BY AYODELE ABERE in Ekiti•
After eight- yearlong period of vacuum, darkness and rudderless, the Ondo State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission, OSOPADEC has been returned to normality.
The Commission was established by the late Sage, Chief Adebayo Adefarati after the Ijaw /Ilaje crisis to rebuild and fast track sustainable development in the oil bearing communities of Ondo State.
Seasoned administrator, Mr Ajose Kudehinbu became the first Executive Secretary of the Commission and the Governor; Adebayo Adefarati served as its Chairman.
But in 2003, Dr Olusegun Agagu through the State House of Assembly amended the OSOPADEC Act making the chairmanship of the Commission the exclusively preserve of indigenous people of oil bearing communities.
The Commission lived up to its mandate during the terms of Chief Adebayo Adefarati and Dr Olusegun Agagu, building houses, schools, hospitals and walkways. Not only that, the Commission constructed roads and bridges to link communities and towns in the riverside.
OSOPADEC became popular and a major source of hope of the people particularly students and the aged as scholarships and welfare packages were paid promptly. That was the glory days of OSOPADEC.
Suddenly, there was a reversal of fortune for the people of OSOPADEC mandate areas from 2009 till 2017. The Commission lost focus and became a limbo in the hands of randy playboys.
Now, normalcy seems to have returned since the inception of a legal Icon and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) Oluwarotimi Akeredolu Administration in February 2017 judging from the outings and performance of the Commission under the leadership of Olugbenga Edema.
First was the successful host of the Niger Delta Summit where the Commission hosted delegates from the nine oil producing state of the nation.
The synergy between the Commission and the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC to construct road linking Ondo to Lagos is commendable.
The training and retraining of members of staff has since begun. Departments and units have been rejigged and restructured for better service delivery. Last December, cheques were presented to retirees for the payments of gratuities for deserving retired members of staff.
Ultimately, the present leadership of the Commission has adequately motivated the staff and prepared them for the onerous task of fast tracking sustainable development in oil bearing communities of the State.
The present leadership of the Commission must not rest on its oars in resuscitating the Commission. Justice must be done and equilibrium maintained in ” who gets?”
The last time I visited OSOPADEC, the atmosphere suggested that life is back to the hitherto moribund agency.