Friday, 27 July 2012

Here Comes the E-Conference Report: The PIB & YOU!

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We are very proud to present the report of the E-Conference, The (Petroleum Industry Bill) PIB & YOU. The report summarizes the key issues and observations from the 3-hour moderated web conference, held on Saturday, July 14, 2012. The e-conference’s five lead discussants comprised of oil industry experts, oil policy analysts, a labour leader and environmental justice advocates, namely: Peter Esele, Opeyemi Agbaje, Jeremy Weate, Ledum Mitee and Samuel Diminas. 

With a simultaneous live streaming of the key issues and highlights of the discussions on Twitter, using the #PIB and #PIBng, participants were drawn from all works of life, all sectors of the Nigerian economy, while steps were taken to ensure that key officials of government ministries, lawmakers (Senate and the House of Representatives), parastatals, oil multinationals and advocacy groups, observed the proceedings. The conference had a global reach, with participation recorded mainly from fifteen countries across six continents: Nigeria, United Kingdom, United States, Russia, Austria, Germany, Canada, Cyprus, Ukraine, Malaysia, Philippines, France, Senegal, Kenya and Ghana. A total of four (4) analytical papers, (24) queries and (5) commentaries on the Bill were received prior to the e-conference and widely disseminated to both the lead-discussants and a global audience using the organization’s online portals and knowledge sharing platforms on the social media. 30 additional questions were received on the conference day.

Spaces for Change would like to thank all the lead discussants, and the 1, 600 members of the Spaces for Change’s group (Discussion Room) on the Facebook networking site, for their invaluable contributions: presentations, legal analysis, questions, comments, debate, analytical papers, and feedback during the econference.

Special thanks go to Kelechi Deca and Pamela Braide who moderated the e-conference discussions. Additional thanks go to Olusola Osineye, Chinedu Chiefsan Akwuobi, Chyke Nwokedi, Madunagu Emeka, Dayo Olaide, Julie A Dee, Chetaala Iloh and Ann Ammishaddai Padua, Adesoji Adebisi for coordinating the conference modalities, and facilitating the smooth flow of discussions. Victoria Ibezim-Ohaeri compiled the report of the conference proceedings, with inputs from the lead discussants.


To download the full report of the e-conference, please click HERE!

Moving forward, Spaces for Change will use this report as an advocacy tool, to intensify its awareness-creation and citizen engagement on the PIB, and the legislative processes, so as to ensure that the needs, perspectives, and expertise of all citizens, interest groups and stakeholders are taken into account.

Monday, 23 July 2012

PIB: Still a Long Walk After FEC’s Approval

By Emeka Ugwuanyi
(THE NATION)

 
The problem of passage of the PIB doesn’t reside in submission to the National Assembly but in persuading the lawmakers to understand the importance of the document to the growth of the petroleum industry and the economy, and doing what they ought to do at the appropriate time.


The fears

Many stakeholders express fear that if the passage of the bill exceeds mid next year, it might be difficult to pass into law by the current seventh assembly as the executive and legislative members of the government, will preoccupy themselves with electioneering campaigns and strategies for reelection. 

The revised draft bill has fewer controversies. Most of the contentious issues that the international oil companies (IOCs) such as Shell, ExxonMobil, Chevron, Total and Agip stood against have been resolved. Unlike what obtained during the sixth assembly where there were several versions of the bill allegedly submitted to the National Assembly, the revised bill has no other version because interests of various groups have been harmonised, which makes possible for quick consideration and passage. However, the government should ensure that no controversy arises from any interest group to create situation for submission of another version. 

Costs to economy

The undue delay of passage of PIB has slowed down fresh investments, job opportunities, technology advancement and development of the economy and Nigerian people. For instance, Nigeria’s oil and gas industry chief regulator, Mr. Osten Olorunsola, said there was an obvious decline in oil reserves estimates between 2011 and 2012 and wondered what will happen between 2014 and 2017 in terms of oil and gas production, since no major investments have been recorded in exploration in the last five years.

He attributed the situation to the non-passage of the bill, adding that the gap created by lack of investment in the exploration and production segment of the industry, would take the country about five to six years to recover.  He expressed concern over diversion of investment from IOCs in Nigeria to other countries in East and West Africa, citing Shell and ConocoPhillips as examples.

The Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Alison-Madueke also noted that the PIB when passed into law is the key that would undoubtedly open the oil and gas industry into a new era. He added that the government is not unmindful that a lot of investment decisions are currently on hold, stressing that the government is losing potential revenues that could have accrued to it due to proposed changes in the deep water fiscal terms.

The Chairman, Emerald Energy Resources Limited and former Special Adviser on Petroleum Matters to President Musa Yar’Adua, Dr. Emmanuel Egbogah said that the “new draft of the long-awaited PIB is close to being finalized, potentially ending years of uncertainty that has blocked developments in the industry. 

“As you know, licensing rounds, contract renewals and investments have been put on hold for about five years now pending the new bill to regulate the oil and gas industry. The passage of the bill into law would serve as a breath of fresh investment air into the industry for the revival of our national economy.”

The revised draft PIB is critical to the well being of the oil and gas industry and the economy. It will change everything from fiscal terms to overhauling the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). It is an enabling legislation, holistic in depth and scope and will bring the Nigeria oil and gas industry well into the 21st century modernity. It provides all the legal and commercial framework for full and comprehensive reformation/re-engineering of the industry. It will create a liberalized, deregulated professional oil and gas industry.

The bill will outlaw gas flaring from December 31, this year. Some sections of the bill said: “Natural gas shall not be flared or vented after December 2012 in any oil and gas production operation, block or field, onshore or offshore, or gas facility, except under exceptional and temporary circumstances. Any licensee who flares gas or vents gas without the permission of the minister (in special circumstances) shall be liable to pay a fine, which shall not be less than the value of the gas.

“There shall be no grant of discretionary awards’ but the grant of petroleum prospecting license or a petroleum mining lease shall be by open, transparent and competitive bidding process conducted by the Nigerian Petroleum Inspectorate, which shall be the successor to the assets and liabilities of the Petroleum Inspectorate of NNPC, DPR and the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Authority  (PPPRA).”

Saturday, 21 July 2012

PIB: An Elixir for Oil and Gas


 

Chika Amanze-Nwachuku and Ejiofor Alike of THISDAY, write on the origins of the Petroleum Industry Bill, its objectives, and the tortuous labyrinth it has passed through for over a decade...
 
Birth of a Bill

The desire to restructure and improve the management of Nigeria’s hydrocarbon resources, transform the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) into a world class national oil company in the mould of Saudi Aramco, Malaysia’s Petronas and Brazil’s Petrobras, as well as increase returns on the country’s investment in the oil and gas sector informed the establishment of the Oil and Gas Reform Implementation Committee (OGIC) 12 years ago.

The objective of the committee was to review the operations of the oil and gas sector and its participants, the 16 legislations that governed the industry, and produce a comprehensive legislation that would overhaul the oil and gas industry, re-write Nigeria’s 50-year relationship with the international oil companies (IOCs), and in the process, unlock billions of dollars of delayed investment.

From the committee’s work, a new legislation known as the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) was drafted. The PIB was first presented to the sixth assembly in 2009, but efforts to pass it were hampered by what industry experts described as political intrigues and wrangling between the National Assembly and the executive. Also, the existence of different versions of the bill was said to have been a major reason why it could not be passed by the National Assembly. This negatively impacted on activities and investment in the sector, as investors channelled their businesses to neighbouring countries such as Angola, Ghana and Burkina Faso with more stable policies.

Resuscitating the Bill

Hopes that the controversial bill will be resuscitated soon emerged on January 19, this year, when the Petroleum Minister, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, inaugurated a special task force with a mandate to review the various versions of the bill submitted to the National Assembly and produce a new one for representation. The establishment of the task force came barely three days after President Goodluck Jonathan, in a nationwide broadcast, promised to represent the bill to the seventh National Assembly in the first quarter of this year.

The task force headed by Senator Udoma Udo Udoma, was directed to work in collaboration with a technical sub-committee headed by the Director General of Department for Petroleum Resources (DPR), Mr. Osten Olorunsola, to produce a clean copy of the bill to be presented to the legislature and to also facilitate its quick passage into law. In another broadcast in May, Jonathan had assured the nation that the latest draft bill put together by the task force would be completed in June and sent to the National Assembly. He had promised to liaise with the legislature to expedite its passage to ensure transparency in the oil and gas sector. And in keeping with his promise, the president on July 11, approved the new PIB which was forwarded to the National Assembly on Wednesday.

Industry Bible

The PIB, which has been in the works for 12 years, is the amalgamation of 16 laws in the oil and gas sector. The PIB encompasses the legal framework that will define and shape the future of Nigeria’s oil sector. The bill also aims to, among others: create a conducive business environment for petroleum operations; optimise domestic gas supplies, particularly for power generation and industrial development; establish a progressive fiscal framework that encourages further investment in the petroleum industry, while optimising revenues accruing to the government; establish commercially oriented and profit driven oil and gas entities; as well as deregulate and liberalise the downstream petroleum sector.

Described as “the Bible for the petroleum industry”, by the Senate President David Mark, the bill, when enacted, will enhance the exploration and exploitation of petroleum resources for the benefit of Nigerian people; create efficient and effective regulatory agencies; promote the development of local content in the petroleum industry; and protect health, safety and the environment in the course of petroleum operations.

Emerging Industry Structure

When enacted, the Petroleum Industry Bill will, in addition to the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, provide for the establishment of nine agencies responsible for the operations of the oil and gas sector. Chika Amanze-Nwachuku and Ejiofor Alike, review the agencies and their functions.

POLICY OVERSIGHT

The Ministry of Petroleum Resources

The PIB provides for the establishment of nine agencies that will be answerable to the Minister of Petroleum Resources. Of the nine, there will be two regulatory agencies – Upstream Petroleum Inspectorate and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Agency; three funds – Petroleum Technology Development Fund, Petroleum Equalisation Fund, Petroleum Host Community Fund; three companies that will operate under commercial terms – National Oil Company; National Gas Company Plc and National Petroleum Assets Management Company; and a technical and support bureau – Petroleum Technical Bureau.

The minister shall be responsible for the co-ordination of the activities of the petroleum industry and shall exercise general supervision over all operations and all institutions in the industry, as well as providing policy oversight.

The minister, upon the advice of the Upstream Petroleum Inspectorate, shall grant, amend, renew, extend or revoke upstream petroleum licences and leases and shall upon the advice of the Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Agency, grant, amend, renew, extend or revoke downstream petroleum licences for gas transportation pipeline, gas distribution networks, refineries, Liquefied Natural Gas, Gas –to- Liquid plants, petrochemical plants and gas exports.

TECHNINCAL SUPPORT

Petroleum Technical Bureau

The Petroleum Technical Bureau (PTB) will serve as a special unit in the office of the petroleum minister. The bureau, will addition to its other duties, carry out the functions of the former Frontiers Exploration Services of the NNPC.

The PTB will be responsible for developing exploration strategies and portfolio management for the exploration of unassigned frontier acreages in Nigeria, and will undertake activities to stimulate the interest of local and international oil and gas companies in exploration of the frontiers basins in Nigeria.

REGULATORY

Upstream Petroleum Inspectorate

The Upstream Petroleum Inspectorate (UPI), will be vested with powers to among others: acquire, hold, mortgage, purchase and deal with property, whether movable or immovable, real or personal. The UPL shall also be vested with the assets and liabilities relating to the upstream petroleum sector, which were hitherto vested in the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR). These include regulating all technical aspects and commercial activities of the upstream sector; promoting the efficient, safe, effective and sustainable infrastructural development of the upstream sector.

Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Agency

Also to be established is the Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Agency, which shall be in charge of assets and liabilities relating to the downstream petroleum industry, which was hitherto performed by the DPR and the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA). The agency shall, among others, enforce compliance with the terms and conditions of all licences, permits and authorisations issued in respect of downstream petroleum operations.

FUNDS

Petroleum Technology Development Fund

A major key highlight of the new industry bill is the retention of the existing Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF), under Section 73. The PTDF shall be responsible for training Nigerians to qualify as graduates, professionals, technicians and craftsmen in the fields of engineering, geology, science and management and other related fields in the petroleum industry…”

The organisation will derive its fund from grants accruing from multilateral agencies, bilateral institutions and related sources and donations dedicated for capacity building, as well as the outstanding balance of the monetary assets of the PTDF, which was created by the PTD Act of 2004.

Petroleum Equalisation Fund

Section 100 of the PIB also provides for the continued existence of the Petroleum Equalisation Fund (PEF), where any net surplus revenue recovered from petroleum products marketing companies and such sums as may be provided by the Federal Government for the purpose of the equalisation fund shall be paid into.
A core function of the PEF will be to hold the equalisation fund in safe custody and in trust, for reimbursement of petroleum products marketing companies suffering loss solely and exclusively as a result of the sale of petroleum products at uniform benchmark prices throughout the country.

Petroleum Host Communities Fund

As part of the measures to involve the oil-producing communities in the joint ownership of oil and gas assets, the PIB provides for the creation of a fund to be known as the Petroleum Host Communities Fund (PHC Fund) to be utilised for the development of the economic and social infrastructure of communities within petroleum producing area.

Under Section 118 of the bill, every company that is involved in oil and gas exploration and production is required to remit into the fund on a monthly basis, 10 per cent of its net profit, which the reform bill defined as the adjusted profit minus the Nigerian hydrocarbon tax and minus the companies’ income tax.

CORPORATES

National Petroleum Assets Management Corporation

The National Petroleum Assets Management Corporation, as a body corporate, will operate fully on commercial principles. It shall be responsible for the acquisition and management of investments of the government in the Nigerian upstream petroleum industry.

National Oil Company

Within three months of the commencement of the Act, the Minister of Petroleum will take necessary steps as stipulated under the Companies and Allied Matters Act to incorporate the National Oil Company (NOC) as a public company to be vested with certain assets and liabilities of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). Its shares shall be held by a nominee of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources and Ministry of Finance Incorporated on behalf of the government.

National Gas Company Plc

Also, not later than three months after the effective date of this Act, the minister shall take such steps as are necessary under the Companies and Allied Matters Act to incorporate the National Gas Company Plc, as a company, limited by shares, which shall be vested with certain asset assets and liabilities of the NNPC.

LICENCES AND LEASES

The PIB provides for various types of licences and leases in Nigeria’s oil and gas sector. These are:

•  Petroleum Exploration Licence (PEL) to carry out exploration on a non-exclusive basis, which shall be valid for not more than three years; 
•  Petroleum Prospecting Licence (PPL) to prospect for petroleum. A PPL for onshore and shallow water areas shall remain valid for five years, consisting of an initial exploration period of three years and a renewal period of two years. There is, however, a provision for possibility of further extensions due to an appraisal period pursuant to certain relevant sections of the Act;
•  Petroleum Mining Lease (PML) to search for, win, work, carry away and dispose of petroleum.
•  Transportation Pipeline Owner Licence to own, operate and maintain a transportation pipeline within a route as defined in the licence;
•  Transport Network Operator Licence to operate and maintain economic, safe and reliable transportation pipeline infrastructure;
•  Gas Supply Licence to supply  gas into the downstream petroleum sector;
•  Gas Distribution Licence confers exclusive right to own and operate a gas distribution system and to distribute gas within a local distribution zone;
•  Downstream licensing which shall be carried out by the Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Agency.

OTHER HIGHLIGHTS
 
Powers of the President

Section 190 of the PIB provides guidelines for the award of the licences, stipulating in Subsection (3) that there shall be no discretionary awards, except as provided under Section 191, which deals with the powers of the president to grant licences and leases in special circumstances.

According to Section 191, “Notwithstanding the provisions of Subsection (3) of Section 190 or any other provision of this Act, the President shall have the power to grant a licence or lease under this Act”.

Gas Flaring Penalties

Section 201 provides for gas flaring penalties, and also provides in Subsection (1) that the lessee shall pay such gas flaring penalties as the minister may determine from time to time. Subsection (2) requires the lessee to “install all such measurement equipment as ordered by the Inspectorate to properly measure the amount of gas being flared.” Section 277, meanwhile, provides for the prohibition of gas flaring.

De-listing NNPC Subsidiaries from Privatisation Act

The bill provides for the delisting of the assets of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation from the Public Enterprises Privatisation and Commercialisation Act. Section 152(10), states: “The assets of the subsidiaries of the NNPC listed under the Public Enterprises Privatisation and Commercialisation Act shall be de-listed from the effective date of this Act and the power of attorney earlier assigned to the Bureau of Public Enterprises shall stand vacated.”

Downstream Deregulation

Section 221 of the bill provides for the full deregulation of the downstream oil sector and stipulates that the pricing of petroleum products in the downstream product sector shall be deregulated to ensure: a) market related pricings; b) adequate supply of petroleum products; c) removal of economic distortions; and d) the creation of fair market value for petroleum products in the Nigerian economy.

Thursday, 19 July 2012

PETROLEUM MINISTER RELEASES NEW PIB

The Nigerian Petroleum Minister, Mrs. Diezani Allison Madueke has just released, a new version of the PIB. She insists that all other copies of the PIB in circulation are not authentic. The latest draft has also been forwarded to the National Assembly to deliberate on, and pass it into law. When passed into law, the Act would provide legal, fiscal and regulatory framework for the Nigerian petroleum industry and establishes institutions, regulatory and commercial entities for the proper administration and coordination of the operation of the upstream and downstream sectors of the petroleum industry. 
Here's the link to the latest version dated July 16, 2012: PETROLEUM INDUSTRY BILL - JULY 16, 2012
Spaces for Change (S4C) thanks everyone that participated in the highly educative e-conference, The PIB & YOU, last Saturday, July 14, 2012. The conference had a global reach, with participation recorded from fourteen countries across six continents, namely: Nigeria, United Kingdom, Poland, United States, Russia, Austria, Germany, Canada, Cyprus, Ukraine, Malaysia,  Philippines, France and Ghana. A total of four (4) analytical papers, (24) queries and (5) commentaries on the Bill were received prior to the e-conference and widely disseminated to both the lead-discussants and a global audience using the organization’s online portals and knowledge sharing platforms on the social media. 30 additional questions were received on the day of the e-conference.
 Here's the link to the e-conference: THIS IS THE E-CONFERENCE THREAD!
We take the view that citizens are now better equipped with the resources and information to compare the previous drafts with the latest version. Citizens are now fully determined to engage, participate, and make necessary inputs that would ensure the final document reflects our common goal of a fully transparent and accountable oil industry.
As part of its work to deepen citizen engagement on the PIB, Spaces for Change urges all online users to visit its E-Library to access useful information, toolkits and and resources on oil sector transparency. Its FREE!

Here's the link to S4C's E-Library: WELCOME TO E-LIBRARY!

Rebuilding Nigeria is our collective responsibility. Together, we shall make change happen.

         - Spaces for Change

Monday, 16 July 2012

It's About Making Government Work For Us

By Julie A Dee

Julie A Dee
I believe if Nigerians who consider themselves patriots all kept their eyes on progress being made on their own states of origin, spent half the time getting to know better and constructively criticizing their state governors, and local government chairmen, we'll have more responsible state chief executives. Unfortunately, most people seem more interested in focusing on the tertiary tier of government which really should be the responsibility of their elected federal legislators who should report back to them.  Isn't this fixation on the FG retrogressive on our primary and secondary tiers of government which carry on, tenure after tenure, without impacting substantial changes on the lives of their  citizens? Are we not carrying out our laudable intentions wrongly? Shouldn't we hold our state executives responsible for our well being and for provision of facilities in our towns and cities? Isn't it time we made it clear to them that we hold them responsible for our immediate security, for safeguarding our lives, property, our children? What messages, what signals do we send  them when we perpetually bypass them as our primary providers, jump the gun and scream blue murder at the tetiary arm of government?

When Chief Melford Okilo was the Governor of Rivers State, he single-handedly sourced for technological know-how as well as pull in a plethora of exotic funds to provide the Old Rivers State (including all of today's Bayelsa) with the Oil Gas Turbine Electrification Project. My hometown Odual that (till date) was not connected to the national grid suddenly had (free) electricity 24 hours, uninterrupted! Chief Melford Okilo dug several canals along our water ways, across the state in that my village which took about four hours of terror through the winding creek ways became shortened to 45minutes! This was in addition to the the fact that the installation of the gas turbine project actually led to the path-carving of an alternative motor-able route through the swamps which we use during the dry season till date! 


Chief Melford Okilo built a world-class state university that for several years, had the best equipped faculty with state-of-the-art laboratories for chemical and petrochemical  engineering, and other disciplines in engineering. He opened the Rivers State audio-training center which in these days would be called Business Schools. He built the ultra-modern civic center with 3 olympic sized swimming pools and football stadium attached to it. This is just mentioning a few examples as there are several more.

As an NPN Governor, Chief Melford Okilo succeeded in eliciting so much patriotism and self pride in the Rivers man. He established the award-winning  and (for several years) unbeatable Radio Rivers 2 FM  where the first news in pidgin English in the world was aired from, sensitizing the Rivers people on the objectives of the government and the progress being made in governance. Information was being disseminated and even little children became interested in listening to the news! He thoroughly bridged the information gap between the government and the governed. The youths in the state began to aspire high. Soon we had young people who wanted to study law or engineering because their able governor had provided those opportunities for them. Unfortunately the medical school  was supposed to come at a latter phase in the development of the state university, but did not get see the light of day due to General Buhari's coup. Even though they taught medicine at the federal university in the state (University of Port-Harcourt), the average Rivers  state citizen didn't consider it as much within their horizon as they considered the state-owned university provided for them by their state governor. As a consequence, the state records a far lower turn out in the number of medical doctors compared to lawyers till date! I think at a time the ratio stood at 12:1! Amazing isn't it? That the simply input of a good State Governor could influence so much. There came a growing interest in mass communication, journalism and philosophy in young 'Riverians' as he stock huge quantities of resource on these subjects in libraries.

 Growing up in that time, Chief Okilo was my governor, my president, my mentor. Alhaji Shehu Shagari in my mind's eye seemed like a distant  big figure, very gentle and always seemed to be in a far place. In fact I wasn't sure about  the role he really played. I knew I was Rivers.  I was proud to be one because Governor Okilo ensured that. He provided books and desks in my school, paid my school teachers on time and that made them teach me my  English, Maths, Science, Fine Arts, French, P.E and many other interesting subjects. Our libraries had story books, and work books were free.  


Although a child, I was consciously aware that my state governor was interested in my studies, I felt he 'cared'. I felt like a looked-after citizen and it gave me a sense of pride. His  speeches at Children's Day celebrations gave me hope: tangible hope. I lapped up every instruction he announced to my parents and my teachers during his broadcasts. 

My city, Port-Harcourt was calm and beautiful. My state governor made sure the parks and gardens were cleaned up and children  were able to go there and feel safe while playing. Watching the garden tenders at the large Isaac Boro Park from my classroom window across the road always inspired me to plant more flowers at home. No wonder I still go to the park here in London and almost always find I'm the only 'black' person among whites even though I have other Nigerians in my neighbourhood. .. 

I started writing this as a 4 or 5 line post but there's just so much to say about the benefits of a really effective state chief executive. The merits cannot be over emphazised. The earlier we lay emphasis on seeing tangible, verifiable and quantifiable development and look in the right direction for that, ask the right questions to the right parties, demand results rather than politicize our expectations and the source from which our expectations and demands are provided from, the earlier we might salvage this malignant situation our country is faced with. 

We (objective) critics too need to fall in line: use the existing structures and make them work for us, otherwise we are almost as culpable as  any group who insists on getting answers without following due process or working within the standard framework provided. We should task ourselves and get the structures to work without breaking ranks either back or forth or we stand as guilty and as indisciplined. Yes as we join and muddle issues, create a lot of noise causing emotional, mental and psychological stress within the polity, we are as guilty in our actions... but we are doing even much worse 

The brazen attacks at the central government without as much as a corresponding examination on our state administrators is taking a toll on the very fine and fragile thread of whatever is left of what holds us together. We are loosing our country, Nigeria!  No wonder a school of concern is desperate for an SNC (I'm not against it although I'm yet to buy into it sufficiently enough to advocate for it). The demand is a backdrop of our dysfunctional structures. Should we just accept it as an easy way out? How do we hold what we have now? How do we make the best of what we have on ground?  Certainly not by the cacophony of individual and divergent disparaged voices and views that are NOT delivering the much needed answers but only sending out the the worst impressions about the state of our nation across the globe!

Perhaps, for the sanctity of our polity, for the sake of the cohesiveness of our nation, in the spirit of nationhood, for the love of our country, our fatherland, we should take a breath. We should re-examine our original framework and demand that it accounts to us and it works for us! That it works, it endures, it matures into a viable institution that commands respect. The office of the mayor of London is an institution. It's not subservient to the random whims of the Office of the PM. This is so because it has been nurtured and empowered by the people to make it independent, to make it work, to make it deliver! 

We must make our primary and secondary tiers of goverment function by demanding of them, by watching them and enabling them grow, labour and speak for us. How can we make out time to breathe down  their necks if we are dissipating energy in the wrong place? How can we ever repair the  endemic dysfunctionality and entrenched systematic failures in our civic life, social life and politics if  we ourselves, patriots, are become agents operating disfunctionally? 

We draw closer and closer to the moment of truth, every second and every word, every action counts. Seen and unseen forces fight against our peace, our unity, our sovereignty. Are we going to assist these forces by our inaction in making our structures work and balanced?

Saturday, 14 July 2012

EDO DECIDES - PHOTOSPEAK

Adam Aliyu Oshiomhole Wins Edo Guber Elections!

Oshiomhole rejoices with Edo native chiefs just after INEC declared him governor-elect

Governor Adams Oshiomhole has been declared winner of yesterday's governorship election in Edo state with a total of 477,478 votes against PDP's 144,285 votes. A total of 17,280 votes were cancelled. The incumbent governor polled a landslide victory in all the state’s 17 local government area, with a 73.72 per cent win of the 647,698 total votes cast, to defeat his closest rival, Charles Airhiarvbere of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). INEC’s returning officer, the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Benin, Professor Osayuki Oshodi, announced the result in the early hours of Sunday morning. 
Breakdown of Edo election results by LGA
1. Akoko Edo:             ACN-29,803, ANPP-163, CPC-184, LABOUR-38,NCP-36,PDP-13,783, SDMP-65.
2. Egor:                           ACN- 50,623, ANPP-294, CPC-281, LP-28, NCP-36, PDP-3,486, SMDP-29
3. Esan Central:              ACN-11,792, ANPP-83,CPC-65,LP-23,NCP-30,PDP-9,281, SDMP- 34
4. Esan North-East:     ACN-13,086, ANPP-123, CPC-77, LP-11, NCP-35, PDP-12,478, SDMP- 44.
5. Esan South-East:     ACN-14,904, ANPP-85, CPC-61, LP-22, NCP-16, PDP-9634, SDMP-44.
6. Esan West:                 ACN- 13,499, ANPP -156, CPC- 115, LP -24, NCP- 25, PDP- 13,282, SDMP- 40.
7. Etsako East:                ACN- 23,174, ANPP -75, CPC- 61, LP- 13, NCP- 6, PDP- 4,992, SDMP -28.
8. Etsako West:          ACN- 44,962, ANPP -169, CPC- 192, LP -152, NCP -37, PDP -5,920, SDMP -45.
9. Igueben:                       ACN- 9,751, ANPP -63, CPC -35, LP -9, NCP -19, PDP -6,758, SDMP -18.
10. Ikpoba/Okha:         ACN -58,809, ANPP -518, CPC -357, LP -54, NCP -49, PDP -6,505, SDMP -56.
11. Oredo LGA:               ACN -66,522, ANPP -454, CPC -268, LP -49,NCP -45, PDP -9,081, SDMP -48.
12. Orhionwon:             ACN -26,163, ANPP -277, CPC -235, LP -34, NCP -46,PDP -8,716, SDMP -53.
13. Ovia South-West: ACN -16,077, ANPP -196, CPC -222, LP -25, NCP -37, PDP -5015, SDMP -84.
14. Ovia North-East: ACN -26,835, ANPP -280, CPC -233, LP -41, NCP -34, PDP -5,427, SDMP -68.
15. Owan West:             ACN -15,150, ANPP -136, CPC -130, LP -20, NCP -26, PDP -7,229, SDMP -37.
16. Owan East LGA:   ACN -22,483, ANPP -169, CPC -123, LP -27, NCP -23, PDP -11,709, SDMP -34
17. Uhunmwode:        ACN -17,011, ANPP -359, CPC -124, LP -22, NCP -24, PDP -5,826, SDMP -70.
 CONGRATULATIONS TO THE COMRADE GOVERNOR!


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EDO DECIDES TODAY (Saturday, July 14, 2012) :::: Political tension heightened in Edo state, as leaders of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), relocate to their villages ahead of today’s governorship election in the state.Governor Adams Oshiomhole of the ACN will be slugging it out with Gen. Charles Airhiavbere of the PDP and Solomon Edebiri of the ANPP. - Facebook post by Arowolo Jelil Olasunkanmi

EDO DECIDE INEC OFFICE HOT LINES. Our hotlines are:
07098117563,07098115592,07098112685,0709811
5257, 07098115583, 07098110916. 
Please call in and make your complaints or reports.
 
 
By Arowolo Jelil


Oshiomhole queues to be accredited by Celestine Akpobari

















Photo by Soji Akodu Asiwaju

Very slow accreditation process at UNIBEN. Voters turn out building up. Picture by Solomon Gbinigie

Accreditation of voters have began in some polling units in Benin City by Soji Akodu Asiwaju
Pic by the TheJungleJournalist Onukwube
At Nawada, Edo State. pic by Precious Opia Aghenu
Voting in progress by Celestine Akpobari
Omowaiye Oluremi reports "Jubilation at my ancestral maternal root , Itohan Girls Grammar School( Oredo LGA , Ward 6) Sapele Road, Benin City after the announcement of ACN as winner in the Ward with a wide margin



 Security personnel deployed for Edo elections patrolling major streets. Photo by Harry Slim Omoakhia




Friday, 13 July 2012

MEET YOUR E-CONFERENCE LEAD DISCUSSANTS: THE PIB & YOU

Peter Esele

Is a graduate of mass communication, and the current President of the Nigerian Trade Union Congress. Between 2006-2008, he was the president of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN). He also served as a member of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) Redrafting Committee inaugurated in January 2012 by the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Allison Madueke.

He has served on the Board of various state and federal government establishments, including  Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency, the Presidential Committee on Post-Election Violence (2011), the Presidential Committee on the Review of Outstanding Constitutional  Issues (2012). 


He is married with four children.





Jeremy Weate

Is a creative thinker, writer and strategist. Jeremy has over twelve years experience in the public and private sectors.  He has worked in Afghanistan, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Mozambique, Nigeria, Papua New Guinea, Sierra Leone, Tajikistan, Tanzania and the UK.

His work in the public sector has been as a development consultant, with a focus on institutional change and governance of the extractives sector. He has conducted a number of in-depth strategic institutional analysis reports for the governments of Afghanistan, Mongolia, Nigeria and Papua New Guinea.

Jeremy is a Prince2 certified project manager. He also has a sideline as a trainer, having led workshops and courses in organisational thinking, leadership, business creativity, effective business writing and screenwriting.

He is the author of a popular book on philosophy for children, "A Young Person's Guide to Philosophy" published in 1998 by Dorling Kindersley (and translated into 8 languages). He is currently writing a book on Nigeria.  He has also been working for the past five years on two long-term philosophical book projects, one on memory, the other on invisibility.

Jeremy Weate is the co-founder of Cassava Republic Press, based in Abuja, Nigeria. He is also the author of a popular blog, www.naijablog.co.uk.


Opeyemi Agbaje


Mr Opeyemi Agbaje is a policy analyst, strategy consultant and notable columnist. He is CEO of RTC Advisory Services Ltd (formerly Resources and Trust Company Ltd), a Strategy, Economic and Policy Consultancy. Mr Agbaje holds first degree in Law from University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University) and was called to the Nigerian Bar in 1986. He also holds LLM from University of Lagos and MBA from IESE Business School, Spain. Mr Opeyemi Agbaje worked in Banking from 1989 to 2004 and left as an Executive Director to found RTC. He is a director of CAP Plc and member of the board of trustees of Lagos State Security Trust Fund. He writes the influential "Economy, Polity, Society" column in Businessday and hosts the TV Show "The Policy Council".




Samuel Diminas


Is a Petroleum Geoscientist at Chevron North America Exploration and Production Company, Houston, Texas. In the course of his career he has worked with BP Exploration, Sunbury, England; Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NNPC) Exploration and production subsidiary. He is a founding director of Baysludge UK Ltd and Baysludge Nigeria Ltd.

He holds an MSc, DIC in Petroleum Geoscience from the Imperial College London and a BSc in Geology from the University of Port Harcourt.


Absolutely dedicated to the empowerment of Nigerian youths, Diminas is actively involved in the formulation of organizational strategy and programs aimed at transforming young Nigerians into powerful agents of social justice and next generation of effective future leaders. On a variety of SPACES FOR CHANGE’s social media platforms, he takes the lead in analyzing economic policies, and providing target groups with the information and tools to demand justice, accountability and transparency in governance processes and practices.


Through his involvement in many charities in Nigeria, UK and the United States, Diminas offers free mentoring and counseling services to young people, and helps them make important life changes in their academic, professional and career choices.



Ledum Mittee

Is an Ogoni activist, born on May 3, 1957. In addition to running a successful law firm in Port Harcourt, he served as lecturer in business law in Sokoto State Polytechnic in 1981. He has served in various national and state level capacities, and is among the leaders of the campaign for environmental justice in the Niger Delta.

He has held the following positions:

  1. Member, Rivers  State Community Development Coordinating Committee                                                        (1986-1988)
  2. Member, Provisional Governing Council, Rivers  State Polytechnic, Bori                                              (1988-1990)
  3. Chair, Civil Liberties Organization, Rivers State                  (1990-1992)
  4. Legal Advisor, MOSOP                                                         (1990-1992)
  5. Deputy President, MOSOP                                                   (1993-1995)
  6. Acting President MOSOP,                                                     (1995-1999)
  7. President MOSOP                                                                  (1999-2012)
  8. Member,  United Nations International Campaign to mark the 50th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights                                                (1998)
  1. Member, Rivers State Advisory Committee                         (1999)
  2. Member, National Political Reform Conference                  (2005)
  3.  President, Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization, The Hague                  (2005-2010)
  1.  Member, Rivers State Advisory Economic Council           2007-2011
  2.  Chair, Niger Delta Technical Committee                             (2008)
  3. Member, Board of Trustees/ Fellow, Society for Peace studies and Practice.          2006-Date

Honours:
  1. United Nations Adopted Defender of Human Rights                   1999
  2. Member of the Order of the Niger (MON)                            2007

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

BOKO HARAM: ORITSEJAFOR ADDRESSES US CONGRESS

Statement of Ayodele Joseph ORITSEJAFOR,

President of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN)
Oversight Hearing Before the House Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, and Human Rights on “U.S. Policy Toward Nigeria: West Africa’s Troubled Titan
 
July 10, 2012

Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor

Chairman Smith and Members of the Subcommittee, I want to thank you for the opportunity today to address this committee and for your interest in the situation in the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and especially the increase in terrorist attacks targeting Christians and Christian institutions. Just this last weekend, 58 people were killed in Christian villages in Jos, including a federal senator and a state lawmaker. Boko Haram already claimed responsibility for these coordinated attacks against the Christian community in Jos, and they also reaffirmed their earlier position saying that “for Christians in Nigeria to know peace they must accept Islam as the only true religion.” Boko Haram is not only a northern problem, but a Nigerian problem with global implications. Nigeria is not a country divided by North and South, but a country divided between those who support freedom and equality in the eyes of the law, and those who promote persecution and violence as a means to an end.

To an outside observer it may appear as though Boko Haram is not a monolithic group; that it is fragmented and disorganized, but I am here today to give you the Nigerian perspective. Since its creation, the Boko Haram network has never hidden its agenda or intentions. Boko Haram has
openly stated that they reject the Nigerian State and its Constitution and seek to impose Shari’ah Law. To this end, Boko Haram has waged a systematic campaign of terror and violence. They seek an end to western influence and a removal of the Christian presence in Nigeria.This is outright terrorism, not legitimate political activity or the airing of grievances. 

By refusing to designate Boko Haram as a foreign terrorist organization, the United States is sending a very clear message, not just to the Federal Government of Nigeria, but to the world – that the murder of innocent Christians, and Muslims who reject Islamism, and I make a clear distinction here between Islam and Islamism, are acceptable losses. It is hypocritical for the United States and the international community to say that they believe in freedom and equality, when their actions do not support those who are being persecuted.

A non-designation for the group only serves to hamper the cause of justice, and has emboldened Boko Haram to continue to strike out at those who are denied equal protection under the law. The frequency, lethality and sophistication of Boko Haram’s attacks raise disturbing questions regarding training and logistical support they have received from other like minded international terrorist networks. In January 2012 the United Nations Security Council published a report stating that Boko Haram members from Nigeria received training in AQIM camps located in Mali and Chad during the summer of 2011. That same summer Boko Haram carried out a bold terrorist attack against the United Nations building in Abuja. Boko Haram did not hesitate in claiming responsibility for the attack, nor has it ever hesitated in claiming responsibility for its ongoing attacks against police, military, local businesses, and increasingly churches and Christian institutions.

In Nigeria, my people are dying every single day, and it is only a matter of time before the international terrorist links and anti-democratic Islamist agenda of Boko Haram turns its attention to the United States. In fact, this may already be a reality, in April of 2012 the NYPD learned that a U.S. resident living on the East Coast had sent surveillance, including maps and photographs of lower Manhattan and the Holland and Lincoln tunnels to an alleged member of Boko Haram based in Nigeria.

State Department designated Boko Haram’s current leader; Abubaker Shekau and 2 others as “specially designated terrorists”, but fell short of designating the organization. This would be the equivalent of designating Bin Laden as a terrorist, but failing to designate Al Qaeda as a terrorist organization.

Although I am aware that the designation of Boko Haram as a Foreign Terrorist Organization is not the final solution to all of Nigeria’s problems, yet it is an important first step towards restoring the confidence of those who support freedom and equality in the eyes of the law.

We too, want to have freedom, freedom of religion, freedom to worship as we choose without fear, we want to have justice, based in equality and not driven by discriminatory religious practices. Let me remind us that this is not about economics but about an ideology that has a history of sponsoring genocide across the globe. 

As Boko Haram increasingly turns towards genocide through the systematic targeting of Christians and Christian institutions in pursuit of its goals, history will not forget the actions or the inactions of your great nation. I thank you for this opportunity and I look forward to the continuing our strong partnership with America.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.


Culled from: http://foreignaffairs.house.gov/112/HHRG-112-FA16-WState-OritsejaforA-20120710.pdf

Monday, 9 July 2012

Serving Nigerian Senator Killed in Jos

Senator Gyang Dantong
Nigeria's serving senator Gyang Dantong Dalyop of the Peoples' Democratic Party (PDP), representing Plateau North has been killed by unknown gunmen at Maseh village in Riyom LGA of Plateau State. He was gunned down while attending the mass burial of about 50 persons gruesomely murdered by suspected Fulani herdsmen during the Saturday morning attacks on villages in Barkin Ladi and Riyom local government areas of the state. The Majority Leader of the Plateau State House of Assembly, Mr. Gyang Fulani and several others persons were also killed at the event. 
The gunmen reportedly stormed the venue of the burial and opened fire on mourners, causing more painful deaths and injuring many. Among the injured is the member representing Barkin-Ladi/Riyom Constituency in the House of Representatives, Mr. Simon Mwadkon, who was sucessfully resuscitated at the Barkin-Ladi General Hospital.

Mustapha Salisu, spokesman for a special taskforce (STF) - an anti-insurgency security outfit - said assailants launched “sophisticated attacks” on several villages near Jos early Saturday"... “They came in hundreds...and some had (police) uniforms and some even had bulletproof vests.”
Senate President David Mark today described the killing of Senator Gyang Dantong as shocking, saying "the incessant killings of innocent Nigerians must be stopped." Describing Dantong’s death as a personal loss, the Senate President described the deceased as "a patriotic parliamentarian, quintessential gentleman and committed nationalist who was killed in active service to his fatherland”.
SPACES FOR CHANGE condemns the Sunday, July 8, 2012 killings in very strong terms, and decries the recurrent violent clashes and sectarian crisis in Jos. Successive administrations of the state have set up various committees and commissions of inquiry that have examined these issues, but the reports from these bodies, and the occasional government white paper, have mostly been shelved.

Furthermore, the death of these prominent Nigerians introduces a new twist to the unprecedented bloodletting and human carnage currently witnessed in Northern Nigeria, suggesting that the attacks are possibly shifting from ordinary citizens to the ruling class. In very swift response to the killings, a very mournful Senate (Nigeria's highest legislative body) has vowed to pass stiffer anti-terrorism laws. Will this latest trend jolt the leadership out of their complacency to treat security with the absolute seriousness it deserves? Only time will tell.





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