By Chioma Obinagwam
Foremost indigenous energy company, Seplat Petroleum Development Company Plc, has reaffirmed its resolve to developing communities in Imo State, where it has operations, and ensuring that more lives are positively impacted in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The Chairman, SEPLAT, Dr. ABC Orjiako, said this at the weekend when he led a management team of the company in a courtesy call to the Imo State Governor, His Excellency, Senator Hope Uzodinma and leaders of host communities in Ohaji and others, at the Government House, Owerri.
The call, which was aimed at fostering better relationship among stakeholders to drive sustainable development in the State, had Governor Uzodinma laud Seplat’s success story in Nigeria and internationally.
He also charged the Seplat Chairman and his team to take advantage of the current shared prosperity model of 3-R, which is the super structure of Rehabilitation, Reconstruction and Recovery of key economic and political institutions in the State and host communities in particular.
“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,” Uzodinma stated, urging that SEPLAT should continue to engage the Imo people in the running of the company.
“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 qualifications, train them to your standard and use them,” Governor Uzodinma said.
In line with the development of key Infrastructure in Imo State, the Governor further urged Seplat to take advantage of a federal government tax relief and embark on the re(construction) of one or two federal roads in Imo State.
His Excellency, the Imo State Governor also encouraged Seplat to do more town hall meetings with its host communities, where the needs of the people would be collectively assessed based on global standards regardless of the existing Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programmes.
Governor Uzodinma said Seplat will gain more by engaging the traditional rulers and the town union president of the host community on how the company and the host communities can work together, stressing that his administration is interested in establishing a petro-chemical industry and gas fabrication plant that can power a planned industrial layout in Owerri.
Governor Uzodinma, therefore, promised to work with Seplat to ensure that the ANOH Gas Project at Assa becomes a success story.
In his remark, Dr. Orjiako agreed with the Governor of Imo State on the development plans, whilst explaining 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.
According to the Seplat Chairman, over the years, the Company had invested immensely on the people of Imo State and the communities hosting its operations, and had a strong resolve to consolidate on these developmental strides with the motive of achieving sustainable progress.
Dr. Orjiako commended the Governor for taking the initiative, despite his very busy schedule, to grant Seplat and the host communities hearing on how both can work together to achieve development for the state.
Also speaking, the traditional ruler of Assa in Ohaji, Eze Emmanuel Aso, commended Governor Uzodinma for giving them the opportunity to interface with Seplat once again.
Eze Aso further assured the Governor and the Seplat team of the community’s cooperation and support, while committing to the common resolve of all stakeholders to create value for the communities and the state at large.
The meeting had in attendance 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.
Also in attendance were leaders from Ohaji such as the 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 Assa Autonomous Community, Chief Charles Orie, among others.