The Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, has re-emphasized the need for oil companies operating in the Niger Delta to relocate their headquarters to their areas of operation, adding that those who left in the wake of the crisis in the region about a decade ago should also come back with the return of peace and in the interest of the rapid development of the area.
Omo-Agege made the call while fielding question from newsmen on the occasion of his visit to his country home, Orogun, Ughelli North Local Area, Delta State.
It would be recalled that the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, had made a similar call about three years ago when he visited the Niger Delta.
Omo-Agege, who had condemned an alleged contemplated move for the headquarters of the Nigerian Gas Company Ltd, to Abuja, noted that the relocation of the headquarters of oil multinational companies to the Niger Delta will speed up the development of the area just as it will create job opportunities to the youths and engender the atmosphere of peace in the region.
He said: “I’m sure the message has been sent that they cannot move; they must remain. And for those who have left, they must give a serious thought to relocating back to the Niger Delta.
“What I’m saying now is not really news. Even the Vice President, not too long ago, I believe, enjoined all those companies that left the Niger Delta, to relocate back. So, what I’m saying now is just following suit.”
In a related development, the Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, had said that the just-concluded screening of the 43 ministerial nominees sent to the Senate by President Muhammadu Buhari was basically to ensure that they met the minimum requirements to become cabinet members.
Omo-Agege stated this while fielding questions from newsmen in Orogun, Delta State recently.
Omo-Agege who stated that the 43 nominees sent by the President had already passed through the crucible of security screening before their names were sent to the Senate, noted that, in line with the provisions of the 4th alteration of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), the screening was to ensure that the nominees satisfy the minimum requirements in age, educational qualification and free of security issues within the last ten years.
He said: “President Muhammadu Buhari, having contested and won election, is entitled to work with whoever he wants. Our job in the Senate is not really to examine the nominees, but just to ensure they meet the barest minimum qualifications as required by the constitution.
“We all know what it is. For you to be a minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, you must have the minimum qualifications with the membership of the House of Representatives. Following the provision of the 4th alteration we made in the constitution, it has reduced the age qualification of the House of Reps to 25 years.
“So for us, it is just to go through the checklist. Is this nominee up to 25 years? If the answer is yes, we tick it. Is he educated up to School Certificate? That is what the constitution requires. If yes, we tick it. Has he/she been convicted of crime within the last ten years? If no, we tick it. Is he a Nigerian citizen? If yes, we tick it. And of course, is he a member of a political party? If yes, we tick it because you cannot run for the membership of the House of Reps without being sponsored by a political party.
“Once they meet these minimum requirements, the President has the right to work with them. And that was the template which the Senate worked with to clear them.”
Also dwelling on the qualifications of the nominees presented for screening, Omo-Agege recalled that that Mr. President insisted on nominating those he knows himself, adding that before they were sent to the Senate, “they had gone through the benches of the SSS and we received the certificates of clearance from the SSS.” According to him, “before we began the screening process, we knew that none of them had legal issues.”
On the state of the APC in Delta State, Omo-Agege expressed support for total reconciliation of the party, adding that “I think it is about time.”
He assured that he will use his position in the Senate to empower his people and indeed the entire country.
Earlier, while addressing the mammoth crowd that thronged the country home of the Senator in Orhomuru, Orogun to welcome him, Omo-Agege acknowledged and thanked the Urhobo people who voted for him to become Senator for a second time.
He also thanked President Buhari for supporting and giving him the opportunity to be elected the Deputy President of the Senate as well as his colleagues who, “in spite of all odds”, gave him their support to ensure he emerged as the number two principal officer in the Senate.
Omo-Agege urged the Urhobo people to support President Buhari in his next level agenda, adding that the President has been very magnanimous to Delta Central by supporting him to become Deputy President of the Senate as well as appointing an illustrious son of Urhobo, Festus Keyamo as Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Disclosing that he actually came home to attend the funeral of a late APC chieftain in the state, Late Chief Adolor Okotie-Eboh in Warri, the Senator expressed gratitude to the membership of the party in the state.
Present at the occasion were the party executive in the state led by the chairman, Prophet Jones Ode Erue, the 2019 APC governorship candidate, Chief Great Ogboru, the Vice chairman, Delta Central, Olorogun Barr Adelabu Bodjor, Olorogun Richard Odibo, Olorogun Bernard Okumagba, Dr. Veronica Ogbuagu, amongst other party faithful.