OSOPADEC: Chairman inaugurated despite protest by Ugbo youths in Ondo
Protesters from the oil rich Ilaje local government area of Ondo state in Monday invaded the Alagbaka government office, protesting the appointment of the former lawmaker in the state, Mr. Gbenga Edema, as the new Chairman of the Ondo state Oil Producing Area Commission (OSOPADEC) by the state governor, Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu.
The protesters who were armed with placards with various inscriptions such as: ‘Ugbo People Demand for their Right’, ‘Oil Communities in Ugbo Kingdom say No Gbenga Edema’ and ‘Oil Producing Communities Demand for their Mandate, OSOPADEC chairmanship.’
The protesters however blocked the main road leading to the government Secretariat in Alagbaka, causing serious traffic gridlock
The leader of the protesters and the Chairman of Ugbo Youths Kingdom, Sunday Nana, said the protest became necessary to register their displeasure that the appointment of the OSOPADEC chairman was made against the act of the commission.
He said, “Government has singlehandedly imposed Edema and we are baffled because he is not from oil producing community.”
“In the history of Ondo State, this has never happened but Akeredolu’s decision is detrimental to our destiny because it is an injury to the entire Ugbo kingdom.”
“The act is so clear it is only the host communities that can benefit from all benefits accrued to oil and what Akeredolu is doing now is against the OSOPADEC act 2003.”
“And we are saying that he should return our right because we cannot stand this injustice while our right is being taken to another area.”
“Edema is from Mahin while the Secretary is from Ese-Odo and these communities are not oil producing communities.”
“These other representatives are part time in the commission and two are given to us, meaning that if chairman and the secretary decide not to call meeting for the next one year, it means that the owner of the oil will not be involved,” he said.
The protesters threatened to go back to the creek to shut down oil operations and installation if the governor failed to reverse the appointment of Edema as OSOPADEC chairman.
Meanwhile some indigene of Ugbo have approached the state High Court in Akure, urging the Court to stop the appointment of Edema as the OSOPADEC chairman and restrain the state government from going ahead with the inauguration of the OSOPADEC board.
But Nigerian Tribune gathered that the state governor, Akeredolu, earlier met with stakeholders from the area, promising to abide by the court if it rules that the appointment is illegal.
However, Edema was sworn as the OSOPADEC chairman by the state governor at the Dome Event center despite protest from ugbo communities.