The Board of the Ondo State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (OSOPADEC) has vowed to redouble its concerted efforts at ameliorating the suffering of the people of the commission's mandate areas of Ilaje and Ese-Odo Local Government Areas and making life more meaningful to them through the provision of basic infrastructure required for good living.
The Chairman of OSOPADEC, Hon. Olugbenga Edema made the assertion yesterday while briefing journalists as part of activities commemorating the first anniversary of the inauguration of the board by the State Governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, SAN, on April 10, 2017.
Accompanied by the board members of the commission, Edema recalled that on assumption of office on April 10, 2017, the board was faced with a myriad of challenges which if not properly addressed; the commission would certainly be unable to move forward.
He listed these challenges to include low morale of staff, decayed infrastructures, non-availability of relevant working tools for staff, delayed salaries, non-payment of gratuities, pensions and other emoluments for retired staff, while projects abandonment was the order of the day as certificates raised by contractors remained unpaid.
Edema however averred that under the leadership of the new board, a new re-branded OSOPADEC has emerged where things work with a viable, purposeful, dedicated and result-oriented staff.
Highlighting the several achievements of the commission in the last one year, the OSOPADEC boss mentioned as the commissions biggest achievement the flag off of the 51km Araromi Seaside-Igbo Edu –Akodo-Ise-Lagos road by Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, SAN, on March 14,2017.
Edema said the monumental road project which costs N19 billion is being co-funded by OSOPADEC and the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and is expected to be completed within the next 36 months.
He said the commission has also paid the 2014/2015 Edition of its bursary and scholarship scheme in which 5,237 students benefitted where the sum of N221.24 million was disbursed to students from Ilaje and Ese-Odo Local Government Areas in various tertiary institutions across the country.
Edema disclosed that the administrative process for the payment of the 2015/2016 Edition of the scheme has begun.
He also highlighted the successful hosting of the 2nd Niger Delta Council Meeting held in Ondo State between September 7and 14,2017 which Mr. Governor graciously approved as another great feat of the board in its first year in office.
His words: "In respect of the inherited projects, the Commission has got a handle on the problematic portion of the Okitipupa-Ayeka-Araromi-Irele road.
In the next two months by the grace of God, we are optimistic that the road will be completely ready for use by the public.
The internal roads at the Ondo State University of Science and Technology OSUSTECH, Okitipupa which hitherto had been abandoned was adopted by the commission and completed within the year, the road has since been commissioned by Mr. Governor as part of the activities marking his administration's one year in office.
Similarly, the Aboto Water Project and the reticulation to Igbokoda has been completed, we are already going through the process of test-run and quality assurance check on the water from the taps.
We are also optimistic that the project would be commissioned by Mr. Governor soon.
Also, during the year under review, the 28.3km Aboto-Atijere road was renegotiated and we can heartily inform that the project has since been re-awarded by this administration for the sum of N8.804 billion, the contractor, Messer Zhijiang Construction Nigeria Limited would move to site soon by the grace of God."
Edema noted that in the socio-economic sector, because of the importance attached to the welfare of the people of the mandate areas, the commission also intervened in the medical challenges facing the people of its mandate areas through its health intervention programme which saw the commission collaborating with some selected Government-owned health establishments in the state.
He said in the last one year, about fifteen million naira was expended on the project with twenty-two patients with grievous and life-threatening ailments benefiting from the scheme.
Edema noted that in the area of youth empowerment, OSOPADEC in partnership with FADAMA World Bank organized a workshop in Ilaje and Ese-Odo Local Government Areas on rice chain production, and met with royal fathers and community leaders in respect of land acquisition for the project to take off.
We are also discussing with reputable training institutions like the Petroleum Training Institute (PTI), Effurun, Delta State and other such skills and vocational training centres with training facilities in order to improve the capacities of our youths for a sustained and total development.
In his sermon at a thanksgiving service to commemorate the anniversary held at the commissions headquarters complex in Oba-Ile, Akure, the Lord Bishop of Ilaje Anglican Communion, Rt. Revd. Idowu Olugbemi stressed the need for constant Thanksgiving to God in all situations.
Olugbemi prayed that the Lord almighty will grant Edema and all his board members the grace to complete their tenure in OSOPADEC meritoriously.
The Cleric also charged all the staff members of OSOPADEC to always remember the purpose for which the commission was established in all their activities.
To impact positively on the less privileged in the society, Edema and members of the OSOPADEC board also donated several food and gift items to the inmates at the Ondo State Community and Social Development Project (Ago-Ireti) and children at the Ondo State Motherless Babies Home.
Items donated include bags of rice, cartons of noodles, tubers of yam, kegs of palm oil, baby foods and toiletries.
Others are baby pampers, disinfectants, cartons of beverages, cartons of fruit juices and cartons of corn flakes.
The Supervisor of the Ondo State Motherless Babies Home, Mr. Tofas Mefun appreciated OSOPADEC for the kind gesture.