The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and the Ondo State Government have signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the development of the 50 kilometre Akodo-Araromi/Ibeju-Lekki road.
Speaking at the ceremony in Akure, the Chairman of the Governing Board of the Niger Delta Development Commission, Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba (SAN) stated that the MoU with Ondo State is part of the Commission’s new direction to partner with State and Local Governments to deliver impact projects to the people of the Niger Delta region.
"This MoU is the first to be signed between the NDDC and a State Government. We are reviewing our various projects so we can focus on impact projects that touch the lives of the people of the Niger Delta. As part of this new direction, we will also include host communities and the States in our decision making processes so that all stakeholders can take ownership of these projects. We want to work effectively with States so that projects will not be duplicated."
Ndoma-Egba noted that as part of the new direction at the NDDC, the number of NDDC projects will be scaled down. "It is better to have few projects that the people can see rather than many projects that the people cannot see".
The NDDC Chairman restated that the NDDC is a partner with State and Local Governments and not a competitor to them.
He assured Governor Rotimi Akeredolu that the contractor handling the electrification of the Omotosho/Okitipupa will be paid next week so that electricity supply will be restored to the area which has experienced power shortage for four years.
Responding, the Ondo State Governor, Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu thanked the Governing Board of the Niger Delta Development Commission for the partnership on the development of the strategic Akodo-Araromi/Ibeju-Lekki road which he said will reduce the journey to Lagos to forty five minutes and offer a viable alternative route between Lagos and Ondo States.
"Thank you, Mr. Chairman for the assurance given on the Omotosho/Okitipupa electrification project. It is indeed a welcome development."
Akeredolu said, "I concur with the new direction at NDDC to focus on few projects that impact the lives of the people of the Niger Delta.”The development focus of the current NDDC Board has my full support."
The Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission, Mr. Nsima Ekere signed the MoU on behalf of the NDDC while Honourable Ifedayo Abegunde, the Secretary to the Ondo State Government signed on behalf of the Ondo State Government.
“We are an investor and not a project implementing team. We are not coming to Nigeria or to the Niger Delta to take over. We are coming here to help you to invest in your vision and invest jointly with you to realize an outcome which will create employment for you in this region particularly.”
Mr. Marcel Eshiogu, NDDC Director Agriculture and Fisheries praised the gains of the partnership with IFAD, noting that the Commission had been in working with the UN agency since 2005.