OrderPaperToday – Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, has decried the marginalization of of Okpai clan of Ndokwa East Local Government Area in Delta State, and declared that it must end.
Senator Omo-Agege also stated that the Federal Government’s plan for a Federal University and other infrastructures in Ndokwa area of Delta State must not be allowed to fail.
Speaking in Abuja while receiving a delegation of Okpai Clan Development Committee (OCDC) in his office on Wednesday, Senator Omo-Agege noted that it was unbelievable that communities in Okpai and other parts of Ndokwa nation that continue to contribute significantly to the nation’s economy have been marginalised to the point that they hardly have any visible federal and state presence.
The delegation, which came to tender unreserved apologies to Senator Omo-Agege over the unruly behaviour of some of its youths during an earlier visit to Okpai, was led by OCDC Chairman, Comrade Amaechi Azugwuni.
He applauded the Delta Central lawmaker for the support given to sponsor of the bill seeking to establish an institution in the area, Senator Peter Nwaoboshi (PDP, Delta).
It would be recalled that the bill for the establishment of the Federal University of Agriculture and Technology, Aboh (FUATA) passed second reading on the floor of the Senate last week.
Reacting to some demands made by Azugwuni, especially on the marginalisation of the community in the areas of employment, federal appointments and inclusion of the Okpai community in the budget of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Omo-Agege said that he is determined to work with all stakeholders towards actualizing a power project that had remained on the drawing board for many years under various administrations until President Muhammadu Buhari administration decided to sign the contract in 2015.
“I have listened to the presentation from the Palace. It takes a big mind to apologise, especially when you are doing so on behalf of others.
“I hold nothing against the kingdom and its people; politics is about service. We are your servants and messengers.
“My proposed visit to Okpai the other day was very important because information had gotten to me about the marginalization of Okpai and indeed, the Ndokwa nation given the contributions you have made to the economy of this country with nothing to show for it in return.
“My attention was also drawn to the power project that had been on the drawing board for many years until President Muhammadu Buhari administration decided to sign the contract in 2015. We felt the power generated from the community is being evacuated into the national grid without being stepped down for the benefit of Delta north as originally conceived.
“That was why we visited to find out what the challenges were and see how we can step in and address it. I reached out to the Minister of Power, Permanent Secretary, those in TCN and the contractor to make themselves available to answer questions and educate me so that I would know what to do.
“I accept the apologies and we will reschedule that visit because that project is an APC administration project.
“We started it and we are determined to also complete it. We won’t allow those who are not stakeholders in that project to frustrate it. The President Buhari administration started it, he will finish it and the glory will go to the President,” he stated.
On the issue of abandoned NDDC projects, he promised to liaise with the Chairman of Senate Committee on NDDC, Senator Nwaoboshi to get the projects back on track in the Commission’s next budget.
He called for cooperation from all stakeholders to ensure that the proposed varsity comes to fruition.
He added: “As far as we are concerned, Okpai is part of Ndokwa East Local Government and also part of Ndokwa nation which is why the marginalization is not just about Okpai alone, it is the entire Ndokwa nation that has contributed so much to the economy of Nigeria, that is why myself and Senator Peter Nwaoboshi came together to fight to bring a Federal University to the Ndokwa Nation and decided to site it in Aboh.
“Whatever comes to Ndokwa nation comes to Okpai which is why we decided to bring higher education closer to the people, especially given your contribution to the nation’s economy”.
Earlier, Comrade Azugwuni emphasized that unruly youths whose rowdiness sabotaged Senator Omo-Agege’s visit to the community on May 29 this year, must have been sponsored by enemies of the clan.
He lamented that more than six decades of oil production in the area which hosted Shell, along with other oil companies and more than 150 oil exploration wells and West Africa’s largest gas plant and an Independent Power Plant (IPP) that contributes over 900 megawatts to the national grid, still lacks electricity and other direct developmental benefits.
“That was why the kingdom was so pained that your visit which could have afforded us the long expected opportunity to state our myriad of denials, injustices and problems was aborted by some hoodlums paid by the enemies of Okpai to do so,” Azugwuni said.
He urged the Deputy President of the Senate to help draw Federal Government’s attention to the abandoned multibillion shore protection project, lack of good access roads, employment and appointment opportunities for people in the area.