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Published On: Tue, Jul 2nd, 2013

United Nation, Orubebe Map Out Action Plan for Development of Niger Delta

Minister of Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs Elder Godsday Orubebe

By Oghenekevwe Laba
LAGOS JULY 2ND (URHOBOTODAY)-The Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs under the leadership of Elder Godsday Orubebe in collaboration with the United Nation Development Programme (UNDP) has released a blue print on Niger Delta Action Plan aimed at achieving effective coordination of development initiatives in Niger Delta Region.
Arising from a one day stakeholders conference organized by the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs in collaboration with UNDP at Uyo, Akwa Ibom State recently, participants noted and agreed that there was a wide gap between policy formulation and implementation of projects/programmes in the Niger Delta region, stressing that there were several intervention agencies set up by government and non government agencies involved in the provision of socio-economic development pogrammes in an unconditional manner.

They pointed out in a communiqué made available to Urhobotoday that as a result of lack of coordination there were so many duplicated as well as abandoned projects in the Niger Delta, adding there is the urgent need to address the observed lack of a coordinating platform for all development partners and stakeholders operating in the region.
While participants agreed that the current Niger Delta Action Plan provides a window of opportunities to achieve coordinated development of the area, they, however opined that the Action Plan if properly implemented would result in effective and efficient utilization of scarce resources, accountability and transparency.
While acknowledging past Regional development plans, participants who appealed to stakeholders in the Region to buy the Action Plan maintained that there was need for pragmatic involvement of communities in the Niger Delta in future development plans and programmes of Government as encapsulated by the Niger Delta Action Plan.
“There is urgent need to redress the situation by adopting the bottom-up approach in which the host communities as well as all beneficiaries are involved in the identification, design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of projects and programmes so as to ensure community ownership for stability.
“There is need for increased involvement of women and youths in the development of the area. There is need to ensure the sustainability of the current peace achieved following the Amnesty in order to achieve sustainable economic growth and development,” Participants suggested, just as they observed that the most critical challenge facing the Niger Delta is unemployment among the youth and insufficient funding for development of infrastructure.
Before now, Minister of the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, Elder Godsday Orubebe and his team have embarked on a regional wide tour to officially inform Governors of the region on the proposed Niger Delta Action Plan and also on the newly instituted Niger Delta National Council Summit..
Going through memory lane, Orubebe recalled, “If I may recall, in 2005 when I was the Special Adviser on Urban and Regional Planning to the former Governor of Delta State, Chief James O. Ibori, I embarked on a seminar in Denmark and I was shown their Development Plan for 50 Years. The plan was a well prepared and articulated road map and it was easy to tell the level of development at a given period of time.
“I was thrilled at this enviable feat and now that the opportunity has availed itself, I wish to replicate that same gesture here in the Niger Delta. A gesture that will stern the menace of Project Duplication by the Ministry, Federal and State Governments and also the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) thereby saving cost and avoiding wastage of useful resources.
He further explained that the Niger Delta “ACTION PLAN” is documented to fast track development in the Region, pointing out that it is an avenue that would avail all development partners the opportunity to input their quota in the development of the Region.
Orubebe disclosed that at the Summit the people of Niger Delta Region would have the opportunity to discuss their yesterday, today and tomorrow’s challenges, stressing that stakeholders would be involve in decision making, project implementation and monitoring.
During the tour, issues of utmost concern were raised which includes the East-West Road, abandoned NDDC Projects and others.
“Like I have always responded, the East-West Road Project was awarded in 2006 by the Obasanjo led Government due to pressures to suit Niger Deltans. The Road was awarded for 269 Billion with no detail design and only a paltry sum of 1.2 Billion was made available to the contractors.
“In 2009 when the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs was created the contract was officially handed over to the Ministry. We had to place all hands on deck by revisiting the drawing board to redesign and also source for funds to execute the project. Fortunately we realized the sum of 120 Billion last year all thanks to the effort of President Goodluck Jonathan who remains committed to the delivery of this project.
“So far so good we have been able to complete 38 out of the 42 Bridges on the East-West Road and also 736 out of the 786 Culverts with just Sand filling and Tarring remaining. By the commitment of our President I can confidently say the East-West Road will be Completed by December 2014,” the Minister assured.

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