The hue and cry about the relocation of International Oil Companies (IOCs)to their operational bases continue to hit the front burner of discussions and organised conversations in the oil rich region of Nigeria, just as indications have emerged that the former governor of Akwa Ibom State, Arc Obong Victor Attah allegedly caused the refusal of the oil giant, Mobil Producing Nigeria to relocate to Akwa Ibom State during his days in office.
Former governor Attah’s frantic efforts at pulling the oil major to Akwa Ibom and that of resisting the proud and arrogant President Olusegun Obasanjo to accede to give accent to the 13% derivation Law were notable efforts of Obong Attah which yielded an aspect of the result as noted by many persons in Akwa Ibom State.
Obong Attah is one of the champions of Pan Niger Delta Forum(PANDEF) and joins hand to fight the cause of the exploited communities under PANDEF, even though oil is yet to be found in his community in Ibesikpo Asutan local government area of Akwa Ibom State.
This Paper learnt that Mobil had signed an MoU with Eket in 1998 to relocate to Eket in 1999 but Attah’s arrival as the governor of Akwa Ibom State then stalled that arrangement and agreement.
In his last outing on the Inspiration FM 109.5 Obong Attah is said to have talked with all amount of infallibility with regards to performance during his days in office, notably claiming and, or feigning ignorance of any additional hospital or science school built by successive governments of the state, after him.
One of the keen listeners to Obong Attah’s interview on the said radio station who did not want his name in print alleged that the five star Architect of note has a lot of baggage, one of which was his role in Mobil’s refusal to relocate to Akwa Ibom State during his reign on the throne of Akwa Ibom State.
The source said he wanted Mobil to relocate to Uyo, but Mobil disagreed, arguing that they could not afford the road blocks by five local government areas(from Uyo to Eket) before arriving in the office each day.
While Akwa Ibom citizens were being made to believe that Mobil was adamant to their demands by refusing to relocate to Akwa Ibom State, Obong Attah whose Oath of office demanded that he should be of service and open to the people who elected him, never bothered to tell the people why Mobil refused to relocate to Akwa Ibom State.
Mobil itself must have cashed in on that to keep its distance from the very people whose communities its exploration activities have ravaged their farmlands, ecosystem and aquatic life over the years.
However hope is still being rekindled as PANDEF, led by Chief Edwin Clark has recently lent its voice that it was cruel and unfair for Mobil not to relocate its operational headquarters to Eket.
Clark who spoke at the General Assembly of Pan Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF in Uyo also urged Chevron to relocate its headquarters to Warri, Delta State, Agip should relocate to Bayelsa while Shell’s haphazard relocation to Rivers State should be concretized.
As at the time of filing this report it was not possible to reach Obong Victor Attah for his comments.
(C) The Waves Newspaper, Uyo.