The Okpe Advocacy Group (OAG) has castigated the Centre for Human Rights and Anti-Corruption (CHURAC) for its attack on the Chairman of the Delta state Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (DESOPADEC) Hon. Michael Diden, aka Ejele, and its decision to go to court to nullify his appointment.
OAG, in a statement issued on Thursday, August 22, 2019 and signed by its National Chairman, Mr. Austin Okubor and Secretary, Comrade Efe Dafe, called attention to a story published recently in a national newspaper, in which CHURAC was said to have stated in a press release by the member, Board of Trustee/Publicity Secretary of the group, Mr. Oyinkedi Fuofegha, that the group was going to court to ask for the nullification of the appointment Hon. Diden by Governor Ifeanyi Okowa.
OAG picked holes in the claims of CHURAC to the effect that Hon. Diden’s appointment is a negation of Section 7 (1) a, b, and c, and (2) a and b of the DESOPADEC law 2015 as amended in 2019, arguing that Diden cannot be validly appointed as DESOPADEC’s chairman when the governor had previously appointed one Godwin Ebosa from the same Itsekiri ethnic nationality as DESOPADEC’s board chairman.
CHURAC was also quoted as insisting, “that by virtue of Section 15 (1), (2) a and b and (3) of the DESOPADEC law 2015 as amended, that Governor Okowa cannot nominate for appointment any person as a member of the governing board of DESOPADEC whose ethnic nationality produced the immediate past board member of the same office. Therefore that an Itsekiri man cannot by virtue of the DESOPADEC law as amended be appointed chairman after another Itsekiri man, Godwin Ebosa was chairman of DESOPADEC in 2015.
To CHURAC therefore, Diden’s appointment “is an aberration” , arguing that “no ethnic nationality who has produced or is producing either the chairman, the managing director or the executive directors can succeed itself without following the rotational circle as provided in the DESOPADEC law.”
OAG, a socio-political pressure group for the advancement of Okpe interests, took serious exception to the statement of CHURAC, saying that it sympathized with the group for exhibiting poor understanding of issues about Hon. Michael Diden.
OAG stated: “The group needs to be informed that Hon. Diden is a well-rounded political figure who is very well acknowledged by all for his good works as a person, politician and community leader across many divides, including maternal and paternal.
“It is therefore, important to ask CHURAC if it is wrong for a Nigerian citizen, and specifically a Deltan, to be a product of a father and a mother of distinct ethnic nationalities. It was expected of the so-called anti-corruption group to have done some home work by trying to find out why the governor chose to appoint Diden as chairman, even when he was the same governor that appointed Godwin Ebosa as chairman in 2015.
“We believe that if they had cared to find answers to what seem to them a puzzle, their findings would have removed the fog and make this their journey to nowhere unnecessary.”
Arguing further, OAG stated: “While we will not dignify CHURAC and its shameless sponsors by educating them on the biography of the amiable Hon. Diden, they should be instructed that the one they are bellyaching and up in arms against is not DESOPADEC chairman on the slot of the Itsekiri ethnic nationality, but on the slot of the Urhobo ethnic nationality by virtue of his father being an Okpe man. Of course, it is an obvious fact that Okpe is the core of Urhobo ethnic nationality.
“The good thing going for Hon. Diden is that whenever he appears in Itsekiri land or Urhobo land, he is a son. It is this attribute of sonship in both places that made the Itsekiri in Warri North Local Government to find him worthy, and elected him as Council chairman, and extended same gesture to him when he was elected again to represent them in the Delta State House of Assembly. Those were elective positions.
“We make bold to say that this value that his mother’s people, the Itsekiri, found in him, that made them to consider him worthy of casting their votes for him, and lead them at the Council as Chairman and as their representative in the House of Assembly did not reduce the value which his father’s people in Okpe, in the Urhobo ethnic nationality also have in him.
“This is the reason that when the governor consulted with us as stakeholders for our consent to appoint Diden as DESOPADEC chairman, we welcomed the idea wholeheartedly because Diden is our son, and we cannot deny him.”
OAG therefore, debunked CHURAC’s claims, stating: “We therefore, disprove CHURAC’s churlish claim that the appointment of Diden as chairman of DESOPADEC board is an aberration, and we dismiss its ranting as infantile, crude, vulgar, and a misplaced aggression that is uncalled for.
“The exploits and good works rendered by Diden in Warri North LGA and in the state House of Assembly will remain indelible and will continue to rebound to his credit as a political craftsman. And now that his father’s place requires his services on their slot as DESOPADEC chairman, he cannot be denied.
“It is against this background that we berate CHURAC for dabbling into what it cannot defend; not being a stakeholder in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the politics of the party,” OAG stated, adding: “Indeed, CHURAC’s rude and ill-bred attack on the person of Hon. Michael Diden should be seen for what it is, the posturing of a meddlesome interloper.
“Is the group which claims to be a human rights body opposed to the right of Diden to be nominated by his father’s people for appointment?”, it asked.