The Imo State Governor, His Excellency, Senator Hope Uzodimma gave his support on the Development of Imo Communities by SEPLAT Company when the Chairman of Seplat, Dr. ABC Orjiakor led an eight man management team to the Government House, Owerri to interface with the Governor and leaders from their host community in Ohaji, on how to foster a better relationship that would guarantee sustainable development.
Governor Uzodimma who lauded Seplat as a success story, both locally and internationally, charged the Chairman and his team to take advantage of the current Shared Prosperity 3R Government to deepen the existing relationship the oil company has with the state and its host community.
“There is a new order. We may not be able to do business as usual in Ohaji where the traditional ruler will not be recognized in decision making and taking of the companies doing business in his community.” Uzodimma stated.
Gov. Uzodimma further urged the SEPLAT Complany to include Imo people in their management team.
“If the community is good to host your business, the people from the community should also be good to be part of the management. If you think they do not have the requisite qualification, train them to your standard and use them,” Governor Uzodimma said.
In line with the development of key Infrastructure in Imo State, Governor Uzodimma admonished Dr. Orjiakor to take advantage of a federal Government Tax Relief to his company and embark on the re(construction) of one or two federal roads in Imo State.
The governor encouraged Seplat to do more town hall meetings with their host community where they will collectively assess the needs of the people based on global standards regardless of the existing Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programme.
Governor Uzodimma said Seplat will gain more by engaging the traditional ruler and the town union president of the host community on how the company and the host community can work together, saying “we will no longer allow the place to be used as a community where people go to hire thugs because this is a new era.”
The Governor also challenged Dr. Orjiakor to bring the headquarters of Seplat to Imo, saying “I want to commission your headquarters in Imo State.”
Governor Uzodimma reminded Dr. Orjiakor that his administration is interested in establishing a petro-chemical industry and gas fabrication plant that can power a planned industrial layout in Owerri, and promised to work with Seplat to ensure that the ANOH Gas Project at Asa becomes a success story.
Dr. Orjiakor agreed with the Governor of Imo State, Senator Hope Uzodimma on their plans of development, added that Seplat is interested in developing the area where the company is located and that the firm places premium on quality of life of the people.
The MD, SEPLAT Company, Dr. Orjiakor commended the Governor for taking the initiative, despite his very busy schedule, to grant Seplat and the host community audience on how both can work together to achieve development for the society.
Also speaking, the traditional ruler of Asa in Ohaji, Eze Emmanuel Aso, commended Governor Uzodimma for giving them the opportunity to interface with Seplat, noting that what looks like a challenged relationship with the oil company was due to the seed of discord which the former Administration sowed in the community which made some of the indigenes of the community to see themselves as outlaws.
Eze Aso further pleaded with the Governor to rein in the few individuals in the community who have been carrying on as if Government does not exist.
The meeting was well attended with the Deputy Governor of Imo State, Prof. Placid Njoku, the Chief of Staff, Bar. Nnamdi Anyaehie, Commissioners, and other members of the expanded state executive council in attendance.
Also in attendance were leaders from Ohaji such as former Speaker of the Imo State House of Assembly who is now the Special Adviser to the Governor on Petroleum Matters, Goodluck Opiah, the Traditional Prime Minister of Asa Autonomous Community, Chief Charles Orie, among others.