By Emeka Nwokocha
Evang. Gabriel Isibeluo led Host Communities Producing Oil and Gas (HOSTCOM), Delta State chapter, Saturday 9 February, 2019, paid a courtesy visit to the highly revered Igwe of oil rich Okpai kingdom, HRM, Goldring Enebeli Ugbome II, (JP).
In his address, Evang. Isibeluo described the traditional ruler as a dependable and astute personality of noble disposition, deserving a great honour.
Briefing the monarch on the purpose of the visit, Isibeluo said, “the HOSTCOM family is here to thank you for accepting to be one of our patrons. We are very grateful to you for deeming it important to attend our inauguration in Warri, Delta State, despite your tight engagements. Your Majesty, you also attended the inauguration of HOSTCOM, Ndokwa chapter to prove your unwavering support for the cause HOSTCOM stand for. We are indeed very grateful to you.”
Continuing, Isibeluo expressed gratitude to the Royal Father for showing uncommon commitment in the growth of HOSTCOM, even as he described him as a father with a kind heart whose concern for the wellbeing of his people and humanity is legendary.
He told the monarch that the decision to make him patron of HOSTCOM was informed by the honour and respect he commands as a traditional ruler of humble disposition.
“we chose you to be our patron because of the honour you command as a monarch of inestimable pedigree.
“We honour the royal stool and know the power and prestige it commands. That is the reason we are seeking your fatherly suppprt and advice while we engage the relevant agencies and government to advocate for the rights of the oil bearing communities to quality standard of living.”
Recalling the challenges impeding the growth of HOSTCOM over the years, Evang. Isibeluo said that it was time to reposition the pressure group to achieve its desired goals, noting that a progressive partnership with the government of the day is desirable.
Isibeluo noted that the support governor Ifeanyi Okowa had given to HOSTCOM is commendable, saying that if the governor’s efforts were not sabotaged, HOSTCOM would have acheived greater development in recent times.
Continuing, Isibeluo said HOSTCOM would support governor Okowa’s re-election in the forthcoming 2019 gubernatorial election. The Delta State HOSTCOM Chairman affirmed that the political arrangement in Delta state makes the governorship seat rotatational among the three senatorial districts, noting that it is now Delta North’s turn to occupy the office for eight (8) unbroken years.
He said, “As a body, we want to be part of the politics of the day. We want to move HOSTCOM forward beyond rhetorics. We have decided to choose incumbent governor Ifeanyi Okowa as the right candidate and we will vote in bloc for his re-election.”
To drive governor Okowa reelection, Evang. Isibeluo said HOSTCOM is embarking on ethnic mobilisation and sensitisation exercise across the oil bearing communities, noting that the Ijaw, Ndokwa, Ika, Itsekiri, and Isoko ethnic nations had been visited.
Speaking on the lingering gas flaring money, Isibeluo stated that the federal government would release the money soon, even as he affirmed that a 15-man steering committee that would appropriate the gas flaring money is at the verge of being inaugurated and presented to President Muhammad Buhari for endorsement. He stressed that the administration of the gas flaring money shall be restricted to the communities impacted by gas flaring.
In his response through a spokesman, the monarch of Okpai kingdom, HRM, Goldring Ugbome expressed appreciation to HOSTCOM for making him a patron, saying it is a great honour to him. He prayed for peace and development in HOSTCOM, saying that the vision and efforts of the leaders of the pressure group shall successful.