From: Bamigbola Gbolagunte, Akure
Youths from the oil producing communities of Ondo State have protested against the appointment of Mr. Gbenga Edema as the Chairman of Ondo State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (OSOPADEC).
The protesting youths also threatened to return to the creeks and shut down oil installation and operations in the state should their demands are not met within a stipulated period.
The youths, who were majorly from Ugbo Kingdom in Ilaje Local Government Area of the state, said the choice of Edema was against the wish of the people of the area as he was not an indigene of any of the oil producing community in the state.
The protesters, who carried placards with various inscriptions such as: “Ugbo People Demand for their Right”, “Oil Communities in Ugbo Kingdom say no to Gbenga Edema” and “Oil Producing Communities demand for their Mandate” caused a gridlock on major roads in Akure the state capital.
The protesters also blocked the road leading to the governor’s office in Alagbaka and insisted that the Governor should address them before leaving the road.
Chairman, Ugbo Youths Association, Mr. Sunday Nana, said it was appalling that the commission’s chairman was appointed against the Act that established it.
He alleged that, “The state government has imposed Edema and we are baffled because he is not from an oil producing community. In the history of Ondo State, this has never happened and Akeredolu’s decision is detrimental to our destiny because it is an injury to the entire Ugbo kingdom.”
“The act is so clear and it states that it is only the host communities that can benefit from all benefits accrue to the Commission. So, what Akeredolu has done now is against the OSOPADEC Act, 2003. We are saying that he should return our right because we cannot stand this injustice while our right is being taken to another area.” he added.
According to him, “Edema is from Mahin while the Secretary is from Ese-Odo and these communities are not oil producing communities. The other representatives are on part time in the commission and two are given to us, meaning that if chairman and the secretary decide not to call meeting for the next one year, it means that the owner of the oil will not be involved.”