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I welcome all of you to this inauguration of the newly constituted Governing Board of the Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission –DESOPADEC. First, let me congratulate Members of the Board on their well-deserved appointments.

Today’s event is a fitting climax to series of events leading to the enactment of the new DESOPADEC Law. On assumption of office, I pledged to “give strength to the Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (DESOPADEC) Law by restructuring the Board and Management in line with the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) model through an Amendment Bill.”

In fulfilment of this promise, I submitted an Amendment Bill to the State House of Assembly. After a robust debate in the House and extensive public hearing, the bill was passed by the House and was signed into law by my humble self on 18th  August, 2015.    I commend the House for conducting the debate on the Amendment Bill with a civility that speaks well of it.

Under the new structure there is a Governing Board comprising a Chairman, Managing Director, four Executive Directors, and nine representatives of Oil Producing Areas  in the State with at least two from each Senatorial District. Also listed in the Board are one representative each from the State Ministries of Finance and Economic Planning.

The Managing Director and the Executive Directors are responsible for running the day-to-day affairs of the Commission, while the part-time representatives or Commissioners are to draw up the project needs and environmental concerns of their communities and present to the Board for consideration, approval and execution.

A key driver of economic growth and social development is the Principle of Continuous Improvement. In simple terms, it is about continuously improving the systems and processes of governance to optimise organisational performance and enhance service delivery. The new DESOPADEC structure provides for sound corporate governance  in line with international best practices. It is expected to put the Commission on a stronger footing to better meet the developmental needs of ethnic nationalities in the oil producing areas.

The Principle of Continuous Improvement also necessitates change in thoughts and practices leading to new organisational culture for sustainable development. It is, therefore, my earnest expectation that the new structure will foster a culture  of team  work, greater  efficiency, and excellence in leadership. From today, I expect to see greater transparency and accountability in the running of the affairs of the Commission.

I will like to stress that it is no longer business as usual. The new DESOPADEC has no room for incompetence, selfishness and greed. The setting up of this Board is coming at a critical period in our nation’s history; revenue from oil has dropped drastically and the plight of our oil producing communities has come into sharp focus. The situation calls for discipline, sacrifice and prudent management of our resources for maximum benefits to our people. This is the challenge that you face in your new assignment.

As distinguished Deltans it is my sincere hope  that  you  will manage the affairs of the commission with great wisdom, tact and high sense of responsibility. You should endeavour to always involve host communities in your decision-making process to foster peace and development in those communities. I encourage you to use the bottom-up approach; the communities should determine the projects they want in their areas. With this, peace will reign and development enhanced.

I enjoin you to imbibe the principles of fairness, equity and justice that are the watchword of this administration. This administration will NOT hesitate to sanction any erring Board member in accordance with the provisions of the new Law. It is of vital importance that Members of the Board avail themselves of copies of the Law, my Inaugural Address and my Maiden Address to the House of Assembly to get acquainted with the policy direction of this administration.

Let me also strongly appeal to all stakeholders, especially youths, indigenes and communities to cooperate with the new Board and give it a chance to succeed. Everything must be done to bring development to our people.

  • Speech at the inauguration of the Governing Board of Delta State Oil Producing Areas Commission (DESOPADEC), at the Unity Hall, Old Government House, Asaba.