NDDC Projects: A Time to Reap

[ Masterweb Reports ]Where is Father Mark? The question was directed at no one in particular. One of his parishioners, Mr Ugochukwu Obute, was only trying to be sure that their spiritual father was present at the official commissioning ceremony of their neighbourhood internal roads. Obute, who is the chairman of town one in the Federal Housing Estate, New Owerri, wanted to be sure that the Reverend Father was present, ostensibly to help clear some doubts and misinformation among the residents of the urban community.


It turned out that some government agencies had been laying claims to building their roads. The roads were so well done that some politicians saw it as a means of boosting their chances of electoral conquest. Curiously, those trying to take credit for the good roads did not mind that a project sign post boldly proclaimed that the contract was awarded by the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC.


So, when Rev. Dr Mark Njoku, the Parish Priest of St Mark’s Catholic Church, had the opportunity to speak, he said he was relieved that they had confirmed the true identity of the agency that brought them succour. “At last, we now know who to thank for giving us a solid and smooth network of roads. We are certainly going to offer specials prayers for the NDDC for literally making our roads straight and smooth.” he said.


For Engr. Emeka Nwachukwu, one of the leaders in the estate, “this is the dividend of democracy that we can see and feel.” He said that a good job always speaks for itself, noting that the NDDC deserves kudos for paying attention to quality. Indeed, the three-kilometre road seemed to confer the status of Government Reservation Area [GRA] on the estate.


The neighbouring Federal Housing Estate, also in the New Owerri area of the state capital, equally celebrated the inauguration of its own internal roads built by the NDDC. The chairman of that section of the estate, Engr. Jerry Ugwuoke, commended the fact that the asphalt was laid on stone base. ‘That is as good as it gets in road construction,” he said.


The high standard exhibited on these roads, more or less set the tone for many other projects commissioned within the same period by the NDDC in Imo and Rivers states. While 6 have been inaugurated so far in Imo State, it was a rosier picture in Rivers State, where 46 completed projects were handed over to the benefitting communities. The projects include roads, solar-powered water, classroom blocks, cottage comprehensive health centres and rural electrification.


It was celebration galore as the people sang and danced to express their joy and appreciation for the amenities the NDDC had provided for them. The people of Mbaoma in Owerri North Local Government Area of Imo State were particularly joyful. Their happiness came from the portable water which they are now drinking, courtesy of the 20,000 gallon solar-powered water scheme built by the commission.. Their school children danced; their women danced and their men cheered. Even NDDC officials joined in the dancing.


The dancing continued in Akeme community in Arondizogu, Ideato North Local Government Area. They also had cause to rejoice as the Ejizie-Izuogu Road was handed over to them by the NDDC. Eze Dr Mike Nwosu, the traditional ruler of Akeme in Arondizogu, said that his people had seen the good works of the NDDC and could testify that the commission does not compromise on standards. “Our prayer is that the road will pave the way to a flourishing relationship that will benefit my people,” he said.


Eze Nwosu said he had many good things to say to the NDDC but he was constrained to limit his comments to Igbo language because of a new directive from Chief Rochas Okorocha, the Imo State Governor. According to him, there is a new order that no traditional ruler in the state should speak English in any public event. He said the directive was meant to save the Igbo language from extinction.


Barr. Peter Ezeobi, the representative of Imo State on the board of the NDDC, told the people that the commission was determined to make its presence felt in all parts of the Niger Delta as quickly as possible. He assured them that as an interventionist agency, the NDDC was determined to take development to all nooks and crannies of the region.


Ezeobi, who performed the commissioning ceremony on behalf of the Managing Director of the NDDC, Dr Christian Oboh, assured the people that the amenities being provided for them would endure for a long time because the commission was known for high quality jobs. “We don’t believe in half measures and indeed, excellence is our hallmark,” he said.


The interventionist agency had earlier commissioned a three-kilometre road, with drainages for a high-brow neighbourhood in Aladinma estate of Owerri North Local Government. At that event Mrs Osato Arenyika, the NDDC director in the Owerri office, said that from now on, all completed projects of the interventionist agency would be commissioned to show the world how well it has performed. “In the past, we had taken it for granted that our projects will speak for us, but it has become necessary to also show the people what we are doing,” she said.


Arenyika charged the Saint Andrew’s Neighbourhood Association [SANA], the body coordinating the affairs of the estate, to maintain the road, as well as the street lights and the transformer also provided by the NDDC.


Engr. Michael Nwachukwu, chairman of the SANA neighbourhood, said that the NDDC has added a lot of value to the lives of the people in the area. “You have made us the envy of the town, our neighbourhood has become the prime place to live in this town, with durable roads built for us, the transformer you gave us and recently the solar street lights,” he said.


In Rivers State, it was truly a bounteous harvest of projects. In a three-day swing across the state, 46 projects were inaugurated with fanfare by the representative of Rivers State on the Board of the NDDC, Professor Ibitamuno Aminigo and the Director in the State office, Dr [Mrs] Enyia Akwagaga, on behalf of Dr. Oboh, the Managing Director of the commission.


At George-Ama in Okrika Local Government Area, the home town of Chief Rufus Ada-George, the former Governor of Rivers State, the feeling of satisfaction was palpable. The welcoming smiles were all that was needed to demonstrate that the people were satisfied with the internal roads which the NDDC built for them.


Prof Aminigo expressed delight at the quality of job done on the road. “It is a thing of joy for me because I know the value of this project to this community. The benefits are enormous for the fishermen who can now very easily access the markets with their daily takes,” he said. Aminigo said the board and management of the commission were working in consonance with the transformation agenda of President Goodluck Jonathan, with special emphasis on increasing the tempo of infrastructure development in the oil-producing region. He stated that the NDDC would henceforth commission all its completed projects to erase the wrong impression that it was not living up to expectations as an interventionist agency.


A community leader in George-Ama, Mr.James Kalipa thanked the NDDC for the road project, describing it as a sign of good things to come in the community. “We say a big thank you to the NDDC for touching the lives of our people. We expect more projects in the future.” The NDDC Director heading the Rivers State office, Dr Akwagaga said that the commission would continue to intervene in the areas of critical need for the people of the region. She urged communities where projects were commissioned to jealously guard them for the benefit of their people.


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