Ijaw Core Oil and Gas Producing Kingdoms slam Okowa over DESOPADEC appointment

By Enaibo Asiayei

The Association of Ijaw Youth Leaders of Core Oil and Gas Producing Kingdoms in Delta State has petitioned the Delta State Government and House of Assembly over the Chairmanship nominee of Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission.

The petition was signed on July 21 by Comrade Bibo Ogbona, President, Ogbe-Ijoh Warri Kingdom Youth Council; Comrade Christopher Wuruyai, President, Gbaramatu Youth Council; Barr. Famous Bigha, Egbema Youth Council; and Comrade Okilo Anthony Waterwei, President, Ogulagha Community Youth Association.

The group also gave the State Government 14 days ultimatum to reverse the DESOPADEC appointment, insisting it is infraction of the law setting up the agency.

According to the statement, “Whilst we are not quarreling with the smuggling of Ika ethnic group into DESOPADEC lately and profiting them with a board membership position for the first time; we are saddened by your marginalization of Ijaw who have borne so much environmental and occupational hardship due to the oil resource contributions to the state.”

The Ijaw group premised their demands on Section 7 of the DESOPADEC law 2015 provides as follows:

(1) (b)” The appointment of the chairman, members, the managing director and executive directors shall be on rotational basis amongst the oil producing areas of the state.

“(c) in compliance with paragraph (b) of subsection (1) above, any oil producing nationality that has produced or is producing a chairman of the commission shall not succeed itself.”

They further added, “The simple intention of the aforesaid provisions is to ensure that no one ethnic group should produce the chairman of the governing board of DESOPADEC in succession.

“Hon. Godwin Ebosa is the immediate past chairman of DESOPADEC, and he is an Itsekiri from Warri North Local Government Area. Mr. Michael Diden is Hon. Godwin Ebosa’s older cousin from Warri North Local Government Area; an Itsekiri. This is a flagrant abuse of the spirit and letter of the DESOPADEC law 2015.

Furthermore, section 11 (v) of the DESOPADEC law provides that the office of the Chairman of the board shall become vacant if he is otherwise disqualified by any law in force in Delta State. In view of this provision of the DESOPADEC law, any attempt to proceed with screening and swearing of Mr. Michael Diden as chairman of DESOPADEC will be an exercise in futility. It will be resisted by all means possible.

“That you have so soon forgotten the critical roles Ijaws played to your nomination and emergence as PDP flag bearer in the 2015 general elections.

“That you have so soon forgotten the hard fought votes produced from the Ijaw areas both in 2015 general elections.

“That you should not so soon forget that other than the statutory DESOPADEC Executive Director and member from Egbema and Ogbe-Ijoh Kingdoms respectively no one person from the aforementioned kingdoms was appointed into any key board or agency in the state in your first tenure. Please check your records and prove otherwise.

“That you should not so soon forget as you have often been reminded that the Ijaws are second to none in oil production in the state in spite of claims bandied here and there by others.”

The group listed, “The famous Forcados Oil Terminal, The Southbank Flowstation, The Northbank Flowstation, The Forcados – Yokiri Integrated Gas Plant, Yokiri Flowstation, Yokiri Compressor Station, The Critical crude oil loading platform, Estuary Flowstation I, Estuary Flowstation II, Afremor A & B Flowstations, Nigeria Agip Company owned Beniboye Flowstation, Ogulagha stake in the Meji Flowstation, Brittania U operated FPSO Flowstation, and Oando and Sogenail Ltd Operated marginal fields,” as some assets in their area.

The group also frowns at exclusion of Ijaws from the nomination of Judges to the State bench, ” It is a widely circulated fact that there is a proposed elevations in the judiciary and twelve (12) nominees from each senatorial district; it is amazing that there is not one Ijaw out of the 12 nominees from Delta South Senatorial District

“This is preposterous, worrisome and disgusting to say the least. More worrisome is that our son, the Deputy Governor, an outstandingly irrepressible and dignified character has assumed crude passivity, mute indifference and cold complicity.”