The Acting Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, Prof. Kemebradikumo Pondei, says that the relocation of the Interim Management Committee, IMC, from the 167 Aba Road office to the new permanent headquarters on the Eastern Bypass, Port Harcourt, will place the Commission on a better pedestal to deliver on its core mandate.
Prof Pondei, who addressed newsmen after resuming work at the new headquarters along with the Executive Director. Projects, Dr. Cairo Ojougboh, said that the movement would ensure improvement in the services rendered by NDDC, as they would be more automated, digitalised and professional.
The NDDC Chief Executive Officer assured that the 13-floor permanent headquarters would be completed and commissioned by President Muhammadu Buhari in the very near future.
He said: “It is a privilege to be here with the IMC. It would not have been possible without the effort of President Buhari and the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio. Within the first year of his resumption of office as the NDA Minister, Akpabio took seriously the completion of this edifice. I also remember our brother, Late Ibanga Bassey Itang, who would come for inspections of this project even on weekends.”
Prof Pondei said that the relocation to the new headquarters would ensure that the finishing touches were properly done, noting: “Project move faster when there are activities on a continuous basis. As we have moved to this place, before you know it, one or two other floors would be completed. The movement will be in phases and our presence here means that the commissioning would not be long in coming.”
He regretted that the COVID-19 pandemic added to the delay in installing some facilities that should have been put in place long before now but were held back due to the closure of border.
The NDDC boss noted that the new headquarters would accommodate all the directorates and departments of the Commission, stating: “It is a one-stop-shop. A place everyone would be happy about. The ancillary building will accommodate facilities such as a medical centre, restaurant, and bank, among others. All the service equipment for the main building, including electrical equipment such as lifts and escalators have been installed.”
He remarked that the old office presented a lot of obstacles, especially in the area of office space, which was taken care of in the new complex. “This new complex is more spacious and there are enough rooms for everyone. Whatever was an obstacle at the old office would not be an obstacle here,” he observed.
Pondei noted that unlike the office on Aba Road, the new complex would be connected to the national electricity grid and provision had been made for alternative source of power. He wondered why some people were raising controversies over the new building. He said: “Seeing is believing. And you can’t compare the cost of this building to other buildings being done in Nigeria that are even smaller than this. I believe that our presence here will put a stop to all these unnecessary controversies, especially in the social media.”
In his own remarks, Dr Ojougboh observed that the last time the national anthem was sang at the site of the permanent headquarters was 25 years ago during the foundation laying ceremony of this building. “Today, 25 years later, we are able to sing the national anthem in this building as we glorify and thank God for being part of this historic event.