How far can Prof Nelson Brambaifa go, in trying to clear the rot in the NDDC, especially in the area of sharp practices in the award and execution of contracts? Or, will he be able to address the spate of abandoned projects in his home Bayelsa State?
Will Brambaifa be a willing tool in the siphoning of funds from the NDDC for the purpose of the 2019 elections in some states of the Niger Delta?
These are some of the questions begging for answers. His kinsmen, as excited as they are about his appointment, have expressed the concern about his willingness and readiness to pay attention to the bad records of the NDDC in the state.
Brambaifa, an Agbere son in the Sagbama Local Government Area of Bayelsa state, is a professor of pharmacology and was the Bayelsa State representative in the commission before now.
A cross section of Bayelsans who spoke to TNN on the development described the appointment of Brambaifa as a welcome development.
They expressed optimism that Brambaifa would pay keen attention to the numerous projects that were abandoned in the state by previous leaderships.
A public affairs analyst from Nembe local government area of the state, Mr. Solomon Olali-Igabo while expressing his confidence in the ability of the acting MD to deliver, also admonished him to be wary of what he termed as external influences, which according to him, had been the bane of the commission since its inception.
"So much is expected from Brambaifa because we know he will deliver. Before now, we have witnessed the abysmal performance of the NDDC.
"Bayelsa is one of the oil producing states. Most of the oil bearing communities are being short-changed for one reason or the other because there are some unseen hands that influence contracts, thereby leading to abandonment of projects.
"From records, Bayelsa has the highest number of abandoned NDDC projects among the states that make up the commission.
"Now that we have one of our own as the head of the board, what is expected of him is to correct the mistakes of past leaders of the commission", he added.
Another Bayelsan and publisher of the Niger Delta Herald newspaper, Mr. Francis Dufugha equally expressed some concerns.
He called on the new NDDC boss to address the issue of abandoned projects by the commission in the state which he said was worrisome.
"We are aware that among the nine states that constitute the politically contrived Niger Delta Development Commission, Bayelsa has the highest number of abandoned projects.
"The current government of Seriake Dickson constituted a committee to look into the activities of NDDC from inception to date and it was discovered that Bayelsa has the highest number of abandoned projects in all our communities.
"So today, we are happy that Brambaifa is holding the knife and is holding the yam. As Bayelsans, what we expect from him is to compel those contractors handling the abandoned projects to go back to site.
"Of course, the present federal government anchors all of its programmes on tackling corruption. All those who abandoned projects in the NDDC should be investigated, arrested and prosecuted.
So we expect more from Nelson Brambaifa; we are happy that he was saying that the federal government had begun to release a part of the N1.3trillion being owed the NDDC.
"With such money available, we know that Brambaifa will work. We know him, we have tried him before and we trust him. He was in Niger Delta University and even in the office of the NDDC here in Bayelsa.
"We know that he is capable of doing the job. Our expectation is that he should see to the end of all the abandoned projects and the new ones that are going to be initiated", he concluded.
Brambaifa took over the reign of the NDDC from Obong Nsima Ekere who tendered his resignation to enable him contest the 2019 governorship election in Akwa Ibom.
The general belief is that the NDDC is about one of the most corrupt government agencies in the country. It is believed that governments in power siphon funds from the commission for political purposes.
Contracts award in the NDDC are hardly known to go through due process. Provisions of the procurement law are hardly followed, especially in the area of advertising for the jobs. In many cases, contracts are believed to be up for sale to chains of buyers.
Because of the monies spent to buy the jobs, the executing contractors most times execute the jobs very poorly. It is now common knowledge that most NDDC jobs are either poorly handled or abandoned by contractors, largely owing to tendencies no unrelated to corrupt practices