Rights activist, Chief Rita Lori-Ogbebor has said the Itsekiri of Delta State do not have a fair deal from the Delta State Oil Producing Development Commission (DESOPADEC).
Lori-Ogbebor, who spoke in Lagos on Sunday said the Itsekiri have not benefited anything from DESOPADEC since the commission was created despite the area producing the bulk of the crude oil explored in the state.
She said: “I fought hard for the creation of DESOPADEC. The reason for fighting for the commission has been defeated, there is nothing on the ground in Itsekiri to show what the commission has done for Itsekiri people; most projects have been abandoned. The hospital at Baterea and Gbokoda are uncompleted. I still cannot imagine that Itsekiri have no portable water supply. This matter was reported to the governor last year; he promised to look into it but till now nothing has been done.”
She said although the new board inaugurated by Governor Ifeanyi Okowa on Wednesday is led by an Itsekiri son, that the people will set up a committee to liaise with them to ensure the best interest of the area is served in DESOPADEC.
Itsekiri sons in the board include Michael Diden, Chairman; Daniel Mayuku, Executive Director; and Griftson Omatsuli, member.
However, Lori-Ogbebor said the representatives need close monitoring, as they have not performed optimally in previous assignments.
She further said: “Diden, we already know, he was one-time chairman of Warri South Local Government Area and represented Itsekiri on the same board he is now to chair. He was also the immediate past member representing Warri North constituency in the Delta State House of Assembly. His legislative duties were not felt during his tenure. Hon Mayuku has also been there for eight years as Chairman, House Committee on Finance and Appropriation at the Delta House of Assembly; we did not see his impact. Hon. Omatsuli has been a one-time member representing Warri South Constituency 1 at the state House of Assembly; he has not been tested at accountable leadership level.”
She charged the representatives to execute projects the people need and not “fancy projects” of their own choosing.
She said: “This point must be made clear to them. They shall account to the Itsekiri people at every point by disclosing to us how much of Itsekiri money is at their disposal and consulting with us at regular town hall meetings on how best to plough these funds for the greater good of the people. Anything short of this will be stiffly resisted. They remain and should remain trustees of our common wealth in DESOPADEC.”