The chairman, Board of Trustees (BoT), Oil and Solid Mineral Producing Areas Landlords’ Association of Nigeria (OMPALAN), Bishop Udo Azogu, has said that association was not established to oppose government or constituted authority but, to contribute in strengthening corporate governance by identifying and plugging dangerous loopholes in governance.
Speaking at the inauguration of the Local Government Executive Committees (LECs), Imo State, in Oguta recently, he declared: “As a self-help effort we must make the necessary sacrifice by working together to guarantee a brighter future for mineral producing states and place the country on a sound competitive edge on the African market.
“As we approach the 2019 general elections, I call on our members and supporters across the country to obtain their voter’s cards and use their ballot papers effectively to deliver credible candidates. We believe our organization can play a pivotal role in deciding the country’s representatives at the various levels of governance.
“The association does not belong to any political party. However, we encourage our members and supporters to identify with credible candidates from the various political parties who are OMPALAN- compliant in working to preserve the environment of impacted communities. It is my sincere desire that our members and supporters will contribute to a free, peaceful, credible and transparent electoral process by shunning every untoward action in the build-up to 2019.
“We call on the INEC and security organizations to shore up their constitutional responsibilities and ensure that the 2019 general elections are conducted with the highest assurances of transparency and credibility. We also call on politicians to play by the rules and engage in practices that will revive the appeal of electioneering campaigns compatible with civilized climes.”
Azogu disclosed that, “the association is rattled by the recent intra-party rift in the All Progressives Congress (APC), that degenerated into open insult to the Office of the Governor of Imo State. The Office of the Governor deserves the utmost respect and should be shielded from ochestrated vendetta.
“Governor Rochas Okorocha does not deserve the avalanche of vituperation by his party members. We in OMPALAN believe that nobody is perfect and issues should be resolved with decorum. It is the firm belief in OMPALAN that all the dissenting camps in every political party should resolve their differences and present a common front to be able to coast to victory in the coming elections. We also advise Okorocha as the APC leader in the state to carry other aspirants along in the spirit of accommodation and compromise.”
OMPALAN congratulated the National Assembly for passing the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB), “intended to revamp the redundant labour market and usher in greater transparency and accountability in the management of the country’s petroleum resources. It is the earnest expectations of mineral producing areas and indeed Nigerians of goodwill that President Muhammadu Buhari expeditiously assents to the PIGB to end the industry’s perennial vulnerability to massive exploitation and graft.
“We believe the independence of the three arms of government is necessary to strengthen corporate governance and sustain our democracy. OMPALAN calls on the Federal Government not to review the onshore-offshore dichotomy, which has helped to stabilize the polity. It is our sincere desire that the Presidency adopts the association’s blue-print on sustainable peace, security and effective monitoring mechanism of palliative programs to impacted areas called Mining Security & Monitoring Agency of Nigeria (MISMAN) in addressing socio-economic imbalances in mineral producing areas of Nigeria.”
Azogu, who is also the state leader of the association said: “LEC is the executive arm that administers the affairs of OMPALAN at the local government level. It is composed of the chairman, secretary, treasurer, district chairmen and district secretaries from the constituent LGAs. OMPALAN is a Federal Government-recognized umbrella NGO composed of stakeholders in the oil, gas and solid minerals industry across Nigeria.
“The organisation seeks to maintain the peace, strengthen corporate governance and ensure the adoption of highest safety standards in the production of mineral resources across the Country. It also seeks to create wealth in host communities through the realization of critical infrastructure and provides effective interface aimed at domesticating popular policies of governments at the grassroots.
“The chairmen of LECs have, therefore, a great responsibility in ensuring the success of the organization at the grassroots levels of districts and communities. It is important to note that OMPALAN is a critical NGO established by law to promote social interactions and create a conducive investment climate for legitimate business concerns in the areas of mineral development in the country.”
Participants at the meeting included: External Affairs Coordinator: Igwe Dr. Azubuike Ndubuaku; State Chairman, Ken Ekwueme; Facilitator, Chief Ihem Davis; Facilitator, Prof. Uzoma Emmanuel; Deputy Chairman, Chief Lakas Onuigwe; Secretary; Okpara Kelechukwu Obioma; Liaison Officer, Chief Aloy Anele; Woman Leader, Dr. F. N. Nwulu and Youth Leader, Comrade John Nwulu.
Local government chairmen in attendance included; Chief Fidelis Enyia, Ohaji/Egbema; Rev Canon E. O. Onwubie, Oguta; Prince Amanze Nwakweh, Ezinihitti; Ugochukwu Williams, Owerri Municipal; Ogu Onuma, Owerri West; Chris Onwukwe, Mbaitolu; Ejike Azubuike, Okigwe; Emma Okafor, Orlu; Chief Ike Umunna, Oru West; Prince Anyanador, Oru East; Innocent Onwuemeyi, Isu; Ifeanyi Onwuakaije, Nwangele; Okwuchi Okeke, Obowu; Dr. Louis Ugwuolo, Aboh Mbaise; Felix Ogoke, Ihite Uboma; Emeka Ohaegbu, Ehime Mbano; Mrs. Nneka Ndukwu, Ideato South and Pastor George Nwadike, Nkwere.