The Managing Director of the Imo State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (ISOPADEC), Engr. Owuoma Anthony Okwuosha, on Wednesday, October 9, 2019, said that the Commission is ending the darkness that had enveloped the oil producing communities of Ohaji-Egbema and Oguta local government areas of the state by restoring electricity in the area after eight years.
Speaking with staff and volunteers of the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) of ISOPADEC at the Commission’s headquarters, Engr. Okwuosha said that the Commission is changing the narrative and putting smiles on the faces of the people.
He noted that the previous government had claimed that it was paying electricity bills for the people of Ohaji-Egbema and Oguta local government areas, but the people never had electricity for the eight years. He added that the government rather ended up leaving a debt of over N150M of electricity bills with the EEDC.
He said: “ISOPADEC is now restoring electricity in Ohaji-Egbema and Oguta LGAs and ending the eight years of darkness in our communities. The last government told us they were using ISOPADEC money to pay for electricity bills for Oguta and Ohaji-Egbema. They ended up owing EEDC over N150M yet we never had electricity for the period of eight years they were in power. We met with the EEDC and discussed the challenges and paid them part of the money. We insisted they fixed the electricity in our communities before we continue the discussion with them. They have gone to Oguta and done some work and parts of Oguta LGA now have electricity. They have also gone to Ohaji-Egbema and evaluated the situation and informed us of what they intend to do in the area. It is over 25km stretch of the road. We will develop it and have substations at some points. This project will cost over N400M. But we are determined to do it for the benefit of our people. We have done the engineering design and others.”
The Managing Director also assured that the Commission is doing other things to serve the people, including programmes in Agriculture, Bursary, Trainings, Security and Job Creation. “We are doing other things such as roads, agriculture, job creation, trainings and bursary. We want to help our mothers at home in what they do in agriculture by making it simpler for them and increasing their margin, so that even the youths could be attracted to it. Our farm programme is huge and has the capacity to absorb those of our brothers who chose to live in the bush.
“We have programmes that will support every single person in our communities. For the first time in the history of ISOPADEC, every single person from our communities will feel that he is from the oil producing communities. To get good result takes time and sacrifice. The planning of any meaningful project is usually difficult. But if we get the planning right we also need to get the execution right. We are making sure that we get it right and we are not leaving anybody behind. We will use ISOPADEC fund to work for our people and not share it to a few people”, he said.
The Managing Director recalled that the Commission recently awarded six contracts for the construction of six classroom block at Ekugba in Ohaji/Egbema LGA, reconstruction and upgrade of Awa Secondary School in Oguta LGA, upgrade and construction of Agwa police station in Oguta LGA, upgrade and rehabilitation of Oguta Civic Center, among others.
He called on the staff and volunteers of the ISOPADEC ADR to ensure that they deepen the peace in the oil producing areas, noting that “peace has to be sustained in our communities for meaningful development”. He added: “The state government led by the Governor, His Excellency Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha, wants to put smiles on our people and is therefore bent on not repeating the mistakes of the past.
“In the last eight years there used to be different groups under ISOPADEC which were used to share money to a few people. None of those groups can account for the monies they got. Not even the elite who were part of those groups can account for anything. It means that that approach was not productive and sustainable. What we are planning and what we are doing are things that are sustainable and productive. We have seen that the ADR is one of the mechanisms to drive home some of these sustainable programmes. That was why we approved that the ADR should continue. We will do a lot using the ADR and also expand its scope”.