Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission, DESOPADEC, Bashorun Askia Ogieh today led his Executive team in a crucial interface with top management and select staff representing the ethnic nationality associations in the Commission.
The meeting which took place at the popular Chief Eyewuoma's Simate Hall (aka White House) at Esisi Road, Warri had in attendance the Chief Executive himself, the Executive Director, Finance & Administration, Chief John Nani, Esq., Executive Director, Planning, Research & Statistics, Comr. Amb Shedrack Agediga, a rich presence of Heads of Departments/Units, management staff and excos of ethnic associations representing staff.
In his address of welcome, the Commission's helmsman, Bashorun Ogieh expressed appreciation to staff for their cooperation to the previous Board during his first coming as Executive Director, Finance & Administration and eventually as the current Managing Director/CEO of the Commission. This, he said, has enabled him have very informed appraisal of the system and disposition of staff to the service delivery function of the Commission.
He said it was one of the policy directions of the executive management to have regular meetings with staff for the purpose of sharing the corporate policy direction of management with staff, thereby checking the growth of rumour in an environment such as DESOPADEC.
He said the present challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic as a notable force majeure has constituted a momentary obstacle to achieving this objective, adding that, barring all odds, there would still be a way to constantly reach out to staff on sensitive issues worthy of their input.
Bashorun Ogieh pointed out that in its bid to bring sanity into the system by ensuring that some staff do not perpetually take the Commission for granted through job truancy, double job, non commitment and so forth, the previous Board of which he was a principal member embraced the biometric data capture for all staff to monitor their dedication to duty and be certain that staff did in fact earn and deserve their salaries and sundry allowances.
The fallout of that exercise, he noted had undoubtedly been fraught with resistance, petitions, bags of complaints, threats, protests, including sponsored ones, etc.
For the records, the Chief Executive said staff attendance was being assessed along this order:
1. Absence from work without official permission between 1 and 4 days - tolerated/no query;
2. Absence from work without official permission between 5 and 9 days - query plus salary deduction, on pro rata basis;
3. Absence from work without official permission from 10 days and above - outright forfeiture of salary.
He then disclosed that the accrued funds harvested from these infractions by staff over time have been lodged in a dedicated account with WEMA Bank Plc.
He explained that one of the issues that had remained compelling for the Board was the challenge of office space to accommodate a sizeable number of staff, preferably under one corporate vicinity. This is particularly so, as staff at the Swamp Road office have nicknamed that section "Sambisa Forest," purportedly implying that they were always forgotten by management.
This and other considerations became the tonic that propelled the Board to put on their creative thinking cap and seek executive approval to build a befitting office complex within the head office at Warri-Sapele Road to address, once and for all, the persistent office needs confronting the Commission.
He thereafter unveiled to staff the architectural drawings in 3D of the proposed imposing ultra modern 4-storey office tower entirely designed by the in-house team of architects, engineers, quantity surveyors, builders, etc.
Bashorun Ogieh expressed great satisfaction with the quality of the Commission's building professionals, saying, "I was some inches taller than I was in this regard!"
He added that funding being a fundamental issue in the whole equation, his executive team had to approach His Excellency the Governor to utilize the dormant default fund from absentee staff that had accumulated over time as a possible start-off fund for the project. With the approval secured, the contractor is set to begin the job, immediately the foundation laying ceremony is performed under twenty-four hours.
For the record, the total amount credited to the dedicated account of the Commission by defaulting staff as at May 2020 stands at N289, 251, 961.00 only.
This also put paid to the wave, onslaught, insinuations, conspiracy theories spun by merchants of the rumour mill as to the whereabouts and final destination of the monies deducted from staff for sundry infractions.
One thing is obvious, when the building project of the ultra modern 4-storey DESOPADEC office tower is finally completed, as it certainly will by 2021, God willing, staff who have played ketchup with the system will now see how the fruit of their sanction has been judiciously, ingeniously and creatively ploughed into a very useful legacy project that will stand the test of time and etch the names of the current Board in gold.
The very fruitful interface ended with the MD/CEO appealing to staff to be very cautious and abide by the preventive measures against the COVID-19 pandemic as provided by government to stay safe and alive.