By Ifeanyi Olannye
Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta on Thursday charged the Delta State Oil Producing Area Development Commission (DESOPADEC) to execute projects that would positively impact people in oil bearing communities.
The governor gave the charge in Asaba, while swearing-in a new member of the commission, Mr Bright Abeke, to replace late Joyce Overah.
Okowa said that he was impressed with the interventionist efforts of DESOPADEC in oil bearing communities.
He said the best way to address the basic needs of people was to carry them along in the conceptualisation of projects.
The governor urged the managing director of DESOPADEC and its commissioners to continue to stay in touch with the people, to ensure that development undertaken by the commission actually came from the grassroots.
According to him, despite economic downturn, infrastructural transformation of the creeks and riverine communities will continue to receive priority attention from his administration.
This, he said, was because of their enormous contributions to economy of the state and the nation at large.
Okowa said that the best way to deepen peace and unity in oil bearing communities was to attract landmark projects to the areas.
The governor advised the people of the state to remain calm to enable them to harvest more benefits of democracy.
He congratulated Abeke on his appointment, screening and successful swearing-in.
Okowa urged him to work with the leadership of the commission in attracting development to Sapele and other oil bearing communities in the state.
“As you join the rest of the membership of DESOPADEC, it is my hope that you learn as quickly as you can, and that you work in partnership with other Board members to find ways of bringing development and also empowering our people in the oil producing areas.
“As a state, we are doing the best that we can under these very difficult circumstances, and I am proud to say that I have formally visited to inaugurate some very remarkable projects done by DESOPADEC in the past few years.
“It is my hope that despite the present challenges, the commission will continue to meet the needs of our people.
“If we actually seek for peace, if we seek for the partnership of the people, we must really touch their lives; we must at every point in time be there and available for them to talk to,” he said.
The governor reaffirmed that there would be no abandonment of projects by his administration.
He said that despite the present economic realities in the country, all projects would be completed in line with available resources.
“I want to reassure our people that we are truly very committed to ensuring that all projects that were captured in our budgets, both in the state and also the budget of DESOPADEC, that God will provide resources for us to undertake them.
“All over the state, particularly in our riverine communities, we will not abandon any project that we started by the special grace of God.
“So, we continue to pray and I urge the people to continue to pray for us that the resources will improve, because the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted very negatively on our resources.
“We cannot shy away from that, but we must stay focused as a state; we must stay focused as a people.
“I believe that there is light at the end of the tunnel, and we will be able to do the best to impact positively on our people,” the governor said.
He thanked the people for their sustained support for his administration since 2015, promising to remain focused in building a ‘Stronger Delta’ for the collective interest of all.
In his remarks, Abeke thanked the governor and other stakeholders for finding him worthy to serve.
He promised to synergise with others on impacting positively on the socio-economic lives of people in the creeks and riverine communities.
Abeke, who hails from Sapele, was until his appointment the Special Assistant to the governor on Youth Development.
He promised that the collective interest of the people would override his personal interest in the discharge of his official responsibilities.