The Akwa Ibom State Government should work more to attract than attack the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), towards partnering the Commission to attract developmental projects to the state, the Commission’s Director of Commercial and Industrial Development, Mr Anietie Usen, has declared.
Usen stated this on Saturday while speaking as a guest on an Inspiration FM Radio News and Current Affairs programme, “Talk Radio” in Uyo.
He advised the State government to work with the NDDC and other federal developmental agencies to develop the state rather than spend energy to fight and pull down Akwa Ibom people at the federal and regional level, describing such actions as counter productive.
According to Mr Usen, it is wrong to perceive the NDDC as being an extension of the APC, declaring that though the Commission was under tremendous pressure under the PDP regime especially when it was supervised directly by the presidency, a new template he noted, has come to stay with the ongoing reforms which now places the NDDC under the supervision of the Ministry of Niger Delta.
The pioneer Head of Corporate Affairs of the NDDC who attributed the recent negative media attack on the Commission mostly by the local media in Akwa Ibom State to politics said, the Commission was ruled for 16 years by the PDP, describing as unfair the pull down syndrome exhibited by agents of the Akwa Ibom State Government who are out to attack the NDDC Managing Director, Mr Nsima Ekere who has only been on the saddle for six months.
He said attacking rather than partnering federal and regional development agencies is bad politics, counter productive and dysfunctional and called for professionalism on the part of the media in the state in the discharge of their duties rather than what he called the present “Palm Wine Journalism” being practiced by some local media practitioners.
He explained that though there is freedom of the press, such freedom is not unlimited and does not gives one a license to malign people against the ethics of the profession, describing such unprofessional conducts as an embarrassment to journalism.
The former general editor of Newswatch magazine called on the Akwa Ibom State Government to name the Akwa Ibom International Airport (AKIA), after former Governor Victor Attah, whom he confessed was his role model, insisting that the benefits the state is presently enjoying is a direct consequence of the resource control struggle of Attah.
He said NDDC’s sharing formula is based on the oil quota from the states with Akwa Ibom topping the chart as the highest oil producing state in the region with 30% which explains why the state has benefited immensely from the NDDC in the past 6-7 years. He said he admires Attah for being intelligent, knowledgeable, visionary and a man who fights relentlessly for the right of the people.
Usen noted that the NDDC has done a lot in line with its core mandate because in many communities, the Commission remains the only government presence assisting in providing either roads, electricity, water etc, submitting that the Commission has constructed and commissioned 95 roads in Akwa Ibom State, while 15 have been commissioned and 135 ongoing.
While admitting that some contractors have failed in project execution, he reiterated the determination of the Nsima Ekere led board in ensuring that erring contractors are disciplined and those who abandoned the projects get back to site, noting that the NDDC is not averse to legitimate criticisms.
He observed that as Head of CID in NDDC his mandate is to build capacity to fill the skill gap in the region, and restated NDDC’s commitment towards ensuring capacity building and empowerment to youths and women of the region.