Note: Worth the a read – very interesting piece on the NDDC
4 November 2011
PASTOR Power Ziakede Aginighan rose through the ranks in the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC. He was the only staff of the Commission that had so far served as Acting Executive Director Finance and Administration, Acting Managing/Chief Executive Officer and later substantive Executive Director Finance and Administration.
In this interview, he looks at the proposal to merge the NDDC with the Niger Delta Ministry, the ongoing amnesty programme and its long term implication for the region, his premature retirement from the Commission as a Director and other sundry matters.
You were on the board of the Commission that was recently dissolved by President Goodluck Jonathan. What was your experience with the NDDC ?
The Commission had spent so much money in a repositioning programme that was undertaken by a world class consulting firm but the benefit of that repositioning was not felt until I took over. I ensured all departments in the organogram became functional.
Within the period, I was able to change the perception of stakeholders particularly the governors of the nine member States of the Commission. Some of them had seen the NDDC as being engaged in suffocating competition with them. I preached the gospel of cooperation, partnership and collaboration.
Debate on whether to merge the NDDC with the Niger Delta Ministry has been on, what is your comment on this?
When I was been screened by the Senate for my confirmation as EDFA ,I made it very clear that NDDC has not been funded according to the law. What we are saying is that the NDDC should be well funded according to the law and be well managed. Let the Niger Delta Ministry come up with sound projects and programmes and attract additional funds to the region.
If the Niger Delta Ministry is made to swallow NDDC as a parastatal, then we will only have one budget line which may not be enough for development of the region.
The proposal to bring NDDC under the Niger Delta Ministry as a parastatal of the Ministry is uncalled for. It only underscores a lack of understanding of the background of the establishment of the institutions. The Niger Delta Ministry is a creation of an executive fiat that can be withdrawn at will. The NDDC is a creation of an Act of the National Assembly. This means that the structure of the Commission cannot be tampered with in any form without recourse to the National Assembly.
As acting MD of the Commission, you were part of driving the peace process in the region. Now there is amnesty programme for ex militants. Any word on this?
The peace we have in the Niger Delta needs to be sustained. The amnesty programme is a monumental success, particularly in the area of laying down arms and giving respite to the oil industry to operate.
To sustain its development, issues in the region must be given attention. The oil bearing communities should be made to enjoy the comfort of modern civilization, good roads, electricity and so on.
The Niger Delta Development Commission and the Niger Delta Ministry, the oil companies, governments etc all must work in synergy to ensure that the Niger Delta Regional Development master plan is implemented.
At the moment, you see NDDC and Niger Delta ministry advertising almost the same projects. The government should coordinate this aspect of the operations of the two institutions to avoid duplications and waste so that we don’t have three water projects in one community by three different government agencies.