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Forensic Auditing And Repostioning Of NDDC 


President Muhammadu  Buhari’s recent call for a forensic auditing of The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) has been  widely described  as a welcome development.
Since its establishment in 2000, the Commission which was expected to bring accelerated development to the oil rich region has become synonymous with a plethora of abandoned projects.
Nearly every community is littered with one abandoned project or the other as carred out by the Commission.
A United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) study described the region under the Commission as a case of ‘amazing paradoxes’, considering that in spite of being an oil rich community, remains underdeveloped.
The obvious underperformance of the Commission is as a result of   brazen corruption which therefore necessitates the would be forensic auditing.
The history of the Commission has been a  chequered one from the days of its predecessor which then was called Oil Mineral  Producing Areas Development  Commission (OMPADEC),which in itself was proscibeded over its failure to impact the region meaningfully.
Although apart from corruption and over inflation of contracts, OMPADEC did blame its own underperformance on underfunding while the NDDC has no such excuse and has never attempted to table any.
Records show that the Federal Government has always religiously funded NDDC since inception. If that is the case, why has the Commission failed?  The answer could only be the result of overt corruption and gross mismanagement.
 When compared with such similar bodies as the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA) which was saddled with the task of building Abuja from a virgin land, then the NDDC has failed beyond expectations.
The FCDA excellently built a brand new mega city that is today the pride of Nigeria.
But the NDDC seems to have jettisoned the lofty roadmap for the Niger Delta region which it was expected  should have turned into the most modern community in Nigeria.
Today experts on Niger Delta would agree that the Commission has no world class infrastructure to point to in the region.. Therefore the question arises about where all the billions of naira sunk into the Commission have gone. It is hoped that the proposed forensic auditing will bring out the answers.
Already, more revelations are coming out of the scale of corruption in the Commission. Recently, it came into the open that a phony contractor was being paid a monthly agent fee of one billion naira. It is widely believed the forensic auditing will unearth major fraud scandals.
 Also disturbing is the ongoing musical chairs in the attempt to repositioning of the Commission with the seeming tussle between the recently nominated governing board and the interim management committee.
Apparently, leadership has been one of the greatest problems of the Commission. Therefore there is need to put in a credible leadership to run the Commission, especially with the pending forensic auditing. Appointments into NDDC should therefore be devoid of politicking.
As the Federal Government prepares to reposition the NDDC, only men and women of proven integrity should be appointed to run its affairs.
Hopefully, new chapter in the history of the Commission should open after the auditing.
From being a hotbed of corruption, the NDDC should henceforth become a hothouse of ideas for the development of the region.
There is a lot the NDDC should learn from the FCDA in how to implement a roadmap. It should replicate the FCDA feat by building a new Niger Delta region that will wipe out the pains of the people.
Already the region has suffered many pains for simply producing the oil that turns the wheel of Nigeria. In fact, oil has become a curse to the people of the region. As UNDP puts it, oil has become a double-edged sword that  has led to agitation and militancy which in turn have left tens of hundreds dead in the region.
It is hoped that the forensic auditing will promptly be conducted to clean out the dirty past of the Commission and give it a new lease of life to serve the long suffering people of the Niger Delta region.

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