“NDDC has become a political institution…” These were the exact words of Chief Barr. Nyesom Wike, the Governor of Rivers State, when the Professor Brambaifa led board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) paid him a courtesy visit at the Government house in Port Harcourt.On another related visit to Professor Ben Ayade, the Governor of Cross River State, by the NDDC management led by the Ag. Managing Director, Professor Brambaifa, Professor Ayade slammed the commission for treating his state “unfairly”. According to Governor Ayade, the story of NDDC and Cross Rivers State have been that of “melancholy”. In his words, the people of Cross River State “have been reduced to want in body, soul and spirit”.
The experience of Rivers and Cross River States, put together, will not equate the disservice of NDDC to Abia State. Even before the Brambaifa led board was appointed, Abia State have been victims of the dual misfortunes of “unfairness” and “melancholy”. At least Rivers and Cross River States have had the honor of a courtesy visit! Abia State, on the other hand, have neither received “courtesy” talk less of a “visit” ! Indeed, there is scarcely any significant evidence of NDDC presence in Abia State, but for some subpar projects located in few communities within Abia State.
Agreed that the collegiality needed in the management of the NDDC is lacking in most of the States, however, the Abia story, in all ramification, is a sorry state that should be addressed with dispatch.
For benefit of hindsight, NDDC is a creation of an Act, of the National Assembly, in accordance to the provisions of Section 58 (5) of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The Act, cited as the Niger Delta Development Commission Act 2000, repealed the Oil Mineral Producing Areas Development Commission Decree 1998. Among other things, the NDDC Act 2000, is established to ensure an effective use of the sums received from the allocation of the Federal account.The fund is meant to tackle both the ecological and the infrastructural problems arising from oil explorations in Niger Delta areas and for “connected purposes”.
By virtue of section 2(1) (b) (i) of the Act, Abia State, as well as Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River,Delta, Edo, Imo, Ondo and Rivers States are members of the NDDC. It was for this Act that Abia State was privileged to have the Pioneer Chairmanship of the governing Board, in the person of Chief Onyema Ugochukwu, in line with the rotational clause of Section 4 (a),going by alphabetical order.