Official Inauguration of Ochia-Assa GMoU Community Development Board

The Global Memorandum of Understanding GMoU as adopted by some oil companies put the development of communities at the feet of host communities but with the active guidance of development partners and the sponsors (i.e. the oil companies) for the success of the process. Hence, the inauguration of Ochia-Assa Community Development Board was in furtherance of the process of community development as nominees from host communities were inaugurated to flag off a new dispensation. A total of Twenty-six (26) members make up the board.

As part of the mandate for the board, they are expected to work in tandem with WalterSmith who are the sponsors and Accord For Community Development who are the facilitating Non-Governmental Organization. The board are expected to oversee the administration of the GMoU fund on behalf of their communities which is meant for diverse projects.

Proceedings from Board Inauguration

  1. Opening Formalities

The inauguration session commenced with an opening prayer. The lead facilitator from Accord for Community Development, led by Victor Akubor welcomed all participants which include members of staff of WalterSmith, the traditional rulers from the various communities of Ochia, Assa, Obile, Awarra, nominated members of the board, community observers and officers of Accord For Community Development.

In the course of the opening formalities guests took turns to introduce themselves by stating their names and their respective communities.

Mr. Rowland Ogundu, Assistant General Manager (AGM) WalterSmith welcomed guests for making it a point of duty to attend the inauguration. He reiterated the need for cooperation between the host communities and WalterSmith which he represents to pave way for a win-win that will bring development to the various communities while also ensuring the business of WalterSmith thrives. In the same vein, he advised the new board to ensure they undertake projects that have economic and societal benefits by judiciously using the allotted GMoU funds of 100million naira to benefit all and sundry. The AGM further noted that in the realm of development, no sum is too small to develop a community.

  1. Presentation on GMoU Modalities and Expectations of Ochia-Assa Board

Presentation on GMoU Modalities and Expectations of Ochia Assa Board

A presentation on GMoU modalities and expectation was made by Accord For Community Development. The board members were informed that they are accountable to the community leaders who nominated them and as such are expected to work in the best interest of their community in which they represent. Similarly, the lead facilitator of Accord informed the board members that they are expected to follow due process in the discharge of their duties while also ensuring their communication with the community folks are true and not misleading.

Furthermore, the nominated board members were informed that they are bound to face some challenges but they should brace up to tackle them as they manifest.

General Contributions and Submissions

Contribution from WalterSmith

The following contributions and submissions from the various stakeholders surfaced in the course of the inauguration:

  1. The traditional rulers in tandem with the board members and community people unanimously agreed that the newly constituted board will work without a functional executive. It was agreed that decisions will be taken during board meetings and in the presence of board members. However, for administrative convenience, a board chairman will be nominated and ably assisted by a secretary and treasurer who will be a woman.
  2. Also, it was agreed upon that all the documentation for board members inclusive of names across communities should be completed and forwarded within 2 weeks.

Questions and Answers

Guests and participants had the opportunity to ask questions as it bothers on grey areas on their mandate as board members. In the case of who is eligible to bid for projects, the lead facilitator from Accord explained that community contractors are expected to make their bidding and whoever qualifies will be awarded the project to run. The rationale for community contractors handling project is to pave way for accountability and seriousness of the task on community development.

Also, in addition, the Assistant General Manager at WalterSmith informed members that the company has zero tolerance on members of staff nominating contractors for the community. However, clarification was made that only on special cases where consultants when needed for complex matters that are outside the purview of the board and community, only then will WalterSmith choose to nominate and recommend on their behalf.

Oath Taking for Board Members

Board members taking their oath of office

The board members were officially inaugurated as Ochia-Assa Community Development Board after the administration of the oath of service by the lead facilitator of Accord. A total of Twenty-sis (26) persons constitute the members of the board.                              

Inauguration Wrap-up/End of Session

The traditional rulers in attendance were given the opportunity to give their final comments towards the end of the inauguration. The traditional rulers unanimously recommended that WalterSmith should look for a way to incorporate some funds for their respective palaces which should be separate from the GMoU funds for projects.

Also Hon. Chidi Igwe gave the final closing remarks as he implored all stakeholders to work assiduously to seeing to the success of the board and ultimately the developmental strides of the various communities who will be the immediate beneficiaries of socio-economic interventions.   The inauguration ended with a closing prayer and group photographs were taken subsequently.   

Read 1093 times Last modified on Wednesday, 02 October 2019 12:32

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