A group known as Niger Delta Accountability for Progress (NDAP) has hailed the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Umana Okon Umana for living up to their promise to carry out palliative work on sections of the East-West road completely destroyed and rendered impassible by flood.
The NDAP observed that the immediate intervention by the NDDC to repair the road and facilitate movement was an indication that the new leadership of the commission led by the acting Managing Director, Emmanuel Audu-Ohwavborua meant business and understood the mandate of the commission as an interventionist agency.
The convener of the group, Charles Ogbado, recalled that the damaged road particularly dealt a deadly blow to Bayelsa State, which was cut off from its neighbours and led to a massive humanitarian crisis as no vehicle from either Delta or Rivers could access the state.
Ogbado further observed that the terrible condition of the road dislocated the entire Niger Delta and frustrated free-flow of commercial, social and cultural activities even after the flood.
He applauded the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Umana Okon Umana, for his firm, clear and transparent leadership, which he said had reflected in the positive change of attitude in NDDC.
He said: “We recalled that the acting managing Director of NDDC, Emmanuel Audu-Ohwavborua, led the Minister of the Niger Delta, Umana Okon Umana to the most impacted aspects of the road and they promised that remedial work would be done to open the road again.
“We all thought it was one of those fake promises. But almost immediately the palliative work was done and the East-West road bounced back again. This is a perfect demonstration that the acting managing director understands the mandate of the NDDC as an interventionist agency.
“We want to commend him for a job well done. Since he assumed office, our eyes have been on him and with the reforms and transformation he has so far carried out we can confess that the NDDC is gradually being refocused to meet the yearnings of the people of the Niger Delta.
“We are also impressed with the firm, clear and transparent leadership style of Minister Umana, whose directives and harmonious relationship with the new NDDC management has led to a positive change in attitude”.
Ogbado further commended the NDDC boss for paying all accumulated salary arrears owed to some category of workers and establishing a cordial relationship between employees and the management of the commission to allow a peaceful and cordial work environment.
He called on all stakeholders of the Niger Delta to support the acting managing director and patiently wait on him to fulfil other flood-related promises, especially the provision of relief materials to victims.
He said: “We know that the commission promised to provide relief materials to victims of the flood on the same day it promised to repair the damaged sections of the East-West road. Following the swift way the interim administrator repaired the road, we have no doubt that he will fulfil his promise of providing relief materials to victims.
“We understand that the process of procuring relief materials is ongoing. Therefore, there is no need for anybody or group of persons to besiege the NDDC head office in Port Harcourt demanding relief materials. The new interim administrator will surely provide them.”