By Festus Ahon
ASABA—THE member representing Ika South constituency in Delta State House of Assembly, Mr Festus Okoh, yesterday, said he had not abandoned his pursuit for inclusion of Ika nation as an oil and gas producing area in the state despite the rejection of his motion in that regard on the floor of the House.
Speaking with journalists on his two years achievements as a member of the state legislature, Okoh said that his interest in ensuring that his people get quality representation and were not short-changed in the scheme of things has remained paramount in his heart, adding that his constituents have never had it so good.
“Pan Ocean Company is seriously exploring oil in Obiayima and other neighbouring communities in Ika South. I sponsored a motion on the floor of the House for inclusion of Ika nation as an oil and gas producing area but it failed because what is being produced in the locality has not been linked to the Forcados Trunk Line,” he said.
“Once that is done, the quantum of production will be known and will be used to calculate the benefits accruable to the area as oil and gas producing as in the case of others. Then I know my colleagues will support me and the law establishing DESOPADEC will be amended to include Ika nation.”
The lawmaker who commended the development strides of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa’s government in Ika South, said “With the pragmatic leadership of Dr Okowa, I was able to attract a reasonable number of projects to my constituency, including schools and roads infrastructure.
“I also embarked on empowerment programmes with special interest in education in which my scholarship takes care of over 1500 students on yearly basis. My desire is to expand it. The various youths scheme introduced by the state government to teach them how to fish instead of giving them fish to eat, have done a lot to engage the younger generation. The only challenge is that many of them had always wanted quick money, instead of involving on trade that is enduring. I am very optimistic that things will change for better.
“My defection from Accord Party, which I came into the House in 2015 to Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has helped a lot in providing the needed representation for my people. Before my defection, if I call meeting in my constituency, some key persons will not attend for fear of being branded anti party. But now, they all gathered around me to discuss ways forward for Ika South, possibly due to the commendable performance of the PDP led government in the state.
“When the governor came to the local government for commissioning of projects last week and for a town hall meeting, the reception was overwhelming which was evidence of the people preparedness to support him to victory come 2019.”