Delta News

Ogulagha battles Okowa on DESOPADEC chairmanship, MD positions

2023: Okowa free to choose successor - Ijaw leader

–Says itsekiris and Urhobos have benefited

By Brakere Birinimighan

A group under the aegis of Concerned Indigenes of Ogulagha Kingdom in Burutu Local Government Area of Delta state has called on Governor Ifeanyi Okowa to appoint a native of Ogulagha as Chairman or Managing Director, Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (DESOPADEC).

The call was made in an open letter on June 2 2019 and signed by Mr. Godfrey Tare Pondi – Chairman; Comr. Doubra Okotete – Secretary ; and 85 leaders of the kingdom for the group of which GbaramatuVoice was in possession. 

They said the call was imminent in order for the governor to use his wisdom and address perceived skirmish that might occur between the people of the area and the state government. 

According to the group, they believed that their Kingdom met the criteria in the two laws which guide such position in DESOPADEC. That’s, oil producing areas and production quantum. 

The letter fingered that despite Ogulagha meeting with the criteria guiding position in DESOPADEC and being the second highest producer next to Itsekiri and cumulatively as an ethnic group (Ijaw) highest producers in the state, the Kingdom has been relegated to the background in the area of producing either the Chairman or Managing Director of the commision. 

Part of the letter calling on Okowa, read, “Your Excellency, inspite of this very privileged position that we occupy and the enormous support we availed your government through peaceful oil and gas production environment and the protection of critical oil and gas assets, the Ogulagha kingdom people have nothing to be proud of in terms of  DESOPADEC appointments.

“It will interest you to know that the Ogulagha kingdom people host critical national oil and gas  assets such as Forcados terminal, Forcados Yokiri integrated gas project, Yokiri Gaslight Station, Northbank, Southbank, Afremor A&B, Estuary, Yokiri, Beniniboye, Meji Flowstations, over 100 oil and gas wells operated peacefully by Shell, Agip, Chevron, Brittania-U etc.

“It will therefore not be too much to demand for the slot of Chairman or Managing Director of the Commission as critical stakeholders and at this time especially when our neighbours the itsekiris and urhobos have benefited the same positions.

“Another sad commentary is the perceived deliberate attempt to undermine the huge support of the ijaws in the just concluded general elections against all odds. It is disheartening to hear that the Ijaws were given a mere Senior Political Adviser portfolio at the wake of your political appointments; it is to say the least an insult to our collective sacrifice and is totally unacceptable.

“We also want to register our displeasure at another deliberate attempt by your government to shortchange the Ijaw people in terms of the number of Commissioners to represent an ethnic Nationality in the amended law that guides the Commission. It is unfortunate that Urhobos who by production quantum on which basis the Commission was founded produce three (3) Commissioners while the Ijaws with the highest production quantum are left to fight over one Commissioner slot. 

“We are hereby calling your Excellency to amend the law to either give the Ijaws more commissionership slots; hinged on the basis of production quantum or it should be reversed to as it were; when each ethnic nationality had a Commissioner to represent its interests. 

“Your Excellency, we will no longer accept to be treated as nobodies or second class citizens in this matter. And if this will be your approach in this second term to ridicule the ijaws in such a dehumanizing manner, we will have no choice but to resist any such attempt with all that is available to us.

“We know you as a man of impeccable character and standing, therefore we solicit your timely and expeditious resolution of this matter.

As always, count on our unalloyed support for a stronger Delta.”

The group however congratulated on his second term inauguration.

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