By John Mayaki
In the embrace of a splendid Port Harcourt dawn, the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) headquarters stood adorned in welcome, a mosaic of warmth and effusive hospitality. Yesterday marked a day when Dr. Samuel Ogbuku, the acting Managing Director and CEO of the Commission, revealed the depth of his endearment to the diligent workers he presides over—his dedicated workforce.
It was a day etched in memory when the Minister of Niger Delta Development, Hon. Engr. Abubakar Momoh, crossed the threshold into the loving embrace of the NDDC employees, whose hearts resonated with unwavering support and genuine concern for their well-being.
The minister’s purpose in Port Harcourt was as grand as the sunrise, a harmonious convergence of endeavors that led him through the sacred corridors of the NDDC’s headquarters, an inspection of the Eleme section of the East- West Road, a courtesy visit to the esteemed Governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, and an audience with illustrious traditional rulers, among them were His Majesty, Ohna Sergeant Chidi Awuse, the newly anointed Chairman of the Rivers State Council of Traditional Rulers and Chiefs, and the revered His Royal Majesty, King Ateke Michael Tom, JP, Sekuro of Niger Delta and Amanyanabo of Okochiri Ancient Kingdom.
The vibrant collage of this day wove together the aspirations of a region, the vision of a minister, and the dedication of a diligent workforce. It was a chorus of unity and purpose, where the future beckoned with optimism and the bonds of camaraderie grew ever stronger.
In the halls of the NDDC headquarters, a revelation dawned upon the visiting minister, one that spoke volumes about the character and candor of the Commission’s staff. It became evident that these individuals were not practitioners of pretense; they wore their emotions on their sleeves. If they held discontent within, they voiced it with unmistakable clarity, leaving no room for ambiguity.
Yet, as the minister observed, this day was unlike any other. It was a vivid departure from the norm. Instead of the sombre sea of black attire that once symbolized their discontent, the corridors were now awash with an array of vibrant colors. The mourning clothes had been set aside, replaced by hues that painted an altogether different narrative.
Perhaps the most striking testament to their support and goodwill lay in the clock’s unwavering hands. It was a testament to their dedication that they chose to wait until the late hours, enduring well into 7pm, to receive the Minister. Such an act transcended mere duty; it embodied a resolute determination and commitment to see the Managing Director thrive in his endeavours.
In this colourful shift, a profound message was conveyed – a message of optimism, of unity, and of hope for a brighter future. It was a day when the staff of NDDC chose to let their actions speak louder than any words, demonstrating that their allegiance was not just a matter of duty but a genuine desire to see their institution flourish under the Dr. Samuel Ogbuku’s leadership.
Their happiness extends far beyond the realm of mere material comfort for the Honourable Minister. According to the MD, “On your behalf, as their steadfast leader, they radiate joy, not solely due to their well-being, but because of the profound, genuine affection they harbour for me”. This sentiment flows organically, like a river nourished by the collective goodwill of these dedicated workers.
According to the Managing Director, “These dedicated workers are fully prepared to extend the unwavering support you require, Honourable Minister. I can confidently assure you that any past discord between the NDDC and the Ministry will remain in the annals of history during your tenure. We are poised to offer you all the cooperation and assistance you need.”
Ogbuku said it is of paramount significance to underscore that from the day of the Minister’s assumption of office and their initial encounters, the Minister graciously embraced them as his own. According to him, “Consequently, the entire cadre of NDDC directors has unequivocally pledged their solidarity and support to your leadership. This transformative unity represents a profound departure from the previous dynamics within the NDDC”.
The Managing Director reminisces about a time when the NDDC directors held reservations regarding the Commission’s alignment with the Ministry. However, the tides have decisively shifted. He said, “Today, even our veteran directors, who have witnessed the Commission’s evolution, acknowledge that the warm reception you have received is unprecedented. This serves as a testament to the new era unfolding within the NDDC—a paradigm shift characterized by partnerships for success and collaborative efforts with all relevant authorities to foster the much-needed development in the Niger Delta.”
Dr. Ogbuku concluded by extending a heartfelt welcome to you on behalf of the dedicated staff and management of the NDDC, affirming, “Sir, you are warmly welcomed to the NDDC”
The Minister, in his response, expressed his appreciation to all the members of staff and management for the warm reception. He stated, “I am delighted to be in your midst. When we were planning to come to Port Harcourt, I was not informed that I would have such a warm and elaborate session with the staff and management of the NDDC. It was only this afternoon that I was informed about this. Let me say that I am indeed very glad to be with you. As one of those who played a role in establishing the NDDC, it is my first visit to the headquarters after 20 years. Since assuming office, this is the very first place (Port Harcourt) and, by extension, the headquarters of NDDC that I am visiting outside Abuja, and I have not even visited my own place.”
He continued, “Since our arrival, we have visited some of the projects being handled by NDDC, particularly the East-West Road axis from Eleme to petrochemical down to Onne. The state of the road is disheartening, and I have promised that we will do our best to appeal to Mr. President and our colleagues in Abuja to expedite the completion of this road.”
The Minister also praised President Bola Tinubu, saying, “We have a listening president in President Bola Tinubu. Let us all appreciate God for the victory at the Presidential Election Petitions Court. This president is different from his predecessors. He is a politician who is deeply committed to the development of the Niger Delta. The change in the ministry’s name, from Niger Delta Affairs to Niger Delta Development, is a clear indication of his commitment to the region’s development. All that is needed is a little push from the ministry and the region’s leaders for more meaningful development.”
Regarding the Managing Director’s visit a week ago, he remarked, “When the MD visited with his Directors to brief me, the opening paragraph of his speech was about the welfare of staff. I intended to sample opinions from staff to confirm this, but today, I see no need to do so. I can witness it for myself. If an organization’s staff believe that its leadership has done well for them, this is the result. I thank the MD for that but encourage you not to rest on your laurels. The best days are ahead.”
He also appreciated the MD’s transition from acting MD/CEO to substantive MD/CEO, stating, “This is a historic occurrence in the NDDC. I see the MD as a capable leader and navigator. I believe you will leverage this position to do more for the people of the Niger Delta.”
The Minister emphasized the importance of cooperation and said, “For an organization to excel, its leadership must show the way, and the people behind them must be ready to cooperate. With what you have demonstrated here this evening, I have a strong feeling that we need to provide the necessary cooperation to transform NDDC beyond its current state.”
He concluded by stating, “We have come with a renewed hope from Mr. President, with eight presidential priorities, including ending poverty, enhancing security, promoting inclusivity, combating corruption, and developing infrastructure, among others. NDDC will not be exempt from these priorities. We are committed to executing these agenda items for the benefit of the people.”