No. 86 Nwaniba Road, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.
To: The Presidency Abuja
The National Assembly Abuja
All Niger Delta Stakeholders
OPEN LETTER IN RESPONSE TO: NDDC- WHAT WE MUST DO AND THE PRESS STATEMENT BY THE CHAIRMAN OF THE GOVERNING BOARD OF NDDC
We are compelled to respond to the above subject matters as patriots and stakeholders because nefarious actors are monolithic in their structure, with no option to retrace their steps or even branch off from the solidity of the inflexible trunk, the source of their implacable power. To counter them, the kernel of their malevolent frameworks must be dismantled and completely laid bare.
The most important piece of real estate to stake a claim is the human mind. You make the claim by creating a perception. You create the perception by controlling the context. Control the context and you control the mind. Control the mind and you control reality, that’s the essence of the Veblen Effect. However, social psychologists are quick to remind us that “herd mentality” or “group think” has severe limitations when subjected to critical analysis or hesitation.
It is our opinion that the decision of the Chairman of the Governing Board of NDDC to hastily distance the Board from the MOU signed by the Commission in its quest to attract private capital for the development of the region based on emotions, sentiments, sense of judgment and propriety in order to curry public appeal, on deeper introspection is ruinous and far from right. We are not fooled by the beautiful prose of hired writers, the cobbled arguments of her procured craven supporters or the eloquence of her Marxian postulations about transparency and accountability. Her ambition of naked power grab was made obvious in the sponsored Vanguard newspaper advert published before the summit in Lagos where a fictitious group made legally deficient solicitations to President Buhari to quickly amend the law and further promote her to Executive Chairmanship of the Commission with unlimited powers even at the twilight of his administration.
We have experienced the confusion and dread of watching the least qualified people get promoted even when they lack the authenticity and influence to build strong teams because they are out of touch with the needs of the citizens. The government needs to cultivate and measure leadership potentials instead of the current system where authority over others is based on who you know and not what you know. Granting promotion without assessing a person’s capacity for leadership reduces the role to a mere transaction and this seems to be at the core of the public tantrums emanating from the Commission.
The allegations of a prevailing toxic work environment and management consideration of board members as meddlesome interlopers as contained in the Vanguard newspaper publication are not only manifestly false and frivolous but absurd and hogwash. Also, the wild allegations of illegal waivers of 3% levies granted to IOC’s and the back dating of contracts to unlawfully appropriate the Commission’s resources are the imaginations of a devious mind and patently defamatory. The prevailing sense in the region is that of satisfaction because for the very first time in a long while, the Commission has a duly constituted management team deploying its resources for common good.
The Chairman’s press statement condemning the widely hailed effort of the Commission towards transitioning to a new organization that would leverage private capital for sustainable development of the region through PPP and the subsequent signing of an MOU for preliminary processes for a rail network that would connect the nine NDDC States is both reckless and ill-conceived. Her attempt to create an imprimatur of illegality and deliberate litigation of the internal affairs of the Commission in the public space is an unprecedented embarrassment to the region and its people. No matter how cleverly disguised and presented, her grudge response is simply in furtherance of her ongoing schemes at total capture of the executive powers of the Commission not institutional bargain.
How else can any rational person explain her opposition to the transformational change and Blue-Sky thinking that led to the concept of the PPP? Is she not aware that the federal government has all but abandoned the Eastern Railway Corridor due to paucity of funds? What disadvantage would the region suffer if it secures a rail network that would connect all the states and complement the Eastern Rail Corridor if it is eventually completed? Is she not aware that the Atlanta based AGRI came recommended by the US EXIM Bank and that the US Consulate was represented at the signing ceremony? Is she ignorant of the fact that several board members were present at the event? Does she not know that the outcome of the Summit is attracting global interest to the region? What exactly are her interests? There is no rule that says her arguments must make sense but we must do away with the principalities of the past.
The Chairman seems to be suffering from the “Peter Principle” whereof she may have been promoted beyond her level of effectiveness. The region needs leaders who will allow the collective good of the people overshadow their self-aggrandizement. In view of this critical need, we hope and pray that the chairman retraces her steps and detracts from public smear and misrepresentation.
For NDDC to make progress, there is no magic bullet. What is clear is that doing nothing is not an option nor is continuing as normal the way to go. We recommend that the Board and Management should have a Shared Vision Workshop to deliberate on workable strategies and innovative ways to attract scalable development to the region. What NDDC needs is that in exchange for the greater strategic goal of developing the region, the Board and Management must embrace peace over conflict. Instead of engaging in public fits and outbursts, the board should liaise with management to rethink job creation, retool youth unemployment thereby significantly addressing insecurity and engendering the flourish of enterprise.
The people of the region are tired of living frustrated, anxious and overwhelmed. New habits can be formed. Fresh hope can be found in the Commission. The practice of gratitude and acknowledgment of good deeds by those who dare is the missing key to unlock the hope, joy and beauty around the region. It is not particularly helpful when we try to frustrate people with good intentions. Let good conscience prevail.
Joachim Dakolo Publicity Secretary.
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