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Niger Delta summit: strategy to realise Renewed Hope agenda – NDDC boss

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The Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Dr Samuel Ogbuku, says that the Niger Delta Stakeholders Summit, slated for 10-13 July 2024, will help to build synergy for the sustainable development of the Niger Delta region.

Speaking during an interview with newsmen at the NDDC’s headquarters in Port Harcourt, the NDDC Managing Director, Dr. Samuel Ogbuku, stressed the importance of engaging stakeholders to come up with strategies for economic growth and development in the Niger Delta region.

The NDDC Chief Executive Officer remarked that stakeholders’ engagement was one of the cardinal points in the Renewed Hope Agenda of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s administration.

He declared: “The importance of stakeholders engagement is to ensure that projects and activities of government are well understood by the people to create room for synergy.

“Mr. President cannot be talking about Renewed Hope Agenda and his plans for the people of the region without giving the people opportunities for conversations to discuss the plans for them to make inputs where necessary.

“The plans for renewed hope have to be tailor-made. Hence, the people must participate in the process. Moreover, the democracy we are practising today is a participatory democracy where you must bring the leadership and followers together for proper understanding of policies and programmes.

“Renewed hope means touching lives. This government is out to touch lives. Bringing the people under one roof in the Niger Delta is to let them know what the renewed hope for sustainable development is all about and how beneficial it is for the region.

“The whole idea is to ensure the people of the region key into the renewed hope for sustainable development, support programmes and activities of government, so that we as a region can benefit immensely from the government”.

Ogbuku noted that President Tinubu had charged the NDDC to complete and commission signature projects that would impact the lives of Niger Deltans. Following this directive, he said, the Commission recently inaugurated five flagship projects, covering roads, bridges and electricity, across the region.

He listed the projects as follows: “The 9km Obehie-Oke-Ikpe road in Ukwa West LGA, Abia State; the 25.7 kilometre Ogbia -Nembe Road in Bayelsa State; the 1×15MVA 33/11KV electricity injection substation in Amufi, Ikpoba-Okha Local Government Area in Benin City, Edo State; the 45km double-circuit 33KV feeder line from Omotosho Power Station to Okitipupa, Ondo State and the NDDC 6km Iko-Atabrikang-Akata-Opulom-Ikot Inwang-Okoroutip-Iwochang Road and 600m Ibeno Bridge in Ibeno LGA, Akwa Ibom State.

Also speaking on the upcoming Niger Delta Stakeholders Summit, the Chairman of the Niger Delta Chambers of Industry, Trade, Mines and Agriculture (NDCCITMA), Chief Idaere Gogo Ogan, stated that it had become imperative to have a strategic conversation on the roadmap for the Niger Delta region.

He noted: “The Niger Delta region, by way of economic size, combines to about 51 trillion naira today. If you put it on a comparative level, we are actually bigger than Africa’s seventh-largest economy, Lagos by almost 10 trillion naira. It gives you the picture and the reason a conversation must take place.

“Having this sort of conversation will help us to build a road map for economic development by highlighting the priority areas where the government is meant to invest for the socio-economic transformation of the Niger Delta region.

“We need to discuss youth unemployment and ways to scale up our natural endowments and resources. How do we monetize our gas reserves? How do we transit from gas to power? Industrialization of Nigeria can actually take place in the Niger Delta because we have the gas, which we can convert to power”.

Ogan said that discussions must take place “as development does not come from one man’s idea. It has to go through a series of plans and strategies. Of course, no matter the best plan you have, if you do not have a well-thought-out execution plan, progress will never be made”.

He commended the NDDC for organising the Stakeholders Summit, which would provide a platform for stakeholders to comprehensively evaluate our strengths and agree on strategies to be adopted.

Ogan stressed: “Development should not be haphazard or subject to the interest of one man. It should be comprehensive and holistic with a strategic outlook. Any policy that is not evidence-based cannot deliver the development needs of our people. I am elated and I look forward to being part of the discussions that will take place. Hopefully, we will develop a regional masterplan that will usher in the much-needed prosperity for our people”.

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