…Urhobo traditional rulers thank him for attracting projects to Delta Central district
The governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Delta State, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege has expressed concern over acts of injustice meted out to oil-bearing communities in the country, particularly in the Niger Delta.
In addition, the APC candidate, who is also the Deputy Senate President, revealed that the push for an increment of the equity shares of host communities to five percent in the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) was a major struggle.
Accompanied by his running mate, Rt. Hon. Friday Ossai Osanebi and several other party leaders, Omo-Agege met on Sunday in Warri with The Struggle Platform, a group canvassing improved condition for the Ijaw in oil-bearing communities in the Niger Delta.
Others in his delegation included the State APC Chairman, Elder Omeni Sobotie; Chairman, APC Delta Central, Chief Paulinus Akpeki; APC House of Assembly candidate for Patani State Constituency, Barrister Raymos Guanah; High Chief Michael Johnny; and a former Commissioner, Chief Chris Ekiyo.
Omo-Agege lamented that the Ijaw and other oil-producing communities that lay golden egg have been abandoned by successive administrations in the state. This unfortunate situation, he said, has led to untold poverty and deprivation in those communities.
The APC governorship candidate said: “I believe that government has been unfair to the Ijaw people given their contribution to the economy of this country. And given their contribution to the struggle for what comes to Delta State. Not too long ago, the issue of PIA came up. And there was a debate as to what should be the entitlement of host communities. As the Deputy Senate President and leader of the Southern Senators, I caused a meeting to be held in my house where we took a position that, at the very least, we should go for five percent.
“Negotiations this time became very serious. While some of us were fighting that, at the very least, we go with the five percent that had been passed in the House of Representatives, others were able to permeate the Senate through some of our leaders who felt that three percent is okay; that we should take three percent first. If the House could take it at five percent, why not us in the Senate?
“I don’t want to mention names, but leaders called in to say we should accept it for now… I say this to let you know that we initially aimed even higher than five percent”.
Omo-Agege promised to change the narrative and judiciously utilise resources of the state for the benefits of all, if elected Governor.
He expressed regret over the plight of pensioners, describing the refusal of the Ifeanyi Okowa-led administration to pay pensioners their entitlements as callous. “I can commit to you that that era where people will spend the best part of their lives rendering service to this state and having retired from service, will not be paid their pensions and gratuities will be over. I think it is wickedness to do that and that era will be gone for good”.
In his remarks, the host, Chief Dan Ekpebide announced his defection to the APC from the Peoples Democratic Party. He promised to mobilise his supporters for all APC candidates in the forthcoming elections.
“After 2007, I have never been active in any political party. But today, I am wholeheartedly for my brother (Omo-Agege) and that which he represents in APC. The official declaration will be done in Okerenkoko, our ward headquarters. But today, I am telling you that wherever you stand, that’s where I stand. And I am not alone, I am working with people. My associates, friends, brothers are all with me on this. After this, so many things will roll out. And I am very sure that we will get to the promised land”, said.
The leader of the group, Elder Timi Ogoriba also commended the Deputy Senate President for his sterling leadership qualities. He said he has shown capacity by the quantum of zonal intervention projects he influenced to his Senatorial district. “We have known you as a go-getter. Going with you will not be a misplaced priority”, he said.
Membership of The Struggle Platform is drawn from the Ijaw-speaking areas of the Niger Delta.
Earlier, traditional rulers in Urhoboland had offered royal blessings to Omo-Agege. At a meeting over the weekend with Urhobo monarchs under the aegis of Urhobo Traditional Rulers Council, the monarchs applauded the APC candidate for attracting developments to the communities in the eight local government areas of Delta Central District.
All the kings from the 24 kingdoms that make up Urhoboland attended the event, which held at the palace of the Ohworode of Olomu Kingdom and Chairman of the traditional rulers council, Ovie Richard Ogbon Ogoni-Oghoro I.
The royal father, who is reputed to be Africa’s oldest traditional ruler, lauded Omo-Agege’s sterling performance and for restoring the voice of the Urhobo nation at the national level.
“Senator Omo-Agege is a listening person. This is the second time he has come here to give report of his stewardship. This time, he has covered the whole of Urhobo nation. Seeing is believing. Every part of Urhobo nation has been touched. We are glad”.