-From Our Correspondent:
The Isoko clusters of Oil Producing Communities of the four flow stations that constitute a major part of the Oil Mining Lease (OML) 30 on Friday December 14th 2018, pulled out of the newly constituted Community Development Board (CDB) set up to operate the new GMOU for the Lease; alleging gross marginalization and breach of an earlier agreement on rotating the principal positions in the CDB executive between the clusters.
Speaking to reporters at the Multipurpose Hall Edjeba, Warri, after the walk out of the Isoko cluster members, their chairman Dr. Patrick Oboghor who is also the President General of Igbide Community cluster 6, chairman of the Isoko cluster president generals forum stated that before now, there was an agreement that based on Isoko production quantum in OML 30 which stands at 65% and the lack of equity in the constitution and operation of the last Board, the Isoko group had insisted on having a separate Board for the Isoko clusters.
But based on the intervention of the state Governor, Senator Dr. Ifeayi Okowa , the Isoko people had reluctantly agreed to remain in the Board when his Excellency directed that Isoko should produce the next chairman of the Board. The Governor further directed that there should be a swap of all positions hitherto held by both Urhobo and Isoko members in the previous Board.
According to Dr. Oboghor, the Isoko cluster had arrived the venue of the inauguration of the new Board on the strength of a formal invitation letter signed by one Barrister Emamuzo Erebe, a Director in the ministry of Justice, Asaba to behold a grand design to stage manage the election of the former chairman of the dissolved Board who is Urhobo as chairman of the new Board. This he said was most provocative, insulting and against the directive of the state Governor.
Also speaking, the Secretary of Isoko president general’s forum and also President General of Uzere Community Barrister John Urete lamented the ugly twist which he said negates the spirit of brotherliness, equity, fairness and integrity. He insisted that the Isoko cluster will not be part of the charade and mindless scheming to undermine the capacity and peaceful disposition of the Isoko people.
The secretary maintained that Isoko land is a foremost oil producing ethnic nationality and indeed the second place where oil was found in Nigeria and that the recent action calculated to lord it over the Isoko people will be resisted at all cost. He called on Heritage Energy Operational services and the Delta state government to quickly put machineries in place to constitute a separate Board for the Isoko people since they no longer have confidence in the process which bears the toga of a master servant relationship.
Speaking in the same vein, Sir Mathias Eto, a member of the new Board from Oleh cluster stated that the Board is not political but a sensitive one as it is meant to handle various issues relating to management of funds, projects and production quota amongst others. Adding that, the GMOU is quite specific on the rotation of the various positions amongst major stakeholders just like it is done in NDDC, DESOPADEC and other organizations or agencies particularly in the oil producing areas of the Niger Delta.
Another board member, Elder Daniel Olokor from Uzere cluster 9 said the walk out, though peaceful is a signal that the Isoko Nation can no longer be taken for granted in the scheme of things particularly when Isoko remains the largest producer in the OML.
In his reaction, Chief Iduh Amadhe, President-General of Isoko Development Union, condemned the action which he described as betrayal of trust, height of insensitivity, display of greed and unbridled drive to marginalize the Isoko people who are the largest producer in the OML 30. He then called for a quick reversal to the original agreement; otherwise a separate board be created for the Isoko people to avoid imminent crisis in the operations of the four Isoko flow stations in the Mining Lease. He added that the Isoko people will register their grievance with the state governor to seek immediate redress on this expected affront on Isoko people.
As at the time of filing the report, the management of Heritage Energy Operational Services Ltd could not be reached neither was the call placed to Barr. Emamuzo Erebe, who is the representative of the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice was not picked. He however replied our text message that as a civil servant, ‘he is not allowed to speak to the press.
Other Isoko cluster leaders present at the press briefing include the President General of Olomoro Cluster 5, Pastor Agboro Blessing, Engineer Francis Egho, President-General of Otor Owhe Cluster 8 and Board members from all the Isoko clusters.