As a mission statement expressly provided in the law setting up DESOPADEC by the Delta State House of Assembly in 2006 and fully activated in July 2007, the Commission is meant “To put smiles on the faces of the people in the host oil and gas producing communities of the State through massive infrastructural and human capital development.”
Without undermining one for the other, the current board rolled up its sleeves from the blast of the whistle to deliver balanced intervention across the mandate areas in critical infrastructure, education, health, housing, water, road, transportation sub-sectors, as well as in re-skilling the youth in a well thought-out, all-purpose vocational programme to empower them.
The result was the creation of the DESOPADEC Skills Acquisition Academy with the endpoint of making the youth properly skilled, gainfully engaged and productively useful to themselves.
This innovative human capital development template which was officially kick-started in the first quarter of 2020 in a well structured non-formal curriculum saw successful pioneer candidates admitted into the scheme in a grand Matriculation Ceremony.
The intent was clear: To give successful trainees a lifetime opportunity in honing their skills in various chosen vocational fields. The skills acquisition scope include Welding and Fabrications; Electrical and Electronic Repairs; Solar Energy Works; Tiling, Interlocking and P.O.P. Works; Catering and Confectioneries; Shoe, Bag Making and Leather Works; Information and Communication Technology, ICT; Health, Safety and Environment, HSE; Fashion Design and Tailoring; Hairdressing and Makeover.
The programme entails a 6-month intensive training and practical exposure, and assessment, evaluation and certification by relevant national technical education boards.
The DESOPADEC Skills Acquisition Academy started with 160 trainees drawn from all six ethnic nationalities within the mandate areas. They underwent an orientation programme on financial management and efficient bookkeeping preparatory for their eventual graduation which was held at the Petroleum Training Institute, PTI., Effurun, Delta State.
The high point of the graduation ceremony was their being well resourced with modern working tools and equipment, aka Starter Packs, to get them to hit the ground running from day one.
It must be stated here that besides the huge investment in their training and starter packs, the graduands also generally got a cash backup of N200,000 each. Some graduands got an extra N500,000 each for emerging as best trainees in their respective fields while a star prize of N1 million was awarded to the Overall Best Trainee.
The extra gestures were borne out of a deep commitment by a responsive team and leadership determined to touch lives in a most salutary and impactful way.
The DESOPADEC Skills Academy has graduated two sessions and graduates its 3rd batch by the end of January 2023 after which the 4th batch would immediately commence.
Mention must also necessarily be made of the highly impactful annual Bursary Scheme in favour of tens of thousands of mandate areas students in Nigerian tertiary institutions.
The impact of this payment to the students is to be appreciated in the fact that many of them have expressed heartfelt gratitude to the Board and Management of DESOPADEC for their responsiveness, especially at the very precarious period of the global COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.
In keeping with tradition, arrangement is already concluded for the commencement of payment of for 2022/2023 within the month of February.
Without doubt, the human capital development agenda of the current DESOPADEC board has been greeted with huge aplomb and commended by Government and diverse traditional and community leaders as a noble partnership that supports the greater vision of the Okowa administration which is to build as many youths in the state into responsible, financially independent and prosperous citizens.
Education is one of the parameters used to assess the development of societies and regions, especially by the Sustainable Development Goals. It thus has remained a key sectorial focus in the development of DESOPADEC mandate areas.
Since its establishment in 2007, DESOPADEC has given utmost attention to education through diverse expressions and the Askia Ogieh-led board has sustained this noble trend since its inauguration in August 2019 to embark on delivering brand new or completely renovated or refurbished blocks of classrooms, Lecture Halls, ICT facilities, perimeter fencing, water schemes, Principal Lodges, Lecturers and Staff Quarters, Student Hostels and Halls of Residence, Corpers Lodges, provision of books and furniture, amongst a range of other facilities all tailored towards guaranteeing a conducive environment for teaching and learning.
These landmark projects in the education sub-sector which are in hundreds litter the ethnic nationalities of the Commission’s mandate areas. They span all cadres of education – elementary, secondary and tertiary – and draw directly from the needs assessment policy and consultations with the respective benefitting communities.
These interventions address inadequacies and help to still the billows of agitation and apprehension that seem to linger over time.
Despite the global COVID-19 pandemic that threatened lives and upended the socio-economic fortunes of nations, it is incredible that the board could very decisively take on many cost-intensive projects in the sector and deliver at high quality.
Social and Community Development
The social and community development sector is one of the most strategic areas in which the Commission has recorded remarkable impact in touching the lives of both its internal and external publics through massive projects.
The construction of social and cultural monument projects by the current board of the Commission is consonant with its corporate policy and strictly guided by the needs assessment of the respective benefitting communities.
Today, the Commission has practically intervened, alongside many other sectors, in delivering well designed, fully furnished, breathtaking, state-of-the-art and aesthetically appealing civic centres that meet cultural exigencies and stoke intrinsic pride in various communities across its mandate areas.
Some of the interventions ranging from outright construction to renovation include the unifying cultural edifice popularly known as “Opute Hall” at Ozoro in Isoko North LGA; the sprawling Bashorun Askia Civic Centre at Uzere, Isoko South LGA; Obodo Town Hall, Warri South LGA; National Town Hall, Ogume, Ndokwa West LGA; Sokebolou Civic Centre, Burutu LGA; the newly constructed and fully furnished Ultra Modern Osubi Civic Centre at Okpe LGA; the Ultra Modern Market with lock-up shops and expansive parking lot at Uzere, Isoko South L.G.A, amongst others.
The projects attest to the ever proactive and responsive approach of the current board in fostering business, interaction and bonding among the people.
Nothing truly could be too much to achieve this focal objective. Little wonder the awards have kept pouring in in torrents to a Commission that has become the toast of a dozen media and award conferment establishments!
Undoubtedly, our testimonial of infrastructure and human capital development interventions evidence a deep commitment to the elevation of human dignity and environmental equity for the people and communities of Delta State oil producing areas. It is a commitment that DESOPADEC will continue to rekindle for the good of the people.