Monday, March 27, 2017 3:51 pm
The Chairman, Niger Delta agency, NDDC, Senator Victor Ndoma Egba, spoke to Reuben Bojor on the activities of the commission and other issues
Q: As Chairman, and a liaison between the board and the Federal Government, what are your strategies and vision for NDDC to achieve its mandate?
A: My vision for and of the NDDC is returning it to its original mandate of being the driver for an integrated though diversified regional economy. When President Olusegun Obasanjo launched the Niger Delta Master Plan on 7th March, 2007, ten full years ago, he captured the essence of the plan as a “plan to facilitate the rapid, even and sustainable development of the Niger Delta Region into an economically prosperous, socially stable, ecologically regenerative and politically peaceful area”. That vision remains as valid as it was then as it is now.
Q: Can you enlighten Nigerians, on the commission’s original mandate and where it derailed in the past?
A: We are changing the narrative of the Commission and the Region by refocusing it to its original mandate. The public perception of the Commission today is all about contracts. As soon as someone greets you, the next question is “Chairman when can I come for a contract?”. The business or mandate of the Commission will certainly involve the award of contracts but the contracts should be to achieve a strategic plan and not contracts for the sake of contracts as it appears to be the situation now.
Q: I like the phrase, ‘youth and not oil is the main resources of the region,’ as captured in one of your interviews, can you expatiate on that
A: The youths remain the real resource and blessing of a nation if they are educated, empowered and productive in a competitive environment but a huge challenge if they are not. The NDDC will focus on education . So the youths will remain a blessing and not a challenge.
Q: The North-East zone is clamoring for a sister commission, what is your take as a politician.
A: I am no more a member of the National Assembly, but the move to establish a Commission in North East is receiving a robust debate in both Chambers of the National Assembly. I believe they will do what is best for the Nation and the North East zone.
Q: How about agitations for restructuring?
A. My view is that the present political structure of Nigeria has become a drag and not sustainable. The structure cannot deliver the kind of development we deserve.
Q: This administration which you are a stakeholder, is battling with the economy. What is your reaction?
A: The issues are being tackled vigorously especially now the value of the naira is rising while inflation is marginally down, our security challenges are being contained.
Q: Nigerians mostly the electorate and opposition politicians are vowing to throw away your party come 2019. What do you think?
A: You will recall that since after 2015 elections, governorship elections have taken place in Edo and Ondo States. Our Party APC emerged victorious in both. Note that Ondo State was a PDP State before the elections. Therefore 2019 will not be different.
Q: From legal perspectives, what is your view on the recent whistle blowing strategy as a tool to curb corruption?
A: The whistle blowing strategy as a policy of government is a tool designed to press forward and possibly give effect to the Freedom of Information (FOI) Law. Despite not having a legal or legislative backing, it is veritable in the fight against corruption.
Q. Politically, what is your view on Donald Trump’s ban on some class of immigrants?
A: Donald Trump is only keeping to his electoral campaign promise. During the electioneering campaign he promised a wide range immigration reforms, he is doing what he believes is best for his country.