President Tinubu’s First Anniversary in Office and Signals from NDDC

President Tinubu’s First Anniversary

By Jerome-Mario Utomi

History has it that during World War 1, a particular American Psychologist eager to contribute to war efforts adapted Binet’s intelligence test for the US Army as an inexpensive way to differentiate among large numbers of recruits.  This was reportedly the first large-scale use of intelligence testing on a group of adults, and it suggested that this school-based test could predict performance in nonacademic situations.

This account recently came flooding while ruminating on efforts of the present Federal Government to chart a course and pilot the holistic development plan of the nation, and the Niger Delta region in particular.

Without a doubt, it will be convenient for many to argue that Nigeria is not at war; that what the country is celebrating is Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s led Federal Government one year in office, which is miles different from the referenced American situation and, therefore, calls for no such critical test or analysis.

Well, the above argument, beautiful as it sounds, may not, in the opinion of this piece, hold water when faced with embarrassing facts. For me, periodic employment of systematic assessment to situate the merit, worth and significance of an administration, via a criteria governed by a set of standards is not only apt but eminently desirable. Objective assessment is globally likened to a pendulum which swings in any direction.

With these points highlighted, the piece will focus on its core concern-which is the recent signals from the Niger Delta region.

For a better understanding of where the piece is headed, the Niger Delta region belongs to the geographical locations that have over the years suffered infrastructural shortage, environmental devastation and protracted socioeconomic failures.  The region is not also insulated from scenarios and practices where successive administrations formulate and apply policies based on the situation of the prevailing economy and its effects on the people; where most of the policies in the past began on a promising note but regrettably ended up doing more harm to Nigeria and Nigerians.

However, to carry out an enquiry into how the present government has contributed to the development of the region, it is pertinent to begin by examining, and reviewing different initiatives and policies recently made by the Niger Delta Development Commission, an agency under the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, charged with responsibility of facilitating the rapid and sustainable development of the Niger Delta into a region that is economically prosperous, socially stable, ecologically regenerative and politically peaceful.

All available data shows that the most profound decision by Mr President to have the region developed was visibly signposted in his early constitution of the agency’s board and management.

Aside from the fact that the board and management as constituted were filled with young but well-foresighted Nigerians, another observation by our mind’s eyes is that the agency’s leadership within this short period under review have sufficiently removed the veil of doubt and convinced Niger Deltans. critical stakeholders and of course the international community that NDDC is no longer an agency that only exists in frames but has graduated from ‘transaction to transformation’.

As noted in a previous but similar piece, it is not as if past administrations in the country did not, at different times and places make efforts to address the region’s challenges. But noble as those efforts were, considering the level of underdevelopment in the region, such effort appeared too insignificant and short of what is required to care for the region’s development and more particularly, remains a far cry from what was needed to exorcise the ghost of youth unemployment in the region. This ugly narrative persisted in the face of concerns raised by the global community who were chiefly not convinced that what now rested administrations were doing was the best way to solve the problem of the region.

More specifically, it is equally important to underline that it has not been easy for the present leadership to stop the region from going through all pangs associated with rebirth to enthrone true development in which all Niger Deltans will sustainably enjoy modern infrastructure and a healthy environment.

But there is an exception here, as there will always be an exception!

Unlike the past experiences, the present NDDC’s board and management, ably backed by the Presidency and the Niger Delta ministry, have, in the last few months of its existence, crafted people-friendly projects, programmes and initiatives which include, namely; Building Partnerships, Lighting Up the Niger Delta region, Sustainable Livelihood, Improved Youth Capacity and Skills Base, Efficient and cost-effective projects,  Project Hope for Renewed Hope, Carbon Emission Reduction, Stakeholder Engagement, Effective and Professional Workforce, Improved Peace and Security among others.

The above action/step has not only made a whole world of difference but partially explains why stakeholders are happy and the region peaceful.

Again, aside from the fact that the new governing board and management have to their credit, a well-established healthy relationship with critical stakeholders within the region and beyond, also worth underlining and of course, a lesson other agencies and Commissions must imbibe, is the frantic efforts to put the Niger Delta region in order via human-friendly programmes such as; youth empowerment, human capital development and democratized infrastructural provisions.

Worthy of mention are the recently commissioned ‘big tickets projects executed by the NDDC; The N8.3 billion 132kv transmission line and a 132kv/33kv sub-station in Ondo communities after 15 years without electricity.; the 27.35km Ogbia-Nembe road in Bayelsa State, a joint project of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and Shell Nigeria Exploration Company,  which features 7 bridges, connects 14 communities in both the Ogbia and Nembe Local Government Areas. The award of scholarships to 200 successful candidates from the region to pursue Master’s Degrees overseas, a programme which of course is an important component of the agency’s human capital development that seeks to use education to change the fortunes of the region, among others.

Very key, NDDC’s solutions to youth unemployment and development of a climate for a sustainable future and innovation will assist promote the critical thrust of governance and maximize the benefits citizens derive from governance.

Talking about youth unemployment in Nigeria, a report recently captured it thus: “We are in dire straits because unemployment has diverse implications. Security-wise, a large unemployed youth population is a threat to the security of the few that are employed. Any transformation agenda that does not have job creation at the centre of its programme will take us nowhere”.

Finally, as the nation celebrates, it is equally an open secret that randomly, it has not been an easy road for Nigerians. It has been a rough and tumble ride, yet Nigeria and Nigerians are marching forward.  What this tells us as a people is that The President should graciously redouble his efforts in saving the economy and life chances of Nigerians!

God bless Nigeria!

Jerome-Mario Utomi is the Programme Coordinator (Media and Public Policy) for Social And Economic Justice Advocacy (SEJA) a Lagos-based Non-Governmental Organization (NGO). He can be reached via [email protected] or 08032725374.

Leave a Reply

Bola Tinubu 2027 presidential election
Previous Story

Tinubu’s Tightrope: Assessing Nigeria’s Economy After One Year In Office

LG autonomy
Next Story

LG Autonomy: Supreme Court Gives States Seven Days to File Defence

Latest from Feature/OPED

Revitalizing Nigeria’s Economy

Revitalizing Nigeria’s Economy

By Kenechukwu Aguolu Once hailed as the “Giant of Africa” for its abundant resources and economic potential, Nigeria now faces numerous economic challenges. The
Nigeria's Civil Service

Transforming Nigeria’s Civil Service

By Kenechukwu Aguolu The civil service serves as the foundation of governance in any nation, entrusted with pivotal functions such as policy formulation, implementation,

Don't Miss