Anti corruption group, Vangaurd for Transparent Leadership and Democracy, (VATLAD) has asked former Governor, Chief James Ibori to act now by redirecting Delta State to Progress the same way his colleague, former Gov. Bola Tinubu, has been doing for Lagos State. since he left office in year 2007.
This is coming on backdrop of the lawsuit concerning the appropriation of the 13% oil derivation fund accruing to the Delta state Government in which the Delta state Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (DESOPADEC) ought to receive and administer exclusively 50% for the rehabilitation and development of the oil producing areas in the state.
Reacting to the case which was instituted in 2014 during the tenure of immediate past Governor, Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan and former State Assembly Speaker, Rt Hon Victor Ochei, VATLAD in a statement signed by its National President, Comrade (Engr) Emmanuel Odafe Igbini, lamented the failure of Ibori’s predecessors to implement the derivation law made by the State House of Assembly during Ibori’s tenure.
According to him, the failure of Governors after Ibori to implement the law is constitutionally the duty of the Delta State House of Assembly to punish by impeachment, any Governor who fails to comply and execute Laws it makes.
Igbini, who commended the litigants for the legal action brought against the state government, said, “this action is a good and civilised step taken by the Plaintiffs. We wholeheartedly commend the Plaintiffs”.
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Recall that former Governor, James Ibori in 2006 initiated the contention Section 13 (1) of the Delta state Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (DESOPADEC) Law of Delta state, 2006 as amended in 2007 and 2015 respectively, for the rapid development of the oil producing areas of the state but his predecessors had failed to implement same wholly since he left offic
Igbini contended that Ibori deserved to be commended and celebrated for initiating the law which Uduaghan and Okowa have so far failed to execute.
He maintained that if Ibori’s predecessors had fully complied with the law and had appointed the right and patriotic people to manage DESOPADEC, Oil Producing Communities and Delta State at large would having been favourably competiting with Dubai in economic growth and Infrastructural development.
“Very unfortunate that a few privileged elites of Delta State have so far failed to execute this very little laudable DESOPADEC Law, 2006, which if fully complied with and the right and patriotic leadership appointed to manage DESOPADEC, our Oil Producing Communities and Delta State at large would having been favourably competiting with Dubai in economic growth and Infrastructural development that would have ultimately empowered our people”.
“But what do we see now? Increased abject poverty and hopeless in our people despite continuous flow of billions of naira daily from our oil fields. What can be more callous than denying our people the benefits of their GOD-given Oil resources?, he queried.
He said that though the matter is before the court for judicial interpretation, Ibori should endeavour to prevail on his predecessors to find political solution to the 50% imbroglio.
“Former Gov. James Ibori must continue to be appreciated for initiating this law in year 2006 before his exit in 2007. It is not too late to do the right thing particularly as he, Chief James Ibori, is back and remains the political leader of his Delta State PDP and also of Gov. Okowa. He must act now to redirect Delta State to Progress the same way his colleague, fmr Gov. Bola Tinubu, has been doing for Lagos State since he left office in year 2007.
“Though this is a legal matter for judicial interpretation but political solution is ultimately the more desirable and effective. It is imperative to remind us that the legal Dispute on Onshore/Offshore Dichotomy which was adjudicated on by the Supreme Court did not resolve the dispute between the State Governors (Plaintiffs) and the then President Obasanjo-led Federal Government. The dispute was finally settled amicably through political means.
“However, in this case in Delta State it is very important that the Court makes a clear pronouncement in order to warn Governors of Delta State against disrespecting and desecrating the Laws she validly and willing made for Peace, Order and Good Government of Delta State.
“In fact, it is constitutionally the duty of the Delta State House of Assembly to punish by impeachment, any Governor who fails to comply and execute Laws it makes.
“Delta State Government must first show good example by fully and unconditionally obey the Laws she made/makes in order to have the moral and legal authority to compel Deltans to do same.
“Failure of Delta State Government to respect and obey her own law will be encouraging lawlessness and anarchy. This should not be allowed. We want Peace and Progress in our beloved Delta State. Our people have suffered enough economic injustices and deprivation for years now in the midst of abundance”, the VATLAD boss concluded.
According bigpen, the current judge handling the case is the fourth among the series of judges who have sat over the matter.
The case was instituted by now APC chieftain, Chief Godwin Ogbetuo and former Secretary of Traditional Rulers of Oil Mineral Producing Communities of Nigeria, (TROMPCON), Prince Maikpobi Okareme, Comrade Prince Kpokpogri and Akakasi Oghenejabor Sunday who are the principal claimants for themselves and on behalf of oil producing communities of Delta state.
The claimants are praying the court to interpret Section 13 (1) of the Delta state Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (DESOPADEC) Law of Delta state , 2006 as amended in 2007 and 2015 respectively.
The Section which the claimants seek the court to interpret provide as follows:
“That the Commission shall receive and administer exclusively the 50% of the 13% oil derivation fund accruing to the Delta state Government for:
a. Rehabilitation and development of the oil producing areas in the state and;
b. Others development projects, as may be determine from time to time”.