—Also talk of employment and empowerment – King Timiyan
By Loveth Ojogun
The Managing Director, Delta State Oil Producing Area Development Commission, DESOPADEC, Chief Askia Ogieh, has said the commission decided to embark on town hall meetings with oil-producing ethnic groups in the state in a bid to ensure that the people own projects established in their domain.
Askia, flanked by executives, made the disclosure Wednesday, September 20, 2019, at Effurun, during a townhall/stakeholders meeting organized by representatives of the Ijaw ethnic nationality.
According to the DESOPADEC boss, the essence of the town hall meetings was to impact a change in the way and manner projects are being executed under the commission.
He said, “We have decided to have a change in the way and manner things are being done in the commission particularly in the area of project execution.
“We discovered before now that projects were cited based on our (commission) own wisdom and not of immediate importance to the people.
“We want to bridge that gap and that is why we are here to hear from the people and know what they want.
“I choose to personally be present in the meetings to hear from the people and to get their inputs on the budget which will be drawn based on the 27 per cent accrued to the Ijaw ethnic nation.”
DESOPADEC Ijaw Ethnic representatives and organizers of the event, Dr. Paul Benenimibo and Shedrack Agediga, Commissioner and Executive Director, Planning, Research and Strategy, informed their people that a new order has been envisioned by them.
According Agediga, “This meeting is a one agenda meeting, we invited everybody so that we can sit down and talk about projects that communities will take ownership of and have impact on the people, we don’t want to do things that will not have impact in the communities.”
Also speaking Dr. Paul Bebenimibo in his words, “DESOPADEC that is created to impact positively on communities that are producing oil is supposed to take the bottom top approach in planning, and that is why we are now adopting that approach in the grassroots process.”
They promised to change the narrative so that development will be achieved.
On their parts, monarchs from the Ijaw nation charged the board members not to disappoint the state governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa on his mandate in repositioning the commission.
Speaking on behalf of the monarchs, the Pere of Ogulagha kingdom, HRM Joseph Timiyan, said, “This is a new dawn; we have not experienced it before now.
“I know this is a corrective measure being carried out by the governor, and I want to say that the board members should not disappoint him.
“We are always talking of projects, but projects alone cannot give the people in the oil-bearing communities smile or happiness.
“But when we talk of projects, we must also talk of employment and empowerment which include giving funds to the people to embark on little businesses.”
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