OIL DICHOTOMY IN ILAJE: STAKEHOLDERS CALL ON PRESIDENT BOLA AHMED TINUBU GCFR TO DISREGARD BASELESS PROTEST ORCHESTRATED BY FACELESS GROUP IN UGBO LAND AGAINST THE NOMINATION OF HON. OTITO ATIKASE AS THE ONDO STATE REPRESENTATIVE ON THE MANAGEMENT BOARD OF NDDC
Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, Act 2000 which provides for the repeal of the Oil, Mineral Producing Areas Commission Decree 1998, and among other things, establish a new Commission in 2000 with a re-organised management and administrative structure for more effectiveness; and for the use of the sums received from the allocation of the Federation Account for tackling ecological problems which arise from the exploration and exploitation of oil mineral in the Niger Delta areas and for connected purposes.
The appointment of state representative by the Nigeria President is stated in Part 1, 2(b) of Establishment Act of the Niger Delta Development Commission, which says, “one person who shall be AN INDIGENE OF OIL PRODUCING AREAS to represent each of the following member States, that is, Abia, Akwa-Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross-River, Delta, Edo, Imo, Ondo and Rivers States.
Therefore, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu GCFR has performed his constitutional rights by appointing an indigene of oil producing areas to represent Ondo State, knowing full well that ‘AREA’ is defined as local government in Nigeria constitution.
Following the aforementioned facts, it is obvious to all and sundry that the appointment of Hon. Otito Atikase from Mahin Ward III in Ilaje Local Government Areas by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu GCFR is in tandem with the NDDC ACT and Nigeria Constitution.
However, if the law is not clear to some unguided people who called themselves concerned Ugbo stakeholders (protesters), instead of wasting their precious time to disturb the peace of the citizenry with their baseless protest, they should rather approach the court for the interpretation of the law.
We must also use this opportunity to inform Mr. President that the appointment into the two interventionist agencies – NDDC and OSOPADEC established by the Federal Government and Ondo State Government respectively have been generating unwarranted controversy and unnecessary frivolity between Ilaje-Ugbo (Ilaje Constituency 1) and Ilaje-Mahin/Aheri/Etikan (Ilaje Constituency 2) from time immemorial. Some elements in Ugbo kingdom, based on their selfish and inordinate interest, overtimes, have been laying claim to oil production in Ilaje Local Government which does not exist under the law.
They have forgotten that Oil was first discovered at Araromi Seaside in Ilaje local government area of Ondo State under the then Mahin Country in the year 1908 even before the discovery of Oil in large quantity at Oluibiri in the present Bayelsa State in 1956.
It is also on record that in year 2000 or thereabouts during the regime of Chief Adebayo Adefarati as the Executive Governor of Ondo State when the crisis and argument of oil producing kingdom came up between Ugbo and Mahin, the State Government sent a delegation led by Chief Barr. Olusola Nehemiah Ebiseni from Mahin Kingdom and Chief Olusola Alexander Oke from Ugbo Kingdom with Helicopter to go and inspect the exploitation activities of Chevron Nigeria Oil Company and the location of their oil wells.
The delegation found out that the oil company was located at the offshore of Orioke Iwamimo to Ogogoro in Mahin Ward 2 area in Ilaje local government area of Ondo State. After that inspection, it was on record that the International Oil Companies IOC Started paying the Paramount Ruler of Mahin kingdom including the Olojas and Baales in Mahin Kingdom as established by the government of Ondo State.
Moreover, it is on record that Mr. Adebanjo Edema from Ogogoro community in Mahin Kingdom was appointed the Ondo State representative of the OMPADEC now NDDC between 1993 and 1995. Also, Barr. Olugbenga Edema from Ogogoro community in Mahin Kingdom was appointed in 2017 by the Ondo State Governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu SAN, CON, as Chairman, Ondo State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission, OSOPADEC and later appointed in 2022 by former Nigeria President, Muhammadu Buhari GCFR as Ondo State representative at the board of NDDC.The above facts are verifiable anytime any day.
It is cristal clear with the above precedents that it is not only Ugbo kingdom that is producing oil in Ilaje local government area of Ondo State. All the communities in Ilaje Local Government area are entitled to the position of the NDDC and OSOPADEC by constitutional rights.
Following from the above established facts, it is therefore imperative to call on Your Excellency, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu GCFR to ignore and disregard any protest orchestrated by some unguided, uninformed, uneducated, uncivilized and local people from Ugbo Kingdom who are always self-centered and ruled by the spirit of egoism and egotism.
While using this medium again to appreciate and thank Your Excellency, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu GCFR for appointing a loyal, committed, devoted and faithful party man in person of Hon. Otito Atikase to represent Ondo State on the board of NDDC, it is our firm belief that we trust and have confidence in the capacity and ability of Hon. Otito Atikase as former member of the Ondo House of Assembly who represented Ilaje Constituency 2 and former Chairman, Ilaje Local Government, by improving on the renewed hope agenda of Mr. President and deliver effectively and efficiently.
Hon. Otito Atikase is a son of the soil and loved by Ilaje people because of his pleasant antecedents.
Comerade Niyi Felix Majofodun, For Ilaje Mahin/Aheri/Etikan Stakeholders.