…Appeals To Okowa, Diden To Intervene, Vows To Resist Marginalisation
By Daniel Dafe
The President General, Urhobo Progress Union (UPU), Worldwide, Chief (Engr.) Joe Omene, has lamented the treatment meted on staff of Delta State Oil Producing Area Development Commission (DESOPADEC) of Urhobo extraction by the newly appointed Managing Director (MD) of the Board, Chief Askia Ogieh.
In a statement made available to journalists, the outspoken PG while calling on the Okowa-led Delta State Government and the Chairman of the Board, Hon. Michael Diden, to intervene before things get out of hand, vowed to mobilize Urhobo Nation to resist any attempt to marginalize Urhobo indigenes in DESOPADEC, stressing that the marginalization was too much for Urhobos to bear.
He said: “It is quite unfortunate to find that an Isoko that took over from an Urhobo MD in DESOPADEC is treating us this way.
“I did not see anything wrong with the choice of Hon. Michael Diden as the Chairman of DESOPADEC Board when it was constituted even though the Urhobo Nation could have protested when it was announced.”
This, he said, was enough reason for Urhobos in DESOPADEC to be treated fairly.
Furthermore, he alleged that Ogieh is anti-Urhobo and does not want to see anything Urhobo in DESOPADEC.
He gave the names of the 15 departments in DESOPADEC as Admin and Supplies, Civil/Works, Finance and Accounts, Internal Audit, Legal, Medical, Health and Safety, Social Services, Planning, Research and Statistics, Investment and Promotion, Housing and Utility.
Others he said are: Community Development, Press and Publicity, Project Monitoring and Evaluation and Protocol.
Speaking further, he said that while Itsekiri and Ijaw occupies four each of these departments, Isoko has three, while Urhobo and Ndokwa are in charge of two each.
He added: “As soon as Askia came in, his first target was to remove the Urhobo lady in charge of welfare and replace her with someone from his place. As I speak to you he also removed an Urhobo indigene in charge of Administration, Pius Ubogua and gave it to an Ijaw person. As well, he removed Monday Emuohwo in charge of the store after he came up with an untrue allegation about the movement of a generator.
“His agenda is to remove Urhobos from sensitive positions which before he came in were held by Urhobos. What did Urhobo do to Askia? You replaced an Urhobo man with an Ijaw indigene. Now they claim they are looking for an Urhobo to head Audit. Of course it would be one that is a ‘yes man.’ And why take away the only meaningful position, Administration that the Urhobos have and give it to someone else and you want to give them Audit?
“I am appealing to the DESOPADEC MD and Chairman to allow the statusquo remain.
“Those Urhobo appointees in DESOPADEC who keep quiet because of what they stand to get must stop this unpatriotic act.”
Continuing, he said: “Askia should not forget that a day will come when they will need our votes. We see Isoko as our true brothers, but Isokos do not think that way about us.
“If he feels that becoming the MD is to mess up the careers of Urhobos in DESOPADEC, we will resist it and not take it.”
He called on the Chairman of DESOPADEC to appeal to Askia not to destroy the peaceful coexistence that has been there between Urhobos and Isokos.
“Urhobo politicians in PDP are the cause of Urhobo’s woes in Delta State. Many of the Urhobos that are in PDP are “yes men and women,” he averred.
Omene also berated Urhobo politicians in PDP who have turned a blind eye on these developments, saying that a top Urhobo king in the state was contacted to intervene on the issue of the marginalization in DESOPADEC but he did nothing.