Thursday, July 27, 2017 7:00 am
The Niger Delta Development Commission, (NDDC) has urged traditional rulers in the South-South region of the country to embrace the master plan of the Niger Delta region.
The NDDC Chairman, Sen. Victor Ndoma-Egba, stated this when he received the delegation of the South-South Monarchs Forum led by King Edmund Daukoru, the Amayanabo of Nembe in Port Harcourt on Wednesday.
A statement by Mr Ibitoye Abosede, Director Corporate Affairs of The Commission, disclosed that the chairman decried the abandonment of the master plan shortly after it was launched in 2007.
“We must return to the Master Plan. We have to agree on whether to terminate the current Master Plan, update it or upgrade it. And we need the traditional institution to play a role in this process,” he said.
Ndoma-Egba stated that a comprehensive plan was necessary for any meaningful development and progresses to take place.
He said that the NDDC was collaborating with state governments as partners rather than alternatives or competitors for the overall development of the region.
According to the chairman, the region need to be united in all its activities to achieve the desired peace and development in the Niger Delta.
He added: “There is no doubt that the South-South region has to speak with one voice and that is why engagements of this nature are very important because it will help us find a common ground.
“It will help us synchronize our thoughts and our ideas so that whenever and wherever we speak as leaders of the South-South, whether as traditional rulers or political leaders, we speak with one voice.
“I believe that the reality on ground is that the traditional institution plays a role in ensuring peace, mobilizing for development, providing a forum for dialogue, or providing a framework for furthering an action with others in this country.”
On his part, Daukoru said that the landscape of the Niger Delta was dotted with “fruits from the Commission.”
“We are ready to partner with NDDC and give you all the encouragement you need and we are hoping that we will see a bit more of you in terms of outreach through us to the grassroots people.
“We also want to act as a channel and an advocacy institution for you so that through us, you will be able to communicate to the people whatever opportunities are open that they can participate more effectively.”
Daukoru, who was a former Minister of Petroleum, decried the past neglect of the Niger Delta, stressing that the monarchs are the “missing ingredient” needed to galvanize positive development in the region.