By Perez Brisibe
MANAGING Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Delta State Oil Producing Area Development Commission, DESOPADEC, Chief Askia Ogieh, Monday, stated that the commission is on a positive paradigm shift geared towards the development of the oil producing areas in the state.
The position by Askia is coming just as the commissioner representing Itsekiri ethnic nationality on the DESOPADEC board, Mr. Giftson Omatsuli expressed commendation on the efforts of the interventionist agency, stressing that, “DESOPADEC has been fair to Itsekiri nation based on the level of projects in the area.”
Askia, during the DESOPADEC Town Hall meeting with stakeholders from Itsekiri nation with the theme, “The Itsekiri nation at a development crossroad: The way forward,” assured them that, based on the production quantum accrued to them and with their son, Michael Diden as chairman, the Itsekiri nation should expect positive developmental strides from the board.
In his keynote address, the DESOPADEC boss who was flanked by other executives and heads of department of the commission, said: “We are here for the purpose of change in paradigm shift that we have brought to DESOPADEC. After getting the advice from the governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa on the need to restrategize, the commission decided to have a change in our approach to budgeting.
“You will agree with me that before now, projects were inputted into the budget and in most cases, these projects were not funded because they were not originally planned for by the commission.
“Also, some of these projects are vandalized by the locals who see them as DESOPADEC projects, without a sense of ownership of these projects, hence, to checkmate this trend, we felt the need to feel the pulse of the people and embark on projects that will positively affect them directly.”
Harping on prioritising ongoing projects by the commission, he explained that 60 percent of funding meant for Itsekiri nation which has the highest production quantum of 29 percent will go into the completion of ongoing projects, while 40 percent will be budgeted for new projects agreed upon after deliberations at the Town Hall meeting.
Speaking further, he explained that priority will also be placed on human capital development, noting that the commission is doing all within its power to ensure that the projects are spread across the length and breadth of Itsekiri nation for the people to feel the impact of the commission.
On his part, Mr. Giftson Omatsuli who applauded the commission on its efforts so far, said: “Having gone round Itsekiri nation for an assessment of DESOPADEC projects, I can say that based on the production quantum of the Itsekiri nation, the commission has been fair to us and it is obvious that DESOPADEC is on ground.
“We believe that at the end of this meeting, the people will bare their mind for a fruitful deliberation as I already have a compendium of DESOPADEC projects in the area which will be presented to the commission alongside recommendations from this town hall meeting.”