The managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission, Mr Chibuzor Ogwuoha has said that the Niger Delta region is in dire need of development and that he was poised to institute structures to positively change in the peoples standard of living.
This was the pledge made by the new NDDC Managing Director at a reception organised in his honour by the Senator representing Rivers west Senatorial district, Senator Wilson Asinobiake at his Apo Legislative quarters’ residence over the weekend in Abuja.
President Yar’Adua inaugurated the NDDC Board at the Presidential Villa, Abuja last Friday, with AirVice Marshall Larry Konya (Rtd) as Chairman and Mr. Ogwuoha as Managing Director.
Konya, from Bayelsa State was a former Chairman of the Directorate of Food, Roads and Rural Infrastructure (DFRRI) under the defunct General Ibrahim Babangida regime while Ogwuoha who hails from Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Area of Rivers was the Community Relations Manager of ELF.
Speaking at the colourful and well-attended reception, Mr. Ogwuoha said his emergence as the Managing Director of NDDC was the handwork of God and ‘not by might, not by power, not by money; while pledging to emulate Jesus Christ in his administration of the Commission.
According to him, “I can draw inspiration from Jesus Christ who washed the disciples’ feet and say leaders should do likewise”, knowing that the task before him is not an easy one.
He called on the people of the Niger-Delta to support him and his team in executing the task before them, noting that it is not his responsibility alone but that of the entire people of the oil rich region.
“If a Leader is leading and the people are not going along with him, he would not achieve much (but) if all of us agree to move, even the greatest mountains, we will pull down”, he said.
Ogwuoha who believes that there can’t be meaningful development in the region in the absence of peace gave the people of the region a charge on the need to keep the peace so that development could thrive in the next four years of his administration of NDDC.
His words: “I believe that all hands (in the region) must be on deck. We must be able to go back to our communities and tell them (that) where there’s no peace, there can’t be development. You need to buy into the programme of development, then what you’re expecting, you will get more than that”.
Noting that Niger Delta is not the worst place on earth, the new NDDC boss recalled that in the past the region recorded giant strides in food production and was self-sufficient, tasked the region to return to agriculture and feed the people as well as emerge as the nation’s food basket, adding, it was known in the past.
“I know it’s going to be an Herculean task, it’s going to be very difficult but one thing is obvious, if all of us agree to do it together, we will get there”, he said.
He continued “I believe very strongly that the Niger Delta of the past fed our people and that Niger Delta shall feed our people again. We are blessed, we can still make Niger Delta the food basket. Let us all begin to think on how to begin to add value to what we have”.
Ogwuoha challenged prominent sons and daughters of Niger Delta, particularly those from Rivers State and Ogbaland in particular to establish factories that could produce things like pure water, tissue and paper in their localities to engender development since “we cannot all be in oil companies”.
The Managing Director further thanked all those who contributed in no small way in making his new status possible, especially Senator Ake, recalling that “the journey was not an easy one, those who are at the corridor of power know all they went through
… if it is money, I will not be standing before you as the Managing Director of NDDC, I know some people who spent money to get this position but they didn’t succeed”.
“It’s time for us to move forward. With your support, we know we’ll get there. It’s not Chibuzor Ogwuoha that is there, (as NDDC MD) all of us are there. I believe with your commitment, there will be development in Niger Delta and Nigeria .. You’ll help me to succeed,” he emphasised.
FOI Act Implementation Bothers BPST Boss
The Director-General, Bureau of Public Service Reforms, Dr Dasuki Arabi, has expressed regrets that the implementation of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) has remained very low since the law was enacted.
The BPSR boss made the observation during a workshop held on Wednesday in Abuja on the appraisal of Freedom of Information Act.
Arabi said the Act was meant to entrench transparency and openness in governance through improved compliance to annual reporting obligations of public institutions.
“It is also expected to guide and improve compliance of public institutions in proactive disclosure of mandatory publication requirements, as well as empower citizens, the right to access information held by the state.
“Regrettably, since the introduction of the FOI Act, it is evident that the level of compliance among public institutions still remains low.
“While the level of engagement by citizens still remains insignificant and in some cases fraught with misunderstanding between the State and Non-State actors,” he added.
Arabi, therefore, said that the workshop was to resolve some of the grey areas around FOI, as well as foster a harmonious relationship between the State and Non-State actors towards the implementation of the Act.
He said good governance and transparency would only thrive in the country when citizens access to Information is assured.
The DG emphasised that the FOIA provided platform for inclusiveness that sought to hold leaders to account and feed into the decision making process.
Arabi said that the Bureau had worked assiduously towards the implementation of the Act and was making efforts to ensure that it was institutionalized across the public sector.
He said that the interventions were in the areas of training public service workers and development of feedback mechanism through which a portal for application and responses for FOI request were deployed.
Others, he said, are score-card for ranking the performances of websites of public institutions using specific benchmarks, including FOI portal.
“Creating platforms for citizens engagement with Civil Societies Organizations on topical issues of government through the BPSR flagship programmes such as the monthly Lunchtime Seminar series,” he added.
Arabi said that the Bureau had also deployed information technology to provide innovative means to improve record keeping and management using intranet and Electronic Data Management Systems.
He continued that they were working in conjunction with the Nigeria Economic Summit Group to gauge the perception of citizens on public policies.
In her remarks, the National Coordinator, Open Government Partnership (OGP), Nigeria, Dr Gloria Ahmed, said making information open was a hallmark of democracy and a basic human right.
She said that the FOIA has given citizens the opportunity to access information as regards government policies and reforms.
FCTA Harmonises Mobile Adverts, Haulage System Against Double Taxation
The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA), Department of Outdoor Advertisement and Signage (DOAS), has launched the FCT/State Mobile Advertisement and Haulage permits for 2023 financial year.
Permanent Secretary, FCTA, Mr Olusade Adesola, while launching the system sought the cooperation of the business owners in the FCT, in order to achieve the objective of the initiative.
Adesola said the move was part of efforts to facilitate the ease of doing business drive in the nation’s capital.
He commended DOAS for the initiative. aimed at improving institutional cooperation and partnerships with the critical stakeholders.
Adesola warned: “FCTA would no longer tolerate acts of thuggery in the collection of taxes, as there are better ways of doing such, which will ensure the attainment of ease of doing business.”
He commended the leadership of Area Councils for resolving to synergise with DOAS to streamline the system.
The Permanent Secretary said the proliferation of collection authorities for mobile advertisements had led to serious loss of Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) in the FCT.
Earlier, the Executive Chairman, Kwali Area Council, Danladi Chiya, said although Area Councils have the constitutional right to collect such advertisements, they have no issue with FCTA over the establishment and mandate of DOAS.
LASG Begins Vehicle Parking Lanes Demacation
The Lagos State Parking Authority (LASPA) has revealed it will today commence creating additional Vehicle Parking Lanes in some selected locations across the State.
The Authority stated that all efforts have been geared towards improving the parking system of the State.
Speaking on the planned initiative on Friday in Ikeja, the General Manager of LASPA, Mrs. Adebisi Adelabu, stated that the vehicle parking lane mark exercise, which will begin with designated streets within Surulere, Ikoyi, Lekki, Obalende, Ikeja and Victoria Island axis of the State, is a step towards improving street parking from 2023.
Adelabu noted that the Parking Lane Markings will further guide motorists and pedestrians on appropriate parking regulations and spaces, minimise indiscriminate parking, confusion and uncertainty, while conveying a range of information to residents on parking procedures within each specified environment.
According to her, the lane markings will also include special consideration for people living with disabilities and signposts for parking directives, among other features.
The General Manager, however, solicited the understanding of residents within the locations who might be affected by any inconvenience the process might cause, assuring that the government is working rigorously in regulating and improving the parking culture as part of its Traffic Management and Transportation Agenda to ensure parking is convenient, safe and secure across the state.
Recall that the Authority had recently unveiled plans to begin full implementation of parking policy in the second quarter of 2023 and has continued to sensitise the public on the need to embrace the parking culture.
By; Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos
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