Chairman of Ocean Marine Solution Limited (OMSL), Captain Idahosa Wells Okunbo (Capt. Hosa), has reviewed the “calculated attacks” by Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, on his companies.
In an interview with journalists in Abuja, he claimed that, Obaseki, as chair of the Ad hoc committee on pipeline security and oil theft of the National Economic Council (NEC) comprising predominantly the governors of the federation, directly targeted OMSL and its pipeline asset protection contracts.
The business mogul, who has endorsed the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, said the governor deliberately singled him out in the report of his committee and made it look like he and OMSL were responsible for all the losses due to pipeline vandalisation and crude oil theft.
“There is a huge network of pipelines in this country and I was only handling four- Escravos to Warri, Bonny to Port Harcourt, just four. There are many; you have the trans-national lines where losses are being recorded,” he said.
“But of all the lines, the ones my company were taking care of were performing above expectations and there were no losses because my contract is performance-elated.
“When the report came out, my brother (Obaseki) wrote the report like I was the one handling all the pipelines in Nigeria, giving the impression that we were responsible for the losses. It was only my name he put there.”
He also referred to the reported cancellation of OMSL’s Secure Anchorage Area (SAA) Arrangement with the Nigerian Navy in the Lagos Port by the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA).
“There was a particular Sunday that a national newspaper published a story on its front page. The headline was NPA cancels SAA and they put a bogus figure that we were earning; that we were operating illegally and that I am the person behind this company, OMSL, and my name was mentioned and they twisted it that I was interested in the governorship,” Okunbo said.
“That particular write-up was a big embarrassment to me and, coincidentally, Jim Ovia was hosting Emefiele at the Civic Centre in Lagos that day on his return as CBN governor.
“I was there at the venue and some friends were questioning me if I was interested in Edo governorship and I told them that I was not. As I was leaving, Godwin was coming in. We were outside; he pointed at me and embarrassed me publicly, shouting ‘incoming Governor.’
“I held him. That is the photograph you guys see of both of us. I cuddled him; and, I said ‘are you one of them?’ I took him inside the venue and in order to disabuse the minds of those who had interrogated me earlier, I went behind his seat and grabbed him and they took our photograph. That photograph is what people see and I left.”
“As that incident grew, SAA saga grew. Everywhere I went, they told me this is political; your problem is political, and somebody actually told me he (Obaseki) was behind it. But I did not believe it,” he further stated.
“I went in the (one) evening to his house; we were outside among some common (mutual) friends. I said to him, ‘GO, they told me that you are the one behind my saga at NPA.’ He said no, no. I am not the one. He took his phone and dialed someone very important whom I also respect.
“He asked the person, ‘why is Hadiza harassing my brother now?’ The guy replied, because he was on speaker phone, ‘Godwin, you said that man is the man troubling you in Edo State. Hadiza is fighting your battle for you. Are you not the one who sent her or have you changed your mind?’ He quickly switched off the phone.
“I said, ‘Godwin, I have caught you; you are the one who caused this and you are going to repair it for me’.’’
Capt. Hosa further related how after that encounter, he was called by the NNPC to make a presentation to the Ad hoc Committee on Pipeline Security and Oil theft consequent upon the committee’s request.
According to him, “The night before that presentation I went to my brother and I said to him ‘I did not know you were the Chairman of this Sub-Committee in the Governor’s Forum (NEC)’.
“He said no problem; you have nothing to fear: just come make your presentation and that will be it. The next day, the Oil Majors were there; Shell was there; NNPC management was there; AITEO was there; different people were there.
“The industry was complete. I went with Chief Ayiri Emami. I went with him so he could talk about how we have been managing the community since our operations covered his community. He does not work for me, but he was there. That day to the admiration of everyone that was there, I presented flawlessly.
“The only question was from my brother. He said, ‘how are you paid, what is your contract like?'” I said, ‘Your Excellency, NNPC has my full dossier; they have the payment terms and the legal have my contract’.”
According to him, “I work for NNPC. I don’t work for Amnesty Office. NNPC is a structured organisation where contracts are properly drawn. NNPC is like a relay; your performance will impact on the next person; the next person’s performance will impact on the next, etc. before the oil finally gets sold.
“My four lines that I was taking care of were the best. I pride myself as being the best at what I do. But when the report came out, my brother wrote the report like I was the one handling all the pipelines in Nigeria, giving the impression that we were responsible for the losses. It was only my name he put there.”
But Capt. Hosa said he was not upset and still not fighting the governor.
“I was not upset because I am a businessman and the principle of every businessman or human being is, there are three things you must not fight: God, Government, and Gun. I’m very conscious of those three things and that was why I was patient. I am still not fighting Godwin; I am continuously defending myself and that passed,” he added.
The governorship election in the state is scheduled for September 19, 2020.