Delta council crisis deepens as Speaker emerges acting chairman
• Okowa picks eight more commissioners • Constitutes DESOPADEC board
THE last may not have been heard of the crisis rocking Uvwie Local Council of Delta State as 13 of the 18 councilors have suspended indefinitely the acting Chairman, Mrs. Stella Debona, accusing her of disregarding the resolutions of the legislature by defreezing the accounts of the council earlier frozen in the wake of the indefinite suspension of the chairman, Henry Minabowanre Baro, by the state’s House of Assembly over alleged financial misconduct and anti-party activities weeks back.
The Speaker of the legislative arm, Raymond Ebimiwei, has, therefore, been ordered to act as the council chairman.
Also yesterday, youths and women as well as leaders of groups marched through major streets of Warri, Effurun and Enerhen calling for Baro’s reinstatement.
The protest, though peaceful, caused long traffic jams in the affected areas as motorists and commuters had hectic day trudging through the crowd.
There was also heavy presence of armed policemen in and around the council secretariat to provide security.
The protesters, numbering over a thousand, sported T-shirts with inscriptions like “Bring Back Our Chairman”, “Baro is the One we want”, “Uvwie Needs Peace not War”. They equally displayed placards conveying their demand for the reinstatement of the suspended chairman.
Some well-dressed chiefs from different quarters of the council, who joined the move for the recall of the chairman, said he should be reinstated for peace to reign in the area, urging the House of Assembly to do the needful.
“Since he was suspended, the chairman has respectfully stayed away from office for peace to reign. He has not disrupted the running of the council in anyway. And this is the hallmark of a leader who holds his people in high esteem”, Chief Collins Akpomena told The Guardian yesterday.
Also, the new acting chairman, Ebimiwei said the chairman was unlawfully removed, saying the House never got the statutory two-third consent of members of the legislative arm of the council before effecting Baro’s suspension.
Meanwhile, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa has forwarded names of eight commissioner-nominees for confirmation just as he announced the composition of the new governing board of the state’s Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (DESOPADEC).
In two separate letters to the State House of Assembly Speaker Monday Igbuya yesterday, the governor said the nomination was in consonance with Section 192 (2) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).
The nominees include Mofe Pirah, Asupa Forteta, Henry Siapkra, Chika Ossai, Dan Okeyin, Jude Sinebe, Patrick Ukah and David Edevbie.
In the second letter, Okowa said DESOPADEC’s board composition was in tune with Section 7 (1) (a) of the law establishing the commission.
The nominees for the interventionist agency’s governing board are: Godwin Ebosa (Chairman), Chief William Makinde as Managing Director, Chief Askia Ogieh, Phillip Gbasin and Ochor Christopher Ochor, all Executive Directors.
Chief Amos Itiwhe, Chief Pius Ovbije, Jonathan Amitaye, Ovie Oghoore, Chief Thomas Ereyitomi, Nnamdi Ezechi, Mr. Fedelis Oputa and Chief Favour Izoukumor emerged representatives of oil producing areas in the state.