Niger Delta: Another “Action –Plan” Or Excuse For Inaction? By Ifeanyi Izeze

By Ifeanyi Izeze

Is it true that the Ministry of Niger Delta is gathering another bunch of people: “The Niger Delta Council for stakeholders”, to be commissioned in Uyo, Akwa Ibom state on the 25th of April to fashion its own “Action Plan” for the development of the region? It’s better to believe that this is not true because if it is, then the problem that caused the setback suffered by the region is more serious than we see on the surface.

According to a press statement signed by the Minister, Godsday Orubebe, “The Niger Delta council for stakeholders is expected to discuss and deliberate on issues that affect the region and also proffer possible solutions. The proposed Niger Delta “Action Plan” is expected to act as the Developmental Framework in achieving the aspirations of the people in collaboration with development partners which include the UNDP, European Union, governments of the nine states of the Niger Delta and other local partners.”

Is it not pathetic that there are only two major federal government roads to addressing the infrastructural and human development deficit issues that gave rise to the militant uprising in the Niger Delta region? These roads run through the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and the Ministry of Niger Delta. And unfortunately for the ordinary people of the region, these two roads themselves are in a state of parlous disrepair caused by deliberate misplacement of priorities, massive corruption, and deliberate lack of feelings of the sufferings of the real people of the region.

Why are we going ahead to develop another blueprint for the region? What happened to the NDDC’s Niger Delta Development Master Plan where hundreds of millions of Dollars was spent to produce?  Was the master plan not supposed to be an all time clear-enough work plan for short, medium and long term development activities in the region?

What is this new Niger Delta stakeholders’ council going to do that has not been done before and put in documents filed away in offices in Abuja?  Do we need “wise men from the east” to tell us that the East-West Road has remained a sore feature of the Jonathan administration? Do we need a Hausa/Fulani man to tell us that riverine communities need well –engineered jetties and world-class or even Nigerian class water transport systems with modern boats to replace our canoes? Do we need this proposed council of witches and wizards to tell us that instead of sinking monies constructing roads to link riverine communities, we should rather make water/marine transport as enviable as ABC Transport luxurious buses on our roads? Is this not another avenue for another crop of people to enrich themselves at the expense of all of us in the name of planning for the region? How come we keep repeating the same mistakes over and over all the time? Now na we de do ourselves o! We go fit still complain tomorrow?

Development issues in the Niger Delta have always been put in master-plans upon master-plans since the pre-independence era and yet no single one has ever been implemented anywhere in the region. Do we need a summit to build water-friendly low cost housing estates with basic facilities in our marshy riverine communities? If we are honest with ourselves, we can do these things with a very small fraction of the money that comes to the region through different avenues. Are we not tired of action plans that never show any action in our traditional communities?

If our perverse politicians understand that the decision by the federal executive to create a ministry for the Niger-Delta, as they claim, was to empower it to help in the infrastructural development of the area in addition to, not as a replacement for, what the NDDC is doing, how does this translate into the current “iron curtain” relationship between the two agencies meant to work for the interest of the same area of the same people?

So do we just allow the 15-year period of the NDDC master plan to run out with tangible development impact on the Niger Delta because we want to continue to plan until the end of the world? If the master plan does not already exist, this new initiative from the Ministry may have been tolerated. But the existing master plan has in a lay man’s language what needed to be done in every development sector across the region in short, medium and long term with clear cut assigned responsibilities to the local, state and federal governments and even the oil companies. So what stops the ministry from extracting as its roadmap the aspect of the NDDC master plan the federal government is expected to implement?

Is it not pathetic that there is no iota of correlation between the NDDC and the Niger Delta Ministry? Under this setting how do you expect effective utilisation of the available funds for developmental projects in the region?

The minister had some time ago publicly lamented that “If you go and attend a meeting anywhere in the world, people are talking to you about the NDDC, people are talking to you about development and as a minister, you have little or no information about what the NDDC is doing; does that present any meaningful reasoning? A minister of the Niger Delta should be able to tell development partners and whoever that is concerned what is being done by the NDDC. But today, there is no correlation.”

The Act setting up the NDDC clearly puts the supervision of the commission directly under the President. Note, not under the Presidency. This means that there are no obstructive go-between for the commission and the President to ensure expeditious implementation of decisions. The framers of the law were conscious of the fact that the interventionist agency must be freed of all the encumbrances of ministries which are usually weighed down by bureaucratic red tape.

Part II, Section 7 of the Niger Delta Development Commission (Establishment) Act 2000 states that: “The Commission shall be subject to the direction, control or supervision in the performance of its functions under this Act by the President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

Now that there is an urgent work to be done and luckily, the president happens to come from the troubled area, one would have expected the president to act as an interface between these two Niger Delta agencies that are at war with each other. The lack of coordination or rather the deliberate refusal by the ministry and the commission to cooperate is tied to arrogance, selfishness and corruption-driven supremacy tussle going on in the two establishments.

This is the truth.
 

IFEANYI IZEZE is an Abuja-based Consultant and can be reached on: iizeze@yahoo.com

Comments
11 comment(s)
Post a comment

WAHALA and his Akpu headed

WAHALA and his Akpu headed brother, chief Ezeze of Amaechi HOUSE of pitakwa are here again-to express their Igbo sentiments-NDDC is a terrible mistake! When the militants were in the creek fighting to right the wrongs done to the region since 1914-the Ibos did not take up arms to support them for one day-But as soon as NNDC was created, the Ibos claimed they are also part of the oil producing enclaves in the SS-So d parasites from d SE, had to force their way into the board of NNDC! That is why NDDC cannot function properly. Same as when boro fought his way through the 4 walls of the university of Nsukka-cause he was not even allowed to contest post of president of the University senate-Simply because he was Ijaw-so had to ask d courts 2 help determine whether Odi was not part of the then eastern region-or not--happily the courts helped to untie d bonds of slavery imposed on him by Zik-Now here again with NDDC palaba abi?. Anoda Igbo hater ko?

Oshiomole

Please count Oshiomole out of that band of never do wells. Oshiomole has made a statement with his actions in Edo state ask the PDP what Edo people did to them in the polls.Opus, please know that as for Edo people, one Oshiomole is better that 200 million governors do nothing but steal that have been there under the Umbrella or umbrera...make your choice or choose. Not everybody in the Niger Delta is a yeye person like you think

Long Live the Republic of SS indeed !

Long Live the Republic of SS indeed ! Where is that moron ?

Yaradua, OBJ and others did more for the Ijaws that the clueless Otuoke misfit. And instead of the other shoeless he left at the creek to demand he does his job diligently, those of them who managed to get laptop from the amnesty programme would rather threaten us (GEJ's online critics) with violence. Bunch of misfits defending a Chief Misfit !

You asked them how the SS has fared better under the Clown One compared with other past looters; they would tell you he didn't start corruption so he ought to turn it into a culture ? They can have the animal back at the Otuoke zoo in 2015 and goodluck !

d bonds of slavery will remain until SS secedes quietly

WAHALA and his Akpu headed brother, chief Ezeze of Amaechi HOUSE of pitakwa are again-to express their Igbo sentiments-NDDC is a terrible mistake! When the militants were in the creek fighting to right the wrongs done to the region since 1914-the Ibos did not take up arms to support them for one day-But as soon as NNDC was created, the Ibos claimed they were also part of the oil producing enclaves in the SS-So d parasites had to force their way into the board of NNDC! That is why NDDC cannot function properly. Same as when boro fought his way through the 4 walls of the university of Nsukka-cause he not even allowed to contest for the post of president of the University student union-because he was Ijaw--so had to ask d courts 2 tell him if Odi was not part of the then eastern region-happily the courts helped to untie d bonds of slavery imposed on him by the eastern regional -Now here again with NDDC palaba? Igbo hater abi?

No Use Watering Stones

The laziest bunch of humanity are these Naija Delta clowns. Without the Yorubas and Ibos among them, they would still be eating human flesh. Anyone who has goes to the S'South will shed tears at the sight of our bread basket. Their leaders steal their resources and buy mansions in Abuja. Bayelsa State has only ONE functional medical center. No clean drinking water anywhere in the SS, yet, they have all these agencies for stealing money. The Ijaw are the most wicked set of greedy thugs on earth, absolutely hopeless. The only reason the agencies are not cooperating with each other is because thieves don't trust each other! The East-West Road remains the benchmark in assessing their tenure at the helm. Drunkards!

This Niger Delta people are

This Niger Delta people are not even serious with themselves how then do they want the rest of Nigerians to take them serious. If they like, let them not uplift the standard of infrastructure and life in their region. They should wait for someone from outside the area to come and do it. And Jonathan is saying he wants to return in 2015, it's crazy.

Timi Alaibe should be tried

Timi Alaibe should be tried and sentence for the massive fraud he presided over at the NDDC particularly this Master Plan thing. We know that even at that, Jonathan would still pardon him as he did to D. S. P. Alamiesegha

What can Orubebe point at as

What can Orubebe point at as his convincing achievement since he was appointed the minister of Niger Delta? Nothing and I mean nothing! The man is more interested in harrassing and intimidating Uduaghan because he wants to be governor after Uduaghan. He is banking and lavishing the ministry's resources on servicing Edwin Clark and sponsoring evil acts for Jonathan with the hope that they will endorse him to be the next governor of Delta state. Na God dey give power o!

Let them sit down wait for a

Let them sit down wait for a hausa/fulani man to come as president in 2015 to develop the area for them when they have been in charge for all this time without a single tangible thing to show for it. The president, the NDDC people and Orubebe should bury their heads in shame over the parlous state of the East-West Road.

It is very pathetic indeed

It is very pathetic indeed that there is no iota of correlation between the NDDC and the Niger Delta Ministry. it all boils down to curruption becasue as said by the writer, under this setting, how do you expect effective utilisation of the huge funds for developmental projects in the region?

That's what you have where

That's what you have where thieves rule. The entire Niger Delta is full of absurdities. Akpabio is there in Akwa Ibom using state resources to do stupid things as if he did not learn a single lesson from how Odili crashed. Amaechi is there behaving as if he is a warlord. In Bayelsa one finds it difficult to differentiate the governor from a rural fisherman in terms of articulation of what governance entails. Uduaghan is busy making plans and maybe service patronages so that he doesn't go to meet his uncle, Ibori by 2015. There is no difference between Oshiomole and the chairman of Road Transport Union, Ikpoba Hill branch, though he seems to be the only one close to the people of his state. So who ould you count in Niger Delta as governor? Yeye people