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Ogboru slams Okowa over oil-producing communities

By Sony Neme, Asaba
28 December 2018   |   3:55 am
Delta State gubernatorial standard-bearer of All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief Great Ovedje Ogboru, has lamented the neglect of oil producing communities in the state despite the 13 per cent derivation fund from the Federal Government.

I remain Delta North Senatorial candidate, Uboh insists
Delta State gubernatorial standard-bearer of All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief Great Ovedje Ogboru, has lamented the neglect of oil producing communities in the state despite the 13 per cent derivation fund from the Federal Government.

According to the Ogboru campaign organization, “The 13 per cent derivation granted to oil producing communities in Nigeria was not served on them as a la carte or pro bono gift rather, it was a product of years of sustained struggle by indigenes of oil producing communities against inhuman and conquest policies engendered by the defunct Federal Military Government on petroleum exploration and exploitation.”

But, while speaking when he signed the appropriation bill into law, Governor Okowa said his administration has worked in harmony with the state legislature to put Delta State first. He added that in the last three and half years “we have been able to impact positively on infrastructure development, we have constructed roads, built a lot of schools, improved on the health facilities; and provided a lot of jobs for Deltans.”

A member of the campaign team, Mr. Cogent Owhe, told The Guardian that the 13 per cent derivation fund was a policy that took away the rights of the affected indigenes negatively exposed to harmful and debilitating living conditions.He recalled that the prolonged agitation that birthed the concession came at high costs, stressing that some indigenes paid the supreme price during the struggle, while others were maimed and several villages burnt down for daring to confront government.

Owhe stated: “Eventually, the almighty Federal Government, realising that coercive tactic did not succeed in browbeating our people, had to bow to the steel will of the deprived people of oil producing communities by agreeing to re-legalize the rights of the once oppressed and denied people. 
“That was the beginning of the incremental implementation of that epoch policy, which ultimately rose from 1.5 per cent to the present 13 percent in a journey that witnessed judicial interventions.

“At the twilight of James Ibori’s administration, when DESOPADEC was established to manage the 13 percent derivation fund to assuage the sufferings of the people directly affected by the hazardous exploration activities that fell below the minimum threshold of global standards, there were genuine efforts by the Ibori government and that of his immediate successor, Dr. Uduaghan, to address the needs of the people mostly affected.”He explained that that gesture was an acknowledgement of the labour of the people, who midwifed the concession from the ‘imperial Federal Government’ of the military era, which eroded the extant rights of the people at independence, before the military seized the reins of power

Owhe regretted that just when indigenes of the oil producing communities started getting used to enjoying the relief, their rights were taken away by Governor Okowa, “who began to act as an imperial governor.”

He disclosed that for close to four years that Okowa has been in office, despite the total sum of about N500billion released by the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari for projects in the oil producing communities of Isoko, Itsekiri, Ijaw, Ndokwa and Urhobo, there is nothing on ground in the communities to show for the dedicated allocations.
While maintaining that Okowa has contempt and disdain for people of those areas, the Ogboru campaign chief said the governor couldn’t point to any single infrastructure worth N250 million from the money in any of the entitled communities.

Declaring that the March 2, 2019 governorship election in the state would be a referendum on Okowa’s four years in office, Owhe said: “If Okowa can be this mindless and insensitive to divert funds meant to improve the environmental and living conditions of a people, who are continually subjected to the harshest conditions of living, “Where gas is flared daily into the atmosphere and noxious chemicals injected into the environment, at a time when his second tenure is still at stake, one wonders how the people would be treated by the governor when there is no second term at stake if re-elected as governor? Yet, the governor expects people from those 19 local government areas to foolishly cast their votes to return him to Dennis Osadebe Government House.”

The media officer explained that the dedicated allocations meant to alleviate the sufferings of the oil producing communities that make about 80 per cent of the entire Delta State population that “Okowa wasted on inanities could have been judiciously used in establishing a modular refinery.”He noted that the modular refinery could have, in turn, generated direct employment for 1, 500 people and another indirect employment for about 2,500 people with unimaginable multiplier effect on the economy.

According to him, “Any person who cares and   has the welfare of his people at heart knows that N500 billion is enough to establish a modular refinery with a daily production capacity of 1, 000 barrels of crude oil. This statistic, which is easily accessible, does not matter to Governor Okowa, because “he is only interested in acquiring power to enslave and impoverish Deltans.”

Owhe maintained that Chief Ogboru has laid out a manifesto centred on growing the economy of the state, providing jobs for teeming youths and providing sustainable standard infrastructure for social services, stressing, “This is the hallmark of good vision and greatness, which Chief Ogboru seeks to inject into the governance of our state.” 

He said Deltans at large should be grateful to God for providing the state with an alternative clear choice in the person of Chief Ovedje Ogboru of APC, adding that he has offered himself to provide Deltans, irrespective of ethnicity, with an accountable and transparent government.

Owhe noted, “Chief Great Ogboru’s rich resume and integrity are assets that Deltans can invest their faith in, in preference to the present incumbent, who has foisted stagnation and pain on us. Clearly, as Deltans approach the polling booths to cast their votes, the inspiring vision of Chief Ogboru should be the dominant emotion and picture in their minds. Deltans have only one direction in 2019 and that is voting massively to elect Chief Great Ovedje Ogboru as the fifth democratically elected governor of Delta State.

Meanwhile, APC candidate for Delta North Senatorial District, Doris Uboh, has debunked claims by Mrs. Marian Alli, whom she defeated at the party’s primary election in Asaba, that a phantom Abuja High Court ruling has replaced her, saying Anioma people should be wary of such deceptive and mischievous stories.

While reiterating that she remains the party’s flag bearer, Uboh declared: “The attention of Hon. Doris Uboh Campaign organization, has been drawn to a misleading media publication, mainly on social media, that a High Court in Abuja had disqualified Mrs. Doris Uboh as Delta North Senatorial candidate of APC for the 2019 general elections, by Mrs. Marian Ali, and also used by her supporters to instigate the populace against the popular choice that our principal represents.”

In a release made available to The Guardian, the media team leader of Hon. Doris Uboh Campaign Organization Mr. Joseph Adimabua, described the claims by Alli as thrash and calculated attempt to blackmail and scandalise the APC candidate.

He added: “As a team that understands the power of information and the media, we wish to state here clearly that as at the time of this publication, this Thursday, December 26, 2018, Hon. Doris Uboh remains APC candidate for Delta North Senatorial District on the INEC list for 2019 general elections, and the said judgement being paraded by Marian Alli has nothing to do with her candidacy.”The campaign organization urged the people, especially the teeming supporters of Uboh, to disregard the mischievous and misleading joke about a judgment of disqualification, as Hon. Doris Uboh remains the APC candidate and agent of Anioma renewal.

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