The people of Ogbele community in Ahoada East Local Government Area of Rivers State, Nigeria, have rejected a representative imposed on them by Aradell Holding into its Board of Trustees.
The community took the decision in an emergency general meeting held recently at its Town Hall, where it also extended the tenure of the Community Development Committee to December 31st, 2023.
It insisted that Dr Progress Ogbasi remains the bonafide nominee of the community and not
High Chief Sir Lot Okodu, who was nominated by Aradell Holding, formally Niger Delta Petroleum Resources PLC.
Speaking to newsmen after the meeting, the Nye Uwhe Ele Ogbele
of Ogbele community, High Chief Chiwhetu Ezegwogwo, confirmed that the Niger Delta Petroleum Resources PLC nomination of one Sir LOT OKODU as a representative of the community and chairman of its board of trustees is against the will of the people.
Ezegwogwo, who is also the Owu Wokwani Ekpeye I of Ekpeye Land, said the community had resolved that Dr Progress Ogbasi remains their nominee and not Lot Okodu.
High Chief Ezegwogwo further described the imposition of Lot Okodu on the people of Ogbele by the NDPR and the alleged threat to the life of one of their illustrious son, Salvation Ezegwogwo by the company as one of the divide and rule tactics used by the indigenous oil firm in their operational activities in the community.
He added that a letter had already been sent to the commissioner of chieftaincy affairs to take a critical look into the matter.
The Ekpeye titled chief explained that Sir Lot Okodu had over the years represented the community in the Community Advisory Council, with no positive impact to attest. He hinted that the company’s imposed nominee had been colliding with the company to impoverish the people since NDPR began its operation.
He frowned at the continuous engagement of Alhaji Umaru Buba who is more than seventy years. He accused him of being behind the travails of the community over the years.
On his part, a former youth president of Ogbele community, Comrade Martin Odoi, who spoke on the outcome of the meeting, said they have resolved as a community to throw their weight behind Dr Progress Ogbasi as the chairman of the board of trustees, as he is the only person given the mandate to represent them.
He also urged the oil company to honour and implement all the agreements signed between it and the community during the peaceful protest last year while condemning the alleged threat to the life against their son, Salvation Ezegwogwo by some NDPR official.
Also contributing, Elder Robinson Oseja, the community second eldest man, wondered why the company unilaterally decided to appoint another nominee to represent the community, instead of the one so nominated by the it.
He declared that the community’s nominee, Dr Progress Ogbasi remains its choice of representative.
BochNews investigation suggests that the appointment of Sir Lot Okodu was through a keenly contested election by members of the Community Advisory Council (CAC) and supervised by Rivers State Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs.
Our investigation further revealed that the election was between Sir Lot Okodu and Chamberlain Ezegwogwo, after the supposed third contestant stepped down.
Though, the community insisted that the CAC does not have its mandate nor was it consulted before holding the said election.