WARRI/Nigeria: The Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission, DESOPADEC had been accused of serving the interest of government and politicians, neglecting the oil producing communities it was formed to serve.
This observation was made by a frontline Niger Delta Community Leader, Comrade Mulade Sheriff, who has called on Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State to dissolve and restructure Commission, into an ethnic development agency.
Comrade Mulade in a press release Tuesday, May 14, 2019 made available to our reporter, alleged that DESOPADEC had drifted from the original purpose for which it was established, that is, to develop oil producing communities of the State.
He opined that the Commission now serves the State Government to the detriment of the host communities due to the antics of some politcians who enjoy and feed on the rots, administrative imbalances, as well as misappropriation in the agency, borne out of unbridled and endemic corruption and political favouritism.
He alleged that the current DESOPADEC is a monumental fraud used by some unpatriotic State government officials to rob oil producing communities of their much needed socio-economic development in order to enrich themselves with over-invoiced contracts and fake development schemes.
Comrade Mulade therefore called on Governor Ifeanyi Okowa to abolish the current structure bedeviled by misappropriation, deception and secrecy, and adopt an ethnic development Commission, where the people will feel the impact of the agency, with the communities choosing their respective credible and trusted ethnic representatives in a democratic process devoid of political manipulation.
Comrade Mulade pointed out that the purpose of establishing DESOPADEC has been compromised, as the interventionist agency allegedly now serves parochial interests of only PDP or the Governor’s loyalists who are appointed into the Board of the Commission.
He claimed that the Board and Management of DESOPADEC had deviated from its original vision and mission by engaging in elephant projects to impress the Government instead of building physical structures in the oil producing communities that need urgent development.
Comrade Mulade urged Governor Ifeanyi Okowa to restructure the Commission comprising the five ethnic groups with the current sharing formula or percentages, and establish same as an Ethnic Development Agency. He said this would create a sense of ownership among the ethnic groups and also an enabling environment for rapid development in the State.
He said a restructured DESOPADEC would help to eradicate a situation where the Board of the agency easily diverts the Commission’s money into meaningless or dubious projects.
The environment and human rights activist strongly urged Governor Okowa and the Delta State Government to overhaul the agency now, instead of reconstituting a new Board with fraudulent politicians, in the interest of oil producing communities of Delta State.