The RSSDA is an institutionalised continuation of its predecessor, the Rivers State Sustainable Development Program (RSSDP), which was initiated as an Ad-hoc Implementation Committee to accelerate grassroots development issues in Rivers State. The Federal Government of Nigeria set up the Ad-hoc committee in January 2006 within the context of the Gulf of Guinea Peace and Sustainable Development effort, the governments of Britain and the United States of America and major oil multi-nationals operating in the country.
During the ad-hoc working period, the then Attorney General of Rivers State, Odein Ajumogobia (SAN), chaired the RSSDP committee. Its membership was drawn from the other principal stakeholders comprising representatives of the oil companies, USAID, DFID, and the World Bank. RSSDA was later formally established as an autonomous entity under the office of the Executive Governor of Rivers State.
RSSDA formally started operations in January 2008 under the leadership of its pioneer Executive Director, Mr Bolaji Ogunseye, who was RSSDP’s Technical Team Leader and seconded to RSSDA from SHELL Nigeria.
In 2009, the Executive Governor, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Amaechi, appointed a supervisory chairman, Precious Omuku to oversee activities in the Agency and in February 2010, a new Executive Director/CEO, Mr. Noble Pepple, a seasoned administrator was seconded from SHELL to RSSDA as its Executive Director/CEO.