The newmanaging director and chief executive officer, CEO of the Delta StateOil-Producing Areas Development Commission, DESOPADEC, Askia Ogieh has assuredthat the newly inaugurated board of the interventionist agency would adopt theprinciples of popular participation, equity and transparency in the dischargeof its mandate. Ogieh also assured that they would endeavour to foster peaceand security in terms of the infrastructures they would bring to bear in theirmandate areas, which he says would be evenly distributed.
Until hiselevation, Ogieh was an executive director, finance and administration atDESOPADEC. The new managing director who spoke to TELL after theinauguration of the board by the governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, says “we will makethe people to own the projects. By this I mean that from the time ofconception, they would be involved. We will adopt the town-hall meeting formulato get their involvement, to know which projects they want, so that we can seehow we can meet them at their point of need”.
According to Ogieh, the board, in apparent response to the advice by the governor, would ensure that it delivers all of these in a very transparent process. Expressing commitment to peace and security in the oil-producing communities, Ogieh assures that “there would be no compromise in any form so that we have less trouble in the distribution of projects”.
The new DESOPADECboss who has been in the system since the past four years, albeit in adifferent capacity, said “I am happy that I have been given anotheropportunity, but in a different capacity to offer services to the good peopleof the state” stressing that the higher responsibility he had been given “is asign that in the eyes of the governor, I have done well”.
The governor had while inaugurating the newly constituted board which has as chairman, Michael Diden, specifically charged members to ensure that projects were executed according to the needs of the people. He further advised them not to exclude the locals from the process of project execution. “I recognize that quite a number of the board members are proven grassroots politicians. I trust that you will do the wise thing of involving the host communities in your decision-making process because it is imperative for peace, cooperation and development. Teamwork, discipline, mutual understanding, and cooperation are prerequisites for your success,” Okowa said.
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While also admonishing the new board to be transparent and accountable, Okowa said, “let me hasten to add that this administration will not hesitate to sanction any erring board member in accordance with the provisions of the law”. The governor, who scored his administration high in project delivery through DESOPADEC, asserted that “after four years of the new regime, I believe there has been better synergy in the management of the agency, quality representation on the board, and responsiveness on the part of the agency to the developmental aspirations and environmental concerns of the host communities”.
“This”, he said, “is because during the course of my first tenure, I inaugurated notable infrastructure projects executed by DESOPADEC, and I was impressed not only by the quality of these projects but by the fact that they were in tandem with the expectations of the host communities.” Apart from Diden and Ogieh, four executive directors, namely Shedrack Agediga, Leonard Anoka, Daniel Mayuku, and John Nani, as well as nine other members representing the respective oil-producing communities, were also inaugurated into the board.
Events of the day also included the swearing-in of members of Local Government Service Commission and Paul Aghanenu as the state auditor-general with the governor reminding them that their actions should be guided by the extant rules and regulations. While also charging all political appointees to be transparent and fair at all times, Okowa underscored the essence of accountability as an indispensable tool of management and hallmark of his administration and urged all to embrace it. Warning against opaqueness in their activities, the governor stated that “as appointees of this administration, you must make it a point of duty to avail the public of your programmes and actions. Let the people know what you are doing, why you are doing it and the anticipated outcome of such actions because it is easy to gain the goodwill and trust of the community once projects meet specifications, suitably priced, and properly monitored”.
Okowa urged thenew auditor-general to ensure that governance and management systems wereproperly aligned with modern audit practices. “As you are aware, we haveadopted the International Public Sector Accounting Standard, IPSAS platform,and have also domesticated the National Chart of Accounts to complement ouradministration’s goals of fiscal discipline, prudent management and judiciousallocation of resources. It is your onerous responsibility to see thatMinistries, Departments and Agencies of Government fully comply with theapproved regulations for greater efficiency in general administration andmanagement of public finance,” the governor charged Aghanenu.