo State. I have just inspected some of them and I must confess I am far from impressed with the kind of work I saw on some of the projects. Of great concern was the Assa road project which I have been briefed has been cancelled. I was also concerned about the dualisation of the Avu to Etekwuru road project which would connect 6 communities and increase economic activities around the Amafor market and the general Owerri West and Ohaji/Egbema local Government areas.”
According to Mrs. Semenitari, “we cannot continue to ignore the potential of our intervention in the Niger Delta to impact positively on the lives of our people. Neither can we continue to give to our people such substandard projects, because their faith in us is not substandard. They have invested far too much in this great country to receive such treatment. I have told my engineers that such delivery cannot be accepted and we will put every strategy in place to ensure that our projects become worthier.”
The NDDC boss listed some projects for which, she said, NDDC was proud to be identified with. One of this, she said, was the two 522-bed space hostels built by the commission for the Imo State University and the Federal University of Technology, Owerri. She said that the projects had added great value to the university communities and alleviated their accommodation challenges.
“We have, indeed, built several roads, undertaken rural electrification projects of communities such as in Okigwe, Umuenyi in Isiala-Mbano, in Awa/Akabor, as well as donated over 400 transformers to many other communities in the state. We have also carried out free medical missions to many rural communities, as well as donated medical equipment and drugs to hospitals.”
She appealed to the governor to set up a strategic team that would interface with NDDC on a regular basis to find ways of partnering with the state government to put an end to the problem of duplication of projects.