The challenges before Adapalm board members

The challenges before Adapalm board members

By Kennedy Obinna

One major problem bedeviling the progress and success of the foremost oil palm company in Imo State, the Adapalm Nigeria Limited situated in Ohaji/Egbema/Oguta land borders solely on how to revamp the place and get it back to its effective operation

The company which came into being in 1983 was established by the first Civilian Governor of Imo State, Chief Samuel Onunaka Mbakwe. At the inception, the company had more than 800 employees and it was actually operating at its highest production capacity as well as meeting the demand for which it was established

The main purpose of establishing the 38,000 hectares of palm plantation by the then government was to address the immediate need of both the host communities and government

From the time of setting up the company till date, many past government administrations has come and gone with little or nothing done to revive the place and bring it back to its original form. Some did their best through setting up of management committees that would generate ideas to be injected into the place to bring life back to it, while others could only see it as a place where they can milk dry without actually doing what is supposed to be done to revamp the place

Adapalm Company, before now and during the last 8 month’s administration was not only bushy, but has almost being taken over by wide animals, reptiles and cockroaches with a lot of buildings been abandoned. The old mill which usually has 20 turns capacity of production which equally serves as the hub where every activity revolves is grounded. This simply means that the mill only functioned some months during Governor Rochas Okorocha time of governance in the state and till this present time there is neither no milling nor any production of palm oil and other products that used to be produced there for export. To say the least, the entire place now in total shamble as there is no more life in and around the company, compared to how and what it used to be in the long past.

The present administration under the leadership of Governor Hope Uzodinma considering the serious concern the company gave him including the stakeholders responded to the constitution of a 5 man management committee to take care of the place with a view to reviving and recovering the company for the benefit of both the communities and government

The management committee made up of three seasoned and responsible indigenes drawn from the three host communities of Ohaji, Egbema and Oguta with two representatives from the State Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources have being inaugurated by the government to hit the ground running

The Committee being headed by a retired Army General, Austin Kalu Egwuagu from Oguta LGA as chairman, Hon. Justus Ojika from Ohaji as Secretary and Hon. James Ogbanja as member are already saddled with the responsibilities of generating idea for the revival of the company The State Government through the Secretary to the State Government, (SSG) Chief Cosmos Iwu charged the five members of the board were charged to ensure weekly presentation of their reports of their activities for government’s proper intervention. He urged them to articulate whatever is the problem of the place and channel their report to the Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources who will in turn advise government for action

He equally advised them not to hesitate to look into the activities of the past management to enable them know where and how to move ahead while reminding them that the whole essence of their appointment by government giving their past records and experience is to rehabilitate the moribund mill for effective production

He informed them that Imo State want to have access to their own oil through milling, regretted why the palm seedling harvested should be sold against the purpose of its establishment. He described Adapalm as the symbol and economic bedrock of Imo State, adding that the place cannot be joked with because it is a very big investment for the state

 The board members were also advised to ensure they maintain a harmonious working relationship with their host communities and staff adding that the youths should as well be carried along to ensure peace in the area

The Chairman of the Board, Rt.Gen. Austin KaluEgwuagu on behalf of other members, thanked the governor for the confidence reposed in them and promised not to disappoint him, as they discharge their duties diligently for the interest of the host communities, youths, staff and management and government of the day

Egwuagu promised to engage the youths and the landlords in meaningful work while assuring to tackle insecurity in the area to ensure effective production

However members had before the inauguration undertaken a tour of the facilities in the company to acquaint themselves with firsthand information about the running of the place with a view to knowing how and where to start

The action demonstrated their preparedness to return the moribund industry to life for the interest of the host communities and state government

Shortly after the tour, the chairman advised the managements of the company to always guide against any fire outbreak around the area and ensure there is adequate security within the facilities to ensure safety, while he warned against any protest by the youths within the area or any form of harassment of the board members which may deter them from carrying out their assignment in the facility

The chairman while thanking the management staff for their efforts aimed at ensuring that the place continued to flourish, disclosed government’s intention to create job opportunities for the unemployed youths, while demanding for a cooperation of both the youths and landlords to move the place forward

The secretary of the board, Hon.JustusOjika in his words said that their mission at the company is to be abreast with firsthand information on the running of the place which would be presented to the Governor for action, assuring that the board would rely on the three cardinal points agenda of the Governor which include reconstruction, rehabilitation and recovery, the board members would ensure that the main purpose of appointing them would be achieved

He informed the management staff that their mission to the place is not in any way to paint wrong pictures of the place but to carry out the assignment of the governor which hinges on the recovery of the place which has gone dead over the past years

While thanking the Governor for appointing them to serve, assured to used their wealth of experience to uplift the place to its enviable height as one of the biggest oil palm facility in the country, he pleaded with both the landlords and the youths to conduct themselves in their most behaved and matured manner so that collectively they would revive the place

Taking the board members round the facilities in the mill section, the mill manager of Adapalm Ltd, Mr.SunnyEjekwu in company of other management staff said that the mill operates in 20 tonnes capacity adding that rehabilitation work is also based on the same tonnes capacity

He informed the board members that rehabilitation work around sections of the mill is ongoing and is nearing 75% completion adding that when it is completed fully, there would be optimal production

According to him all the areas that needed attention for rehabilitation such as the boiler, digested, elevator, kennel breaker as well as fiber transporter sections, sterilizer are being given attention

He commended the board members for coming to see thing for themselves and assured the cooperation and support of the management staff in order to achieve success in the end

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