Ayetoro Sea Incursion. Reflective Discourse and Urgent Need to Open Up Ondo South in Ondo State, Nigeria for Patent Development


Academic Paper, 2021

28 Pages, Grade: 74


Excerpt

Inhaltsverzeichnis

Introduction

Ayetoro: An Oil Producing Community Deserted by Government

Interventionist Agencies: of Corruption, Profligacy and Habitual Projects Abandonment

What is Ondo State Government doing to help the people of Ayetoro and neighboring Ilaje communities?

Lessons and Recommendations

Conclusion

References

Ayetoro Sea Incursion: Reflective Discourse and Urgent Need to Open Up Ondo South for Patent Development.

IKUEMONISAN, Bababo Major

Abstract

"Since the pioneer discovery of crude oil in Nigeria, the country is still hindered by financial and economic challenges due to the mismanagement of crude oil proceeds accruing to the country. When in 2008, crude oil price crashed, Nigeria had savings to fall back on. The Nigeria government led by Goodluck Jonathan seized this opportunity to squander the proceeds of the oil boom years in a spree of official corruption and profligacy. Thus, Nigeria was declared broke and reported to hit economic recession for the first time in decades towards the end of Jonathan's administration. In 2015, Muhammadu Buhari inherited a depressing economy which continue to grow worse occasioned by collapse in oil prices and the COVID-19 pandemic which plunged the Nigerian economy into severe economic recession, the worst since the 1980s. Events of the past have showed that, the country may remain trapped in this quagmire as Government has failed to make provision for the economic shocks that future unexpected slump in oil price could cause by truly diversifying the economy. This is because, the Nigerian's economy has been solely dependent on oil and the unexpected fall in price of crude oil usually reverberates in the whole country in terms of performance of the economy. As an oil producing state, the effect can be seen clearly in Ondo State. From 2012 to 2016, Ondo State received #386 billion from the Federation Account and the state generated #97 billion revenue from grants, and subventions, internal loans, budget support, dividend and interest received on investments and internally generated revenue. However, for the period under review, the state's Statutory Allocation was in steady decline. The Statutory Allocation decreased from #105 billion in 2012 to #98 billion in 2013. Similarly, it declined from #98 billion in 2013 to #77 billion in 2014 and from #54 billion in 2015 to #51 billion in 2016. During this period, barrel price of crude oil dropped from $109.45 per barrel to $40.68 per barrel {NEITI, 2020}. The state’s domestic debt almost doubled from N30.88bn in 2013, to N58.55bn in 2017. External debt moved within a tight range; from $50.2m in 2015, down to $49.53m in 2016, then growing to $50.25mn in 2017 while the state’s IGR dropped from N11.72bn in 2014, to N10.93bn in 2017 {BudgetIT, 2020}. Evidently, Ondo State is one of the states extending its external debt stocks at a faster rate than they are growing Internally Generated Revenue. This has led to the state's inability to pay workers' salary and hindered domestic investment. The continuous decline in statutory allocation to the state is as a result of the decline in the international prices of crude oil. The implication of this is that, oil is no longer reliable or sustainable. Hence, Ondo state government must as a matter of urgency creatively diversify its economy by tapping into the latent economic potentials of the south. This paper therefore shows how this can be done by exploring a historical analysis on Ayetoro Sea Incursion, how Ondo State Government can end the incursion and transform Ayetoro into a Mega Atlantic City; a business hub and a Residential Estate that would enlarge the revenue base of the state. The paper also explores the need for the state to harness the Ecotourism potential of Araromi Seaside Beach from where the state government would generate nothing less than #1.3 billion monthly and the need to translate from paper to reality the "Port of Ondo" project. The paper concludes that, the trio has the key to unlocking the State for patent Development."

Keywords: Ilaje, Ayetoro, Oil Economy, Ecotourism, Port of Ondo

Introduction

The Ilaje people are a distinct sub-group of Yoruba race, who according to history were said to be aboriginals to the present day Ile Ife. However, who migrated many centuries from Ile Ife to the longest coastline in the riverine areas of the current Niger Delta region of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and are presently domiciled in Ilaje Local Government Area of Ondo state. Ilaje Local Government remains the only oil-producing community in Ondo State which contributes about 60,000 per barrel of crude oil per day to the country’s oil production and accounts for 13% Oil derivation fund accruing to the state 1. Aside its Oil wealth, Ilaje Local Government is famous for having the longest coastline in Nigeria estimated at 75km, bitumen, glass sand and quartz. The natural umbworld of Ilajeland is particularly suitable for large scale rice farming and salt industry. Thus, making Ilaje Local Government the most economically viable Local Government in Ondo state. The fact that Ilaje Local Government is opened to the Atlantic Ocean is a huge blessing and for the first time Ondo State Government has realized this as the Rotimi Akeredolu’s Administration has proposed to build a multipurpose Deep Seaport named “The Port of Ondo” in front of the coastline and this would directly connect to a 2, 771.2-hectare free trade zone 2.

Although, there’s no gainsaying the fact that the 75km coastline is a huge blessing. However, over the years the seaboard has become a source of devastation to many communities in the riverine as aggressive inundation continues to chop off the coastline, thereby wreaking havoc on private properties worth billions of naira, crippling people’s aquatic businesses which are the mainstay of local economy, and constant threat to obliterate communities in the riverine with Ayetoro community at the apex of the chart.

Ayetoro: An Oil Producing Community Deserted by Government

Ayetoro, a theocratic and autonomous community, tucked between the turbulent sea and a cobweb of soothing rivers was established on 12th January, 1947 by a group of prophets from different religious denominations {who formed the ‘apostles’} led by Z.O. Okenla. Thus, leading to the establishment of the Holy Apostles Church of Ayetoro. However, Oba Ethiopia Peter Ojagbohunmi became the First King of Ayetoro as directed by the Holy Spirit. The head of the church and his council doubles as the community council handling administrative matters.

Ayetoro has about 12,000 inhabitants of Ilaje origin. It lies east along the coast from Nigeria’s largest economic city, Lagos. Ayetoro is reputed to be the only community in Africa to practice communalism and during its heyday had the highest per capita income in the whole of Africa due to its early discovery of crude oil, and attracted visitors, tourists and researchers from all over the globe 3.

Ayetoro fondly called the “Happy City” was initially about 15-20 kilometres landmass away from the sea. Sadly, today, Ayetoro has lost three {3} kilometres of its landscape to the sea, over four hundred buildings destroyed {including its historic maiden church and its glorious Technical College}, its local economy crippled and the community tends to slide towards extinction. This is not unconnected to the recurring inundation caused by global warming, and majorly by the exploration and exploitation of crude oil offshore by Multinational Oil Corporations in Ayetoro.

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Fig.1: Maiden Holy Apostles Church of Ayetoro| Fig.2: Interior of the Church| Fig.3: The Church now destroyed by the Sea

.Source: Author’s Work Source: Author’s Own Work Source: Author’s Own Work

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Fig.4: Ayetoro Technical College in its heyday. Fig.5: The College relocated, now dilapidated. Fig.6: Atlantic Ocean overshoots Ayetoro, destroys Houses, Offices

Source: Author’s Own Work Source: Author’s Own Work Source: Author’s Own Work.

Interestingly, while Multinational Oil companies exploiting oil from communities in the riverine turned blind eyes to the plight of the people, both the Federal Government and Ondo State Government have done very little to ameliorate the sordid predicament of the people. This is despite the oil sector contributing 71% to government revenue and 90% to foreign exchange earnings over the years 4. Regrettably, the people in the riverine live in misery and penury while the region suffers from chronic underdevelopment in the midst of rich natural endowment.

Findings showed that, since the perennial sea surge started in year 2000, residents of the oil rich region have made frantic appeal to both the Federal and State Government to save the Happy City and neighboring Ilaje Communities from the devastating sea incursion. Unfortunately, Government left them at the mercy of the Atlantic Ocean despite the huge revenue it makes from exploration and exploitation of Crude Oil from these Communities. Perhaps, a deliberate act to ensure the extinction of these communities.

Interventionist Agencies: of Corruption, Profligacy and Habitual Projects Abandonment

The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and Ondo State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission {OSOPADEC} were created in 2000 and 2001 respectively to proffer solution to ecological problems in the Riverine and facilitate development. However, rather than facilitating the rapid, even and sustainable development of the Riverine Oil Producing Communities. These interventionist agencies have become mechanisms through which a few vile and avaricious criminals enrich themselves 5.

Successive Government continue to make these mindless criminals thrive in their unlawful Enterprise as it lacks the political will to neither transform the region nor strong Institutions to prosecute these criminals.

If not, how do we rationalize these:

1. To forestall a reoccurrence of the Ayetoro ocean surge which started in the year 2000, the Niger Delta Development Commission {NDDC} in December 2004 awarded the shoreline protection works to Gallet Nigeria Limited at the cost of N2.4 billion while N600 million was released as mobilisation fee to the contractor. The company, thereafter, mobilised its equipment to Ayetoro but the contract was later terminated in 2008 by the Commission due to alleged lack of technical skill and neglect of the project by the company 6.

How tenable is the assertion that a Federal Government Agency peopled by career civil servants and intellects awarded a contract to a firm without first researching into the firm, its reputation, capacity and prospect to execute the project? At least more than five companies must have bided for the contract. On what ground then was Gallet Nigeria Limited awarded the contract? When it became clear that GNL lacks the technical know-how, what effort was made by NDDC to retrieve a portion of the #600 million or charge the company to court?

Writing in The Nigerian Voice, Agreen Nemba remarked that the Gallet contract is one of numerous ones awarded by NDDC in its five years of existence {2000-2004} as more than 70 per cent of the projects handled by the firm have either not been executed or have been abandoned 7.

With the circumstances surrounding the maiden Ayetoro Shoreline project, one cannot but suspects that certain individuals on the corridor of power benefited from the project.

During my visit to Ayetoro community, a reliable source who do not like to be mentioned expounded:

“NDDC only furnished the public with #600 million as the amount expended on the maiden Ayetoro Shoreline contract. Truth is, the entire #2.4b was released for the contract and has been shared among top politicians of Ilaje origin”.

The source added that:

“Chief Olusola Oke was at the forefront of the contract. He was the one who brought Gallet to Ayetoro in connection with some indigenes of Ayetoro {e.g. Ganiyu Ojagbohunmi} that were at the time working at the National Assembly.”

The information from the anonymous is likely an incontrovertible fact that may beam light on the obscurity surrounding the maiden Ayetoro shoreline project as the period the contract was awarded coincided with the time Chief Olusola Oke was appointed into the pioneer board of the Niger Delta Development Commission between 2000 and 2004. Albeit succeeded by Dr. Ibukun Omotehinse.

Probing further into the Ayetoro Shoreline project abandoned by Gallet Nigeria Limited, a source from Ayetoro community who loved to be anonymous pointed accusing figures to some prominent indigenes of the coastal community. According to the source;

“Gallet was the first company that handled the shoreline project and later abandoned it. Olusola Oke was in NDDC then while Agbo-Ola Ajayi was the Honourable Representing Ilaje/Ese Odo Federal Constituency at the House of Representatives. They were part of the people that brought Gallet. They should be held responsible for failing to use their good offices to lobby fellow patriots for the execution of the Ayetoro Shore project and for failing to play their roles in the development of the entire coastal region of the state.”

Though, it was learned that Agbo-Ola Ajayi while at the House of Representatives {2007-2011} took two indigenes of Ayetoro to Netherland for a comparative study of how the country was able to halt the menace of the Ocean and reclaimed its land through advanced technologies. However, this effort was a cataclysmic failure due to lack of political will by state actors. Agbo-Ola Ajayi later became the Deputy Governor of Ondo State between 2016 and 2021 yet he failed to use his good offices to galvanize the Governor and other prominent indigenes of the state at the Federal and State levels to bring succor to the people of Ayetoro community. Needless to say, he facilitated any project to the south.

Following the abandonment of the maiden Ayetoro Shoreline Protection project by Gallet Nigeria Limited, the same project was re-awarded in 2009 by the Commission to Dredging Atlantic Limited, DAL, at the cost of N6.2 billion and another N2.5 billion [about 40 per cent of the total contract] was paid as mobilisation fees. Dredging Atlantic Ltd, it was alleged, also abandoned the project like the first contractor even after moving their equipment to the area. This time, the reason adduced was that the company couldn’t get the desirable quantity of sand for the project. 8

The excuse on the dearth of sand for the sand-filling and for abandoning the project by DAL doesn’t hold water. As there are heaps of sand at Araromi offshore (a neighbouring community to Ayetoro) and, heaps of dunes at Iloro (an inland community close to Igbokoda, the headquarters of Ilaje LGA).

A reliable source interviewed gives credence to this when he said;

“The company was pumping sand at the beginning and at another time, they complained of lack of sand.”

It suffices to say that, there was no adequate planning and preparation for the project by NDDC before it was re-awarded and no credible pre-contract feasibility study was carried out by DAL.

Another source interviewed and who pleaded anonymous unveiled that:

“One Jide {Full name not known} was the contractor of Dredging Atlantic Limited in charge of the project. He never stepped his feet in Ayetoro. Dredging Atlantic only brought a geotube to do a kangaroo job at the shoreline and after sometimes, the company disappeared and abandoned the project.”

When asked why the community didn’t call out Jide. The source disclosed:

“Jide is an instrument of embezzlement by top politicians. They put money in Jide’s account to execute shady contracts like the Ayetoro Shoreline contract. They end up sharing the money amongst themselves with the project abandoned. If you touch or drag Jide. Jide will expose them. So, Jide is untouchable because the system protects him.”

When asked Jide’s full name, the source said;

“I really don’t know. Because, he didn’t come to Ayetoro through his company’s stay here. We were only hearing his name from his workers.”

Sequel to the mystery surrounding the Ayetoro shoreline project, can the NDDC therefore be regarded as a Government Interventionist Agency made up of moribund and criminal minded individuals who award contracts to lazy and incompetent firms because of the gain they would get from the contracts? Or is there any better way to describe or justify so far the reckless release of #3.3 billion by NDDC for the shoreline protection of Ayetoro Community for eighteen {18} years now, the money has gone into thin air yet there’s hardly any evidence of the project commencement talk more been completed.

Another project disclosed to have been paid for, but remain unexecuted till date is the concrete wharf in Ayetoro. The wharf located at the centre of the city, popularly known as Ebute Nla was said to have been awarded twice to the then Sen. Hosea Ehinlanwo for the two terms of eight years he was a senator representing the south from 29th May, 2003 – May, 2011. The contractor was said to be one Idowu Mafimisebi, now deceased. As peculiar to the Nigerian state, the fund meant for the now abandoned project might have been diverted to self-use, while the rusty iron rods crisscrossing the weather-beaten wharf project that should bring succor to the indigenes of Ayetoro post an ominous danger to the people’s lives.

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Fig.7: NDDC abandoned concrete wharf in Ayetoro. Fig. 8: The NDDC Abandoned Wharf in Ayetoro, now reconstructed with planks by the Community

Source:Taiwo Adebulu, the CableNg, 2017 https://www.thecable.ng/investigation-how-ondo-community-was-abandoned-after-n6-2bn-nddc-contracts/amp Source: Author’s Own Work

When asked the amount the wharf project was contracted to Chief Ehinlanwo. A source who pleaded his identity be concealed replied;

“Sincerely speaking nobody in Ayetoro knows the actual amount the concrete wharf was awarded to chief Ehinlanwo. You know he was a senator and we are not privy to the information. All we saw was kangaroo contractor claiming that Ehinlanwo gave him the job on direct labour.”

The NDDC Water project in Ayetoro is another significant project by the commission that has also been abandoned. The project was meant to provide clean and drinkable water to the oil producing riverine community whose only access to water is the salty sea water. The project kick started rather crookedly and after sometimes, it was abandoned by the commission. The half-baked project has rusted off, left useless and the reservoir has fallen.

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Fig. 9: NDDC borehole in Ayetoro Fig.10: NDDC water Tank fallen, destroyed

Source: Author’s Own Work. Source: Author’s Own Work.

Like the concrete wharf, Information appertaining to the water projects in Ayetoro remains unknown to the community. Members of the community complained that the amounts were not mentioned, neither were there signed posts at the projects sites to know the company handling the projects.

It must be noted that such projects in Ilaje Local government have left the people doubting because the scope were not properly defined. When the projects’ names were typed on the NDDC projects monitoring portal no project information was found on them.

Giving the outright abandonment of the only three NDDC projects in Ayetoro, it is safe to say that since the discovery of oil in Ayetoro in the 1970s, the community has not benefited anything from the commission as all the commission projects in the community are abandoned.

Sadly, Ayetoro is not the only oil producing community that suffers this fate.

Mrs Ewa Henshaw, former chairman of NDDC, during the 2014 budget defence of the commission in the senate affirmed:

“The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) has a total number of 4,000 projects worth trillion of naira abandoned across states of the oil-rich Niger Delta region 9 .

While this is important for record, it portrays the commission as a Father.

Christmas that awards contracts, pay handsomely, only to forget about the projects; leaving the people of the oil rich region to languish in misery and man-made poverty.

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Table 1

List of NDDC Abandoned Projects in Ilaje LGA, Ondo State.

[...]

Excerpt out of 28 pages

Details

Title
Ayetoro Sea Incursion. Reflective Discourse and Urgent Need to Open Up Ondo South in Ondo State, Nigeria for Patent Development
College
Adekunle Ajasin University  (Department of History and International Studies)
Course
History and International Studies
Grade
74
Author
Year
2021
Pages
28
Catalog Number
V1044993
ISBN (eBook)
9783346487568
ISBN (Book)
9783346487575
Language
English
Tags
Oil Economy, Ecotourism, Dubai, Ayetoro, Olugbo of Ugbo, Ooni of Ife, Oba Akinruntan Obaterun, Arole Odua, United States of America, Joe Biden, United Nations, World Bank, Germany Embassy, Investigative Journalism, Adekunle Ajasin University, Rotimi Akeredolu, Prof. Wole Soyinka, Nobel Prize for Literature, Stanford University, International Scholarship, Ikuemonisan Bababo Major, African Unity, United Arab Emirates, Dubai Economy, International Shipping and Logistics Services, Development Economics, World Trade Organization, Ondo State Government of Nigeria, Lagos State Government, Prof. Ehinmore, United Nations Youth Ambassador, Ilaje, Ugbo, Ile-Ife, Abuja, London, Oxford University, London School of Economics
Quote paper
Bababo Ikuemonisan (Author), 2021, Ayetoro Sea Incursion. Reflective Discourse and Urgent Need to Open Up Ondo South in Ondo State, Nigeria for Patent Development, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/1044993

Comments

  • guest on 9/16/2021

    This research pepper really presented the raw fact about our economic challenges in Ondo state, not Ondon State alone, but Nigeria at large. This research work will be a remedy to the myriads of economic recession that bedevily contemporary Nigeria. Kudos to the writer of this great research work

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Title: Ayetoro Sea Incursion. Reflective Discourse and Urgent Need to Open Up Ondo South in Ondo State, Nigeria for Patent Development



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