“Reverse DESOPADEC Chairmanship Position Or Face Shutdown Of Oil Facilities”—Ijaw Youth Leaders Warn Okowa

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Association of Ijaw Youth Leaders of the Core Oil and Gas Producing Kingdoms in Delta State, have warned governor Ifeanyi Okowa to as matter of urgency and importance reversed immediately the appointment of the chairman of the Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission, (DESOPADEC), or face severe shutdown of oil facilities in the area.

Governor Okowa had last week nominated and forwarded the names of chairman, managing director and members of the new board of DESOPADEC to the state house of Assembly for screening and confirmation which the house has done Tuesday.

In a strong worded protest letter entitled “An Open Letter To Governor Ifeanyi Okowa On The Unbecoming Undermine Of The Ijaw Economic And Political Contributions And A 14 Day Ultimatum To Reverse The Illegal DESOPADEC Chairmanship Appointment Or Risk The Shutting Down Of Oil Assets In Our Domain”, addressed to governor Okowa and the statehouse of Assembly gave the governor a 14 day ultimatum to reverse the appointment.

The letter, signed by Bibo Ogbona, President, Ogbe-Ijoh Warri Kingdom Youth Council, Christopher Wuruyai, President, Gbaramatu Youth Council, Famous Bigha, Egbema Youth Council and Okilo Anthony Waterwei, President, Ogbulagha Community Youth Association, obtained by our correspondent, insisted that the appointment was infraction of the law setting up DESOPADEC.

The youth leaders however accused the state governor of “illegally smuggling” in his Ika ethnic nationality, a non oil producing area into the DESOPADEC to reap from where his kinsmen did not sowed, adding 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 and the hard fought votes produced from the Ijaw areas both in 2015 general elections.”

The youth leaders mentioned some of the oil facilities in their areas to be shutdown to include famous Forcados Oil Terminal, Southbank Flowstation, Northbank Flowstation, Forcados – Yokiri Integrated Gas Plant, Yokiri Flowstation, Yokiri Compressor Station, Critical crude oil loading platform, Estuary Flowstation I, Estuary Flowstation II, Afremor A & B Flowstations, Nigeria Agip Company owned Beniboye Flowstation among others.

“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. Section 7 (1) (b) of the DESOPADEC law 2015 provides that 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. 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 inspite of claims bandied here and there by others.

“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.”, the letter stated.

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