Niger Delta

Shocker: “NDDC Will Never Work”

By Substance Nature-Udoh




The recent bombshell by a Second Republic Lawmaker and former Board Member of the defunct Oil Mineral Areas Development Commission (OMPADEC), Dr. Junaid Mohammed, over the destiny and future of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) may have shocked many or confirmed the fears and reservations that many also have over the NDDC.

In an interview with Olayinka Ajayi of the Vanguard Newspaper, December 15, 2019, the fearless and prudent politician who condemned in strong terms the recent agitations for the creation of more regional commissions, stated that there was no hope for the survival of the NDDC in the way things were going in the country generally and in the Niger Delta region in particular.

Recall that for arguments that are still on the crucible, there have been vociferous calls of recent for the creation of regional developmental models for other geo-political zones of the country, namely South East Development Commission, South West Development Commissions, etc, initiatives that analysts are already puncturing as needless imitation of the NDDC. Of course, in existence already is the North East Development Commission (NEDC) which was created, as the argument goes, because of the damage that came with the devilry of the Boko Haram terrorism in the area.

However, Dr. Junaid Mohammed has argued that creation of such bodies shall amount to nothing positive because existing models like the NDDC is not working and will never work except there was a complete change in mentality, conception and application of ideas.

Given his experience on the OMPADEC board, Junaid insists that the present NDDC has no pragmatic policy objective and willpower to drive or translate its aims into reality. “There is no reason to create any commission. Even the Niger Delta Development, NDDC, where I worked when it was OMPADEC is not working and will never work”, he prognosticated.

For him, this seeming pessimism was rooted in the way things are handled in the NDDC since its formation in 2000. Dr, Junaid first tackles the leadership approach in the country, attitude to management of modalities, and politics as some of the greatest challenges the NDDC has faced ever since. “Most countries in the world were developed not necessarily by those living there or adversely affected by what is happening there. They were developed by people who have holistic view of development in all levels and all sectors”, the renowned Nigerian politician argues.

Lengthening the borders of his contention, he added: “I have argued that the NDDC should not be a matter of politics. Again, the belief in Nigeria is that development is driven by money. I have come to realize that you can give someone trillions of dollars and there would be no evidence of development, especially in key areas of development like health, education and social services. What has NDDC done with the trillions of monies it got? What I am saying is that the NDDC has done nothing for the people of the Niger Delta”.

It will be hard and fruitless to attempt with seriousness to fault Dr. Junaid in his assertions. Apart from the private billionaires it has produced and is producing, the existence of the NDDC since 2000 had got nothing tangible to show in any critical sector of growth and development in justification of the billions that has been invested in it by successive Nigerian administrations.

The exposition by the pioneer board member of OMPADEC, Dr. Junaid, that the NDDC stands a chance of going into extinction or forever remains a white elephant project like others before it should serve as a timely warning to especially the governors of the zone. Only time will nullify Junaid’s position.

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