By Sylvester Idowu in Warri
Hopes for a conducive environment for multi-national oil companies to operate has received a boost with the inauguration of an Interim Executive for Izon-Ebe Oil and Gas Producing Communities Association (IOGPCA) which used to be a source of friction and threats to oil companies.
With the attainment of agreement on major issues of conflict, both factions of the body agreed to sheath their swords to work out at amicable way to operate so that peace will reign in all the communities.
The outgoing President of the Association, Mr. Edougha Moses handed over the running of affairs of the body to the Interim President, Hon. Emmanuel Fungewei at a ceremony in Benin under the watch of security agencies.
Izon-Ebe Oil and Gas Producing Communities Association was established long before the emergence of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs and other intervention agencies with the purpose of interfacing between the host communities and oil companies for the mutual benefits of both and also create a conducive environment for multi-national companies’ operations.
Other members of the new Executive include Chief Godknows Mieye, Mr. Emmanuel Igetei and Miss Akpoebi Ekpetun as members.
Handing over the affairs of the association at the ceremony, the outgoing President, Mr. Edougha Moses tasked the new Interim President, Hon. Fungewei and his team to run the body with the fear of God and ensure an early conduct of elections for the association.
He expressed happiness that the crisis witnessed within the group has been finally settled and tasked the interim executive to be fair to all and ensure the conduct of a free and fair election within the shortest time.
Mr. Edougha recalled that his administration had earlier set up an election committee which went out of its terms of reference leading to the crisis that the association recently experienced.
“Why today’s event occurred is because of a lot of acrimony, disunity, disagreement amongst members of the association. An electoral committee set up by my government which conduct was not acceptable by the congress. This led to our arrest but the Police said we should meet and resolve the issues.
“Because of that, the congress agreed that a new date is fixed for the election. While that was in the process, a group of members claimed purportedly to have conducted an election which degenerated into the crisis we recently witnessed. Thank God it is over now”, he said.
The Interim President, Hon. Fungewei thanked the outgoing president and his team for the successful handing over of affairs of the association to him and members of his executive assuring that they will carry everybody along in the process towards the conduct of another election.
He however warned multinational oil companies and other stakeholders in the oil and gas sector not to deal with anybody or group that claimed to be representing the association noting all transactions should be directed to his office.
Two elders of the Association, Daniel Yemaye and Paul Ukuli commended the outgoing President for his maturity in handling the crisis and charged the interim executive to carry out its functions without bias or favour.