Shell Energy Entrepreneurs banner Yudala banner
Ekere reworking NDDC to eliminate opaqueness

By News Express on 28/10/2017

Share on facebook Yahoo mail icon Gmail icon

Views: 638

•NDDC MD Nsima Ekere
•NDDC MD Nsima Ekere

Ekere reworking NDDC to eliminate opaqueness

Nsima Ekere, Managing Director of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), attacks the commission with a new vision and different strategy writes Achilleus-Chud Uchegbu

There is a feeling that actions so far taken by the Nsima Ekere-led management of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), will turn out to be the best so far in the effort to enthrone accountability and transparency in the management of the commission’s financials. It is also believed that the new measures would help streamline NDDC’s budgeting system and ensure accountability in project delivery.

Prior to Ekere’s appointment as managing director and chief executive officer, the commission, had in its 16 years of existence, been notorious for opaqueness. Many of its dealings had been shadowy, leaving the Niger Delta states reeling under the yoke of under-development and abandoned structures: the same problem it was set up to cure.

As oil-bearing communities, the Niger Delta states suffer high infrastructure deficit and huge environmental issues. Environmental questions hanging over the oil-bearing communities have remained unresolved, despite intervention efforts by past military regimes, including the Directorate for Food, Roads and Rural Infrastructure (DFRRI). The turn of events in 1999 brought to the front-burner again, the question of infrastructure development in the Niger Delta region. The need to address the question led to the establishment of the NDDC in 2000, by then President Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration, with specific mandate to include: Formulation of policies and guidelines for the development of the Niger Delta area; conception, planning and implementation – in accordance with set rules and regulations – of projects and programmes for sustainable development of the Niger Delta area in the field of transportation, including roads, jetties and waterways; health, employment, industrialisation, agriculture and fisheries, housing and urban development, water supply, electricity and telecommunications.

The mandate also include: Surveying the Niger Delta in order to ascertain measures necessary to promote its physical and socio-economic development; preparing master plans and schemes designed to promote the physical development of the Niger Delta region and the estimation of the member states of the commission; implementation of all the measures approved for the development of the Niger Delta region by the Federal Government and the states of the commission; identify factors inhibiting the development of the Niger Delta region and assisting the member-states in the formulation and implementation of policies to ensure sound and efficient management of the resources of the Niger Delta region; assessing and reporting on any project being funded or carried out in the region by oil and gas companies and any other company, including non-governmental organisations, as well as ensuring that funds released for such projects are properly utilised; tackling ecological and environmental problems that arise from the exploration of oil mineral in the Niger Delta region and advising the Federal Government and member-states on the prevention and control of oil spillages, gas-flaring and environmental pollution and; liaising with the various oil mineral and gas prospecting and producing companies on all matters of pollution, prevention and control.

To execute and achieve these core mandates, the NDDC has passed through several managements, which made efforts to lead change in the region. However, none of the managements took concrete steps to institutionalise transparency in the commission’s accounting system as Ekere is currently doing.

Since he assumed office, Ekere has not left anyone in doubt about his commitment to drive change in the commission and also impact positively on NDDC states. To this effect, Ekere has led management of the commission to sign some critical memoranda of understanding (MoUs), with some organisations, aimed at assisting the commission eliminate opaqueness, ensure judicious use of resources and benchmarking spending against projects. Organisations which had entered into such agreements with NDDC include BudgIT, Made Nigeria, and Oxford Policy Management Limited.

In the agreement with BudgIT, the organisation is to assist NDDC “to develop an online portal for the NDDC Open Budget System, effectively communicate the transparency initiatives of the NDDC, engage policy-makers, private sector actors and the general public about initiatives of NDDC,  encourage NDDC to take steps which will institutionalise proactive disclosure of public data and information, and partner with NDDC to develop and execute relevant engagement programme in the communities of the region.”

Restating NDDC’s “commitment to continuously engage with key stakeholders and partners towards the over-arching goal of the development of the people and the region of the Niger Delta” at the agreement signing, Ekere said also that with the MoU, the commission “aligns with the Federal Government in its membership of the open government partnership (OGP) and its commitments to ensure that government and its institutions make a strong commitment to: promote transparency and accountability; fight corruption and use new technologies to strengthen governance and empower citizens. The expected outcomes of this initiative are to ensure that not only is real change happening within the NDDC and in the Niger Delta region, but that this change is benefitting citizens.”

He noted that the “initiative with BudgIT serves as a unique platform for public governance transparency reforms and illustrates our determination and readiness for openness in our operations. It is also a framework of much needed change, and will help the NDDC and its stakeholders decide what is most relevant in their regional contexts, thereby leading to the successive tackling of a diversity of issues and a multiplicity of approaches taken.”

He added: “Our preference for collaboration with BudgIT is well thought out, having noted BudgIT’s extensive work in redefining participatory government, based on the notion that in a democracy, every citizen has the right to know how their taxes are expended in the delivery of public infrastructure and services.”

He told Niger Deltans and all NDDC stakeholders that “key objectives and advantages of our collaboration with BudgIT are highlighted in these areas: Improvement to reporting, strengthen accountability, improvements to prioritisation of projects and budgeting, improving transparency, disciplined spending, provide support for project monitoring and evaluation, engender stakeholder-engagement and generally promote value for money. These are areas that are crucial to the core mandate of the commission, which is to facilitate rapid and sustainable development of the Niger Delta region.”

He continued: “Beyond the deliverables outlined in the MoU, we at the NDDC hope that this collaboration with BudgIT will, among other things, result in assisting management focus efforts and resources on social outcomes that really matter to the people of the Niger Delta. We hope to build a strong and broad-based transformative system that serves to provide citizens with more information about how NDDC functions and, thereby, enable them to be more informed and engaged and better able to hold NDDC to account. By this initiative, we hope to send a strong and clear message to the people of the Niger Delta, Nigerians at large and the international community, that we at the NDDC are committed to doing the right thing regarding good governance.”

Clearly, NDDC intends to rework, and instill a transparent budgeting and accounting system such that projects financing would be streamlined, and available resources tailored to need. This will eliminate such situations where projects are abandoned, as well as ensure that NDDC gets value for money. This is a task that Mr Ekere has placed before himself, with the active support of the commission’s board. This shows how effectively Ekere is driving change at the commission.

Ekere’s desire to have a more effective commission also inspired his decision to equally sign another MoU with Made Nigeria, which is intended to help strengthen the commission for strategic pursuit and achievement of its core mandates. According to Ekere, “Made will work with the NDDC to boost our efforts at stimulating sustainable, pro-poor growth in selected agricultural and other input markets, and improving the position of economically active but disadvantaged men and women in these markets, by making them more inclusive.”

Ekere said that “in so doing, the NDDC will enhance its delivery, anchored on the five focus areas of, but more particularly in, regional development and integration; human capital development and youth engagement; and developing the non-oil sector by attracting new industries.”

These, no doubt, are focused areas of need that would help address nagging issues that had held back development of the Niger Delta region, and also push for the diversification of the Nigerian economy away from oil.

The MD/CEO stressed that the agreement became imperative, “against the background of the fact that the need to diversify the nation’s economy in general and that of the Niger Delta in particular has never been more imperative than now. Economic diversification is vital to Niger Delta region’s long-term economic growth and we, at the NDDC, align ourselves with any initiative that seeks to advance this cause. For this reason, agriculture and other factor markets must be given much needed attention, in order to exploit latent opportunities that can result in the creation of vast number of jobs and the consequent employment Niger Deltans in their teeming millions.”

He said that “government’s partnership with the private sector in the non-oil sector, especially agriculture, and the fostering of an environment that promotes innovation, encourages creativity, attracts investments and engenders technological advancements will serve as the fulcrum upon which the economic and social advancement of the Niger Delta region can be driven.”

Mr Ekere’s management focus is to “build a strong and broad-based support network for the expansion of the economy of the Niger Delta and promote an economy that is healthy, flexible, not tied to a single industry or market sector, but contains a mix of small, medium, and large businesses”. For him, the effort will “send a strong and clear message to the people of the Niger Delta, Nigerians at large, and the international community that we at the NDDC are committed to doing the right thing regarding good governance.”

In leading change at NDDC and “doing the right thing”, Ekere is re-engineering the commission and Niger Delta states through a new era of development economics that will redefine the landscape of the region, and also change the narrative of profligacy and waste. For this reason, he taps into the expertise of Oxford Policy Management Limited (OPML), which is the implementers of Facility for Oil Sector Transparency and Reform (FOSTER) in Nigeria, a DFID-funded project, which will “provide support services to NDDC in order to achieve the desired objective.”

With FOSTER, the NDDC boss hopes to achieve support needs that fall within the OPML’s mandate; improvements to reporting, support on the production of the quarterly report to ensure all salient information is incorporated in any easily understandable manner; improvements related to project selection and budgeting, strengthen transparency and control spending. This became necessary, as “there needs to be an overhaul of the agency’s internal systems and process, particularly in relation to budget creation, contracting, and implementation.”

The latter has been a challenge to the NDDC system. However, the FOSTER agreement will further ensure technical support towards the development of a comprehensive monitoring and evaluation framework that tracks projects, from the awarding of contracts to implementation and then finally their impact, as well as enhance technical support towards the development of a communications strategy to ensure the agency is constantly engaging with people in the region. This will help generate feed-back for decision on project implementation.

For people of the NDDC states, the gains of these efforts may not be immediately seen. But the succeeding years will be proof that the change Mr Ekere is leading at the commission is for their good. This change is devoid of rhetoric and propaganda. It is rather one that aims at delivering on core mandates, and radically affecting the Niger Delta space positively. The story of NDDC promises never to be the same again, after Ekere’s touch.

•Achilleus-Chud Uchegbu is Editor, The Union Newspapers, Ikeja, Lagos. He can be reached via 234-8023030366, 09092007000; achilleus.uchegbu@gmail.com, achilleusuchegbu@yahoo.com

Source News Express

Posted 28/10/2017 2:37:05 PM

 

Share on facebook Yahoo mail icon Gmail icon


 

CLASSIFIED ADS

Let us build the most comprehensive online database of worthy and credible Nigerians from all walks of life. It is worth doing!

Loss Off Your Belly Fats, Upper Arm Fat and Body Fats In 2weeks Time.. Click HERE To Start Now!

 

You may also like...
Weststar organises Service Camp in Abuja for Mercedes-Benz...

Saraki frowns at SaharaReporters’ story, says it is...

Hurricane Jonathan blows away Aviation Ministry parastatal CEOs...

Notorious top Boko Haram commander killed in encounter...

Breaking News: Newswatch Editors regroup, float new magazine...

DSS again fails to bring Ifeanyi Ubah to...

Kaduna massacre, a declaration of Jihad by the...

Bodies of 74 migrants wash up on Libya...

News Express is the widest circulating online paper...

Fall of Sambisa: Buratai salutes gallant troops

Nigeria’s fastest man in top form for 2016...

Amaechi abolishes discriminatory school fees in Rivers •He’s...

 

Latest News 16 states ready for cattle colonies, more on the queue — FG Army sets up cattle ranches across the country South East APC leaders reject Okorocha Concerned Nigerians drag Buhari to court, want NIA’s new DG sacked 300 give birth in IDP camp Police captures kidnapper of Americans, Canadians in Kaduna Goal feast in EPL as Arsenal, Chelsea win, United close in on City Buhari crowns Obasanjo ‘Father of Open and Distance Education in Nigeria’ Dickson advocates more support for education •Hails OBJ for NOUN PhD feat Cameroonian refugees flood Nigeria Ambode declares war on refuse, vows to clean up Lagos NiMet predicts sunny, hazy, mist/fog, cloudy skies on Sunday

 

Most Read Nigerian female sex addict opens up, says ‘I like it with both men and women’ (315,872 views) NUDE PHOTO OF OMOTOLA JALADE-EKEINDE surfaces online (306,061 views) Shameless Genevieve Nnaji exposes breasts in public (245,309 views) Finally named: The full list of friends of Nigerian female sex addict who prowled Facebook (201,644 views) Igbo scholar disgraces Femi Fani-Kayode •Demolishes claims on Igbo/Yoruba history with facts and figures (190,261 views) OLUMBA OLUMBA OBU (the one who called himself God) IS DEAD (179,634 views) Breaking News: POPULAR REVEREND CONVERTS TO ISLAM in Kaduna (Nigeria) (155,735 views) OBJ’s son reported dead in Lagos plane crash •Names of more victims emerge (140,068 views) THE FINAL DISGRACE: Igbo scholar unleashes more facts about Igbo/Yoruba history, finishes off Femi Fani-Kayode with second article (136,165 views) Lagos plane crash: Journalist releases victims’ names (124,649 views) My wasted years in Olumba Olumba Obu’s Evil Brotherhood (121,922 views) Gunmen kill ASP, 2 other police officers in vain bid to kidnap Rivers PDP chieftain (119,061 views)

 

Categories Advertorials (3) African Press Organisation (81) Art & Literature (33) Business (2,854) Business Verdict (32) Columnists (792) Complaints & Requests (94) Enterprise & Opportunities (200) Entertainment (431) Features (541) Global Business Monitor (222) International (1,749) Interviews (139) Live Commentary (28) Love Matters (100) News (32,044) Opinion (868) Pidgin (10) Politics (4,362) Religion (666) Sports (1,408) Stock Watch (26) AMA & Al Jazeera Global Update

 

CBN Banner advert

CBN Words on marble

 

 

Thierry Henry in Lagos Nigeria

 

APO Group Partner

 

CLASSIFIED ADS

Loss Off Your Belly Fats, Upper Arm Fat and Body Fats In 2weeks Time.. Click HERE To Start Now!

Let us build the most comprehensive online database of worthy and credible Nigerians from all walks of life. It is worth doing!

GOCOP Accredited Member

GOCOP Accredited member

 

 

Africa Media Agency and Al Jazeera

Advertisement



 

 

CLASSIFIED ADS

Let us build the most comprehensive online database of worthy and credible Nigerians from all walks of life. It is worth doing!

Loss Off Your Belly Fats, Upper Arm Fat and Body Fats In 2weeks Time.. Click HERE To Start Now!