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Oru East And The Politics Of Oil

Oru East local government area of Imo State is one of the twelfth (12th ) LGAs in the Orlu zone. It falls under Orlu, Orsu and Oru East federal constituency. It also happens to be the local government of our incumbent governor, Distinguished Senator Hope Uzodinma. But is it really an Oil Producing local Government? We shall know at the end of this piece.

First of all, the Imo state is a  member of the nine ( 9) oil-producing states in Nigeria. They are Rivers state, Bayelsa, Delta, Abia, Cross River, Akwa Ibom, Imo, Ondo, and Edo states. Imo State became a member of the oil-producing states because of the quantity of oil produced by the two local governments of OhajiEgbema and Oguta.

The two Oil bearing communities have large oil wells where oil is produced in commercial quantities since 1958. In fact, the production of oil in the two LGAs of Imo State has reduced the fertility of the soil used for farming purposes. It might interest you to know that the two local governments were initially known as the food baskets of the nation due to their large scale farming activities. But today what do we see? We see and hear more of restiveness caused by the advent of oil. Its exploration and exploitation have reduced the production of food crops. The danger is what we are enjoying today.

Interestingly, the two LGAs that lay the golden eggs are reportedly backward developmentally. Many of the communities do not enjoy electricity, pipe-borne water, good roads, well-built schools, etc. The marginalization of the oil-bearing communities of OhajiEgbema and Oguta is highly degrading.

A trip to the two LGAs will shock you because of the damages done to them by the oil companies. Some people will ask, is the presence of oil companies in OhajiEgbema and Oguta a curse or a blessing. It is good to mention the number of oil companies operating in the areas for clarity’s sake. Shell BP, Addax, Waltersmith, Seplat, Nigeria Agip Oil Company,  Sterling Global just to mention but a few and yet the place is still underdeveloped.

Now, Oru East local government area is clamoring to be a member of the Imo State oil producing Area Development Commission ISOPADEC. Fine and good but has it fulfilled the requirements of being a member. Firstly, it must be an oil-producing local government. Secondly, it must produce in commercial quantities.

Thirdly, it must have done that for a reasonable number of years. Then the first agitation should be to join the Niger Delta Development Commission NDDC which is a national body. It means that the agitation should start from the Centre that is the federal government should know. Oil, of course, is an exclusive reserve of the Federal government. When that is done, the LGA will come home and automatically be included in the Imo State oil producing Area Development Commission ISOPADEC simple and short.

I am meant to understand that the Addax oil company is operating in Oru East local government area. Kudos to them and I wish them well. I pray that more local government areas should join after all in Rivers state all the twenty-three local governments are producing oil and that is why they don’t have ISOPADEC. They simply share their 13 percent oil derivatives,  local government by local government without hassles.

Oru East local government area is a very important local government area in the political sphere of Imo State. It has produced many eminent sons and daughters in the state. It might interest you to know that our incumbent governor is from there, so there is no way it can be relegated to the background.

My humble advice is that the right things should be done if they want to join the oil-producing local government areas rather than causing chaos at the local level as exhibited by the honorable member representing Oru East state constituency at the Imo State House of Assembly, Owerri recently. Hon Chiagoziem Nwaneri at the floor of the house said Oru East local government area should be included in the Imo State oil producing Area Development Commission ISOPADEC, a bill which is dead on arrival due to lack of due process in it.

The Speaker of the house, Hon Chiji Collins should critically study the process of joining the revered institution and follow due process of law rather than going into hasty legislation that will create a bad image for him. He should also ensure that relevant laws be made that will engender even development of the already existing local government areas that produce oil in Imo State. That will encourage other local governments to search for Oil in their domains.

Imo must be better.

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