Abubakar Momoh: President Tinubu’s Masterstroke That Renewed Hope in Niger Delta
By John Mayaki
There’s jubilation across the country – especially in the Niger-Delta over the redesignation of the portfolio of Hon. Engr. Abubakar Momoh from the Ministry of Youth to Niger-Delta Development. Nigerians are saying, “President Bola Tinubu is a listening president,” adding that Momoh as the Minister of Niger Delta is a welcome development in the struggle for a better life for the long-suffering people of the Niger Delta region – a renewed hope agenda.
No doubt at this time the freshly minted Honourable Minister would be inundated with congratulatory messages of all shades. Indeed, congratulations are very much in order, as Momoh is a seasoned public servant and development-oriented humanitarian, who is well deserving of this appointment – not only an engineer but a certified one at that.
However, it is pertinent to call the Honourable Minister’s attention to the fact that his appointment, coming at a time when Mr. President was contemplating scrapping the Ministry, requires that we keep the celebratory champagne on ice as there is work to be done and little time with which to get it done.
There’s no doubt that successive administrations have failed the people of the Niger Delta, keeping them perpetually in penury and undignified living conditions. It is my heartfelt hope that Momoh would put the people of the Niger Delta on the front burner of the national conversation, engraving into our national consciousness the fact that oil exploration, which funds Nigeria, has cost the Niger Delta people their lives and livelihoods as their waters and land keep getting polluted through inhuman practices by the oil companies.
The Niger Delta people have paid with their health and predominant occupation of fishing for Nigerian oil exploration, while they have reaped a polluted environment, poverty, and lack of meaningful infrastructure with a near-total absence of government presence in such a critical area of Nigeria’s existential reality.
The task ahead is enormous, and I am by no means suggesting that I expect him to solve them all for good, but there’s no doubt we expect a performance that departs clearly from the norm in the Ministry. The people of the Niger Delta expect the Minister Momoh to carry out far-reaching and sincere reforms of the NDDC and to give greater attention to infrastructural developments.
By its mandate, the Ministry of Niger Delta Development, among other responsibilities, superintends the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), which has grappled with seemingly unending controversies since its establishment. Successive federal governments have, through the Ministry, interpreted and implemented their masterplan for the development of the Niger Delta region. I have no doubt that Momoh has good intentions for the region and sincere ones at that too. He has demonstrated the same through many of his decisions and actions.
First things first, Mr. President’s appointment of Momoh as the Minister of Niger Delta Development underscores the President’s interest in fast-tracking development in the region and his desire for results. Momoh has vast experience in public service and a rare administrative finesse. He has the reputation to curry favor across the region as well as gain the trust of the various interest groups in the region. His ministerial appointment is a huge boost for the federal government and the search for lasting solutions to the problems of the region.
Mr. President has provided the region someone who will truly be a rallying point for the people as well as a reliable bridge between the government and the people. This is a major step in the federal government’s quest to find lasting solutions to the plethora of problems in the region.
Secondly, as the Niger Delta Ministry swing into full gear under the new leadership of Minister Momoh with a renewed commitment to achieving its mandate, I have no doubt that his focus will be directed towards result-oriented and impactful activities within a short period in the Ministry. His tenure in the Ministry will undoubtedly leave indelible footprints that will make President Buhari and Nigerians proud.
Just to add that Abubakar Momoh holds a master’s degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Lagos, and he is a registered member of the Nigerian Society of Engineers and the Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN). He is also a fellow of the Institute of Public Administration (FPA) and holds a master’s degree in Public Administration from Ambrose Ali University, Ekpoma.
Moreover, Abubakar Momoh is an esteemed holder of many traditional titles in Edo North, including the titles of Otsegbhe of Okpella Kingdom, Ezomo of Three Ibie Kingdom, Udi of Auchi Sacred Kingdom, Obhada of Okpe Kingdom, and Okhai of South Ibie Kingdom.