Seeks more than one commissioner for Ijaw ethnic nationality
The most richest oil producing Ijaw Kingdom in Delta State, Ogulagha in Burutu Local Government Area has written a strong worded open letter to the Governor of Delta State, Sen. Dr. Ifeanyi A. Okowa to as a matter of urgency appoint an Ogulagha son to be the chairman or Managing Director, MD of the Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission, DESOPADEC.
This was contained in a gracefully written open letter to the Governor of Delta State dated June 2nd 2019 by Concerned Indigenes of Ogulagha Kingdom, a copy of which was sent to The Liberator Newspaper signed by Mr. Godfrey Tare Pondi, Chairman; Comr. Doubra Collins Okotete, secretary and over eighty four others drawn across all communities constituting the Kingdom.
The Concerned Indigenes of Ogulagha Kingdom had particularly charged the Governor of Delta State to address the DESOPADEC matter with wisdom, noting that the Kingdom must by all means become either the chairman of the commission or MD.
The letter had noted that Ogulagha as an oil producing Kingdom, hosting critical facilities and multinational oil companies is eminently qualified to get such appointments from the Delta state Government.
The people of Ogulagha kingdom had warned that the matter will not be taken lightly should there be any attempt from any quarter to deny them from enjoying such position, stressing that it is now its turn to produce the either of the aforementioned positions.
However, the letter had further frowned at the present arrangement of DESOPADEC where the Urhobos with lesser oil production compared to the Ijaw ethnic nationality will be producing three commissioners while the entire Ijaws are left to fight over one commissioner slot, stressing that if the Ijaws can’t produce more than one commissioner, then the amended DESOPADEC law should not be operational but the former one where each ethnic nationality will be having a commissioner to represents its interests be made to function.
The letter reads in part: “Your Excellency, we the undersigned Concerned Indigenes of Ogulagha Kingdom in Burutu LGA, wish to draw your attention to an urgent issue that requires your wisdom, tact and goodwill to address in order to avert an impending impasse between our people and the Delta State Government.
“Sir, the law setting up Desopadec is anchored on two critical pillars i.e oil producing areas and production quantum. You will agree with us that the Ogulagha kingdom people meet this criteria squarely.
“However, since the inception of the commission, we have been deprived the opportunity to produce either the Chairman or managing director inspite of the obvious fact that we are the second highest producer next to the Itsekiris and cumulatively as an ethnic group (Ijaw) we are the highest producers in the state.
“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.”