Samuel Ogbuku, managing director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), says he met “a lot of dysfunctional situations” in the agency.
Ogbuku spoke on Thursday when he appeared before the house of representatives committee on NDDC to defend the commission’s budgets.
President Muhammadu Buhari appointed Ogbuku as the NDDC managing director in December.
Before Buhari constituted a board in November which was approved in December by the senate, there have alleged corruption in the commission.
“On resumption of office, we know that the task was very huge. We met a lot of dysfunctional situations in the commission which we as management and the board try to correct a few of them, especially the internal administration reorganisation. We have done most of that,” he said.
“We believe that as a team, it will make more sense to start looking behind to blame the past. We thought that it was our responsibility to pick up from where we met the situation of the commission by improving on the successes of our predecessors and also correcting their mistakes.”
Presentation of 2021 – 2023 budgets
While presenting the 2021-2023 budgets of the commission, Ogbuku said the appropriation bill was designed to be a “budget of rewind to rebirth”.
He said an aggregate expenditure of N485.7 billion was proposed for the NDDC in 2021, N928.2 billion in 2022, and N876 billion in 2023.
He said the budget estimates for 2021 personnel cost was N28.2 billion, and N34.2 billion for 2022 and 2023.
“The increase is meant to reflect the new staff strength as well as outstanding promotion arrears owed to staff and those due to be promoted,” he said.
He said the overhead costs were projected at N14.5 billion for 2021, N16.5 billion for 2022 and N17.4 billion for 2023.
For capital expenditure, Ogbuku said N440 billion was proposed for capital projects in 2021, N873 billion for 2022, and N820.5 billion for 2023.
He said N2.9 billion was budgeted for the internal capital (fixed assets) for 2021 and N3.7 billion for 2022 and 2023.
“Although the 2023 budget is being presented late to this honourable committee, we are confident that we shall strive to channel the lean resources to impactful projects/programmes,” he said.
‘WE’LL STOP ABUSE IN NDDC’
He said while the committee would “cooperate” with the commission to actualise its mandates, the lawmakers won’t hesitate to “stand against” abnormalities.
“But rest assured that as much as we are ready to show love and cooperation to ensure that you succeed, I as the chairman and members of the committee will not hesitate to activate all parts of the law needed to stop abuse and misuse of resources,” he said.
“We waited three to four years to have this board, it is time to put your house in order and stop all this paper tigerism and the fights on the pages of newspapers.
“Please, let the wait be worth it. The people are hungry for development. The people are not interested in ego fights, blame games, or buck-passing, the people of the region need hope — renewed hope — and this is an opportunity we cannot afford to miss.
“Please, make your achievements in the NDDC an enhancement of your profiles, not a dent in your social and corporate standing.”