The Head of Infrastructure, International and Economic Relations, Federal Ministry of Finance, Abuja, Mr. Ishmael Lawal has promised to use his office to assist the Ondo State Oil Producing Area Development Commission (OSOPADEC) in facilitating interventions from national and international partners.
Lawal gave this assurance during an official visit to the Chairman and top Management Staff of the Commission on Monday 24th October. The meeting which also had the State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Banji Ajaka (an indigene of the mandate area) in attendance was aimed at discussing possible opportunities on how the Commission can benefit from financial grants to achieve its mandate.
In his welcome address, the Chairman of the Commission, Sam Erejuwa lamented the environmental hardship confronting the people of Ilaje and Ese-Odo (the mandate areas of OSOPADEC).
With visual aid, Erejuwa lamented the regrettable conditions of many schools in the area and the recurrent sea surge confronting Ayetoro and other communities in the coastal areas of the State. He said if drastic steps are not taken, the sea threatened communities may cease to exist in some years to come.
Erejuwa disclosed that OSOPADEC is therefore determined to rescue the mandate areas from the effects of environmental hostility and degradation. He however lamented that the Commission is greatly incapacitated to achieve its goals due to paucity of funds.
The Secretary of the Commission, Dr. Victor Koledoye intimated the guest on the vision, mission, core values and key areas of the Commission’s interventions in the mandate areas which he said are in tandem with the REDEEMED Agenda of the State Government.
He identified some of the projects to include: Youth Entrepreneurship Training, Construction of General Hospital Agadagba-Obon, Ese-Odo Local Government, Renovation of Schools across the mandate areas, construction of the School of Maritime Transport and Logistics at Ugbonla; a satellite campus of the Olusegun Agagu University of Science and Technology (OAUSTECH) which is expected to take-off soon.
The Commission is equally proposing the construction of 100 number of Public Toilets across schools and the construction of 37.5km Araromi-Akodo-Ibeju-Lekki road.
Reacting, Mr Lawal commended the Commission for its passion, huge impact and investments in providing solutions to the problems of the people under its mandate. He promised to guide the management of the Commission on steps to take and links to harness to benefit from grants and interventions from the Federal Government and other International Bodies.
In his words: “I have seen the passion of OSOPADEC toward the development of the riverine areas of Ondo State. The Commission has not deviated from its vision and mandate. This interaction will not end here. We are going to improve on our communication and collaboration with appropriate agencies (including the Ministry of Works, and Power), together with other international partners. Beginning from next year, there will be interventions (including the Climate Change initiative) from which OSOPADEC can benefit from”.
Lawal expressed his admiration at the initiative of the Commission on the proposal to construct the 37.5km road linking Ondo and Lagos States through Araromi-Akodo-Ibeju-Lekki. He said infrastructural development (including construction of roads, bridges, housing units, electrification, water supply and solar powered energy) captured in the ongoing and proposed projects of the Commission are areas of particular interest where he will be directly involved.
Appreciating the guest, the Chairman, Sam Erejuwa reemphasized that the Commission will not relent in its efforts to mitigate the numerous challenges of the mandate areas and make life better for its people. He assured that the funds received through the intervention programmes will be judiciously utilized for the development of the mandate areas.