Economists have said that man’s needs are insatiable. This puts man in a disadvantaged position of strugglibg right from his juvenile to adulthood, to meet his ever increasing needs. Just as man’s personal needs are without limits, so are the collective needs of citizens in a society, leaving the government whose sovereignty covers the geographical location of that society, with the burden of making provisions to meet those needs.
For the Niger Delta extraction of the Nigerian state, the dire need for development had prompted the establishment of the Niger Delta Development Commission to serve as a channel through which the government build a workable development template, as well as reach out to the region with developmental projects.
Prevous administrations had done their part and exited the stage, but the unending needs of man individually and collectively left more for the succeeding ones. With the Buhari administration on the saddle in the last seven years, it looked more like very little was heard of its role in pushing the NDDC objectives until the recent publication of a list of projects completed by the present administration.
One of the first things this writer learnt in a political communication class was “do good and tell the public”. As it stands, unfolding events, including the reaction of surprise, if not shock, from Niger Deltans since the said publication must have caused information managers of government at the federal level to realise the wideness of the gap they left open in that aspect of political communication.
For a government that is not expected to end the collective needs of citizens, 2,506 completed projects to serve only one of the six regions in the country is enough good to tell the public about. The present administration may have its flaws, but this is an area of strength well proven, and moreso with a clear mind and such spiirit of accountability that pushed it further to compile and publish a comprehensive list of the said projects.
The focus for Nigerians in the region should henceforth be on the impacts of the completed projects and how much use they can put it to, towards meeting the collective needs of the host communities. Rather than sit to expect goverenment to come down from the federal capital city to show them how best to make benefits from the projects, the communities can interface with the goverenment through the authorities mandated to oversee the respective facilities on how best policies can be framed to be in their best interest. And where projects were executed without proper consultations and needs assessment, they can as well suggest to government areas where adjustments can be made so as to maximise impacts.
Another area of concern should be on the sustainability of the delivered projects. Infrastructure, admittedly, wear out over time, which further contributes to the endless list of collective needs. However, the worry has been more on inadequate maintenance culture and or vandalism of public facilities than on the former. Hence the need for individuals and groups in benefiting communities alike to device ways to protect these facilities, ensuring their sustenance as well as enduring collective good.