A frontline Niger Delta activist, human rights crusader and community leader, Comrade Sheriff Mulade, has called on Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State to urgently dissolve and restructure the Delta State Oil Producing Area Development Commission, (DESOPADEC), into ethnic development agencies.
Comrade Mulade alleged that DESOPADEC has drifted from the original purpose for which it was established, which is aimed towards developing oil producing communities of the state.
He opined that the Commission now serves the political party in power and other interest groups to the detriment of the host communities.
He bemoaned the sorry state of DESOPADEC, claiming “it has metamorphosed from conceptual creation as a beacon of hope but now bridled with the antics of propaganda by politcians who enjoy and feed on the prowls of the agency”.
He continued: “beneficiaries of the system are taking advantage of the administrative imbalance as well as misappropriation in the agency, borne out of unbridled and endemic corruption and political favouritism”.
He alleged that the current DESOPADEC has become what he described as ‘abracadabra’, “a kind of conduit pipe, monumental fraud tank, used by some unpatriotic State officials to rob oil producing communities of their much needed socio-economic development”.
Lamenting further he said, “Every day the people get poorer for it, while the operative of the agency smile around since they enrich themselves and their cronies with contracts while they place before our very eyes fake development schemes”.
Comrade Mulade therefore called on Governor Okowa to urgently abolish the current structure which to him is bedeviled by misappropriation, deception and secrecy, and adopt an ethnic development Commission, which correlation would be clearer and better embraced, where the people would feel the impact of the agency, with the communities choosing their respective credible and trusted ethnic representatives in a democratic process devoid of political manipulation, “This is what democracy is all about, as it is a government of the people for the people and by the people”, he stressed.
Mulade pointed out that the purpose of establishing DESOPADEC has been compromised, as the interventionist agency allegedly now serves parochial interests of only the party in power or Political loyalists who are appointees of the Commission.
In an equivocal voice, he claimed that the Board and Management of DESOPADEC have totally deviated from its original vision and mission by engaging in elephant projects to impress the people instead of building physical structures in the oil producing communities that need urgent development.
Comrade Mulade urged Governor Okowa to listen to the yearning of the vast majority of progressive mind in the state and restructure the Commission into forms comprising the five ethnic groups with the current sharing formula or percentages, and establish same as an Ethnic Development Agency. He said this would create a sense of ownership among the ethnic groups and also an enabling environment for rapid development in the State.
He said a restructured DESOPADEC would help to minimize if not eradicate a situation where the Board of the agency could easily divert the Commission’s funds into meaningless or dubious projects.
The human right activist strongly urged Governor Okowa and the Delta State Government to overhaul the agency instead of reconstituting a new Board with fraudulent politicians, against the interest of oil producing communities in thw State.