Pipeline Surveillance Contract: Addressing Chief Ogbebor’s Case of Double Standard
By Jacob Abai
Chief Rita-Lori Ogbebor’s recent opposition to the award of a N48 billion surveillance contract to the former leader of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), Chief Government Ekpemupolo alias Tompolo, has again confirmed as true the time-honoured belief that ‘the greatest problem of man is that man is the problem’.
Ogbebor, in a widely circulated publication on Tuesday, September 13, 2022, cautioned the federal government against igniting a war in the oil-rich region and called for the immediate revocation of the pipeline surveillance contract to individuals in the area. But to the consternation of well-meaning Deltans and the watching world, Lori, in the same publication, broadly maintained what qualifies as unmindful silence on or consciously decided to flagrantly ignore the fact that a similar contract with a higher quantum in scope, value and funds was within the same breadth awarded to Ogiame Atuwatse III, the Olu of Warri, a kingdom where Rita-Lori Ogbebor hails from.
Essentially, aside from Lori’s non-recognition of the fact that the ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience but where he stands at the time of challenge and controversy, making her latest diatribe a reality to worry about is the awareness that it came at a time the federal government is doing everything legitimate and democratic to sustain the peace enjoyed in the Niger region and also increase the nation’s revenue that has nose-dived due to the unwholesome activities of oil bunkering.
Is Rita-Lori not aware of these facts?
Is she also unaware that Pipelines Infrastructure Limited, a company owned by the Olu of Warri, was contracted to superintend crude oil-bearing pipelines in Rivers and the Akwa Ibom States at a net sum of N11.5 billion Monthly and N138.7 billion per annum?
Or has she forgotten that the said sum excludes the already existing contract in Delta and Bayelsa States awarded some years to Ocean Marine Solution Limited owned by the late Captain Hosa OKunbo, the father-in-law to Olu of Warri, where the Olu of Warri also, and currently functions as the substantive Chairman?
Comparatively, if these high volumes and chains of pipeline surveillance-related contracts valued at over N11.5 billion monthly and N138.7 billion per annum currently managed by and bounties single-handedly enjoyed by the Olu of Warri and his family could not cause trouble in the Niger Delta region, all these years, how could the paltry sum of N48 billion per annum contract recently awarded to Chief Tompolo elicit crisis?
Is Chief (Mrs) Rita-Lori Ogbebor oblivious that Tompolo has magnanimously sublet the Itsekiri aspect of the pipeline contract to an Itsekiri son, Chief Emami Ayiri, in his determination to carry everybody along as far as the pipeline contract is concerned?
Has she forgotten that very recently, Itsekiri youths stormed Oporoza, headquarters of the Gbaramatu Kingdom in Delta State, where they declared their support for Tompolo and promised to work with him on the pipeline contract awarded to him by the federal government?
While this piece calls on Chief (Mrs) Rita-Lori Ogbebor to ponder on these questions, I hold the opinion that the Niger Delta region will be an abode of peace where development reigns supreme if the likes of Chief (Mrs) Rita-Lori Ogbebor could repent of their evil thoughts and slanted actions.
Abai is the Publisher/Editor-in-Chief of the Niger Delta leading newspaper, the GbaramatuVoice Newspaper