President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the reconstitution of boards of the Nigeria Liquified Natural Gas Limited NLNG,and its subsidiary, the Bonny Gas Transport Limited,BGT.
The approval was contained in a memo by the Minister of State for Petroleum, Timipre Sylvia last Monday.
Those who will seat on the board include former minister for Energy and Secretary General of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries OPEC, Edmund Daukoru.
Edmund Daukoru ,a traditional ruler and Amanyanabo of Nembe kingdom is to chair the board of the NLNG as well as the Bonny Gas Transport Limited.
The Presidential approval list for the two boards of the gas company,does not have a Rivers name on the boards.
The structures of the NLNG LTD and it’s subsidiary BGT do not reflect indigenes of Rivers State in top management positions.
The NLNG structure comprises, Managing Director and Chief Executive, Deputy Managing Director and General Managers.Sadly those positions are occupied by non indigenes whose States of origin do not have the gas resources that are abundant in Rivers State.
To keep the records straight, Rivers State produces a hundred percent 100% of feed gas that are piped processed and sold to customers abroad.
The feed gas are produced from crude oil fields in Obiafu Obrikom,Obite all in Onelga and Soku.They are processed by a network of pipelines called Gas Transmission Systems GTS The pipelines run from the three gas plants and connect to a node junction at Rumuji and then to Emohua Okrika and to Bonny for processing and shipping to customers abroad.
As a matter of fact, 110 kilometers of pipelines are in Rivers State.Yet there is no representation from Rivers State on the boards.
The gas plant is in Bonny, yet there is no one good enough to be appointed into key management positions.HABA! What did Rivers people do to deserve this?
The principle of fairness dictates that the goose that lays the golden eggs must be nourished, protected and its needs and welfare priotised.
Fairness indicates that anytime there is constitution or reconstitution, of the boards, there must be a Rivers person to reflect adequate representation , regrettably the new board is devoid of that, why it is so is solely a question only the minister whose Ministry the appointments were made should answer.
However,we are compelled to ask some pertinent questions why Rivers State was not considered in the selection process for the decision making levels of the NLNG, If there was no spirit of malice in the selection process then was it conscientious of the minister to ignore the people of Rivers State? Or was it a deliberate ploy by the former Bayelsa governor to perpetually malign the Rivers people?
Minister Sylvia had said that the whole idea of ousting the current boards was to inject fresh ideas into the governance of the company to record level,
He also said that Experience, Integrity and Expertise informed the selection of the new board members.There is no problem with that,however his choices do not reflect the new ways of positioning the NLNG for optimal production levels.
The age we are is digital, not analogue as such putting a new wine in an old wine bottle just won’t work.
Certified and qualified persons abound in Rivers who should be in the decision making process of the company.
It is not a secret that Pa Edmund Daukoru is a relation of the honourable minister, perhaps the appointment of the traditional ruler is to reciprocate an earlier good gesture demonstrated by the traditional ruler when he held sway as minister of energy with Sylvia as his personal assistant .There is no pain in returning favours but doing it without recourse to the pain of others is most callous.
Daukoru is the King of Nembe kingdom in Bayelsa State,by implication, a natural ruler and custodian of the Nembe cultural heritage, what this means is that he is by virtue of the trust vested in him by his people , required to keep the faith by being present in the place where his kingdom is domiciled.
The NLNG board and management is not a place to display culture and tradition as the people of Bonny and indeed Rivers State have enough that are spectacles to behold.
It is worth noting that in the history of Liquified Natural Gas production, Bayelsa State does not play a significant role.The only area where Bayelsa is indirectly involved is the gas that is gathered at Nembe Bassambiri and oluasiri and then brought to the soku station where it is then piped to Bonny, processed and for shipment abroad.
Royalties accruing from the soku gas station had been a subject of controversy and litigation between Rivers and Bsyelsa state for years until recently when court gave judgement in favour of Rivers State.
For purpose of giving credence to this analysis, a good look at the list comprising new members of the board is crucial.
By the reconstitution of the boards,King Daukoru will replace Osobonye Longjohn as Chairman of the boards.
Other members include the Group Managing Director of the NNPC,Mele Kyari, the group operating Officer of the NNPC Downstream,Henry ikem-Orbih, the Managing Director of NLNG,Tony Attah , Deputy Managing Director NLNG LTD, Sadeeq Mai-Borno, and Bitrus Nabasu.
For the Bonny Gas Transport Limited BGT, Edmund Daukoru is still to chair while members are Doyin Akinyanju, Abdul Abba, Bitrus Nabasu and Mele Kyari.
As noted above, there is no Rivers name on the board. If the nominations were done without malice then why is there no one person from Rivers State on the boards?
Since the NLNG LTD came into being, the best position Rivers State has occupied was general manager and that was Sienne Allwell Brown and Eresia Eke Kudo but that was a long time ago.
Rivers State at the moment is suffering five jeopardies, exclusion from the two boards of the NLNG LTD Bonny Gas Transport Limited BGT, management positions of the two companies and the latest construction of Train 7.
Stakeholders and the NLNG management have put in modalities to ensure the success of Train 7 which is expected to employ 18,000 people,but to our findings,there is no Rivers person on board, information at our disposal has it that the manager of Train 7 is an indigene of Kaduna State, an NNPC staff and son of a retired Chief Judge of the federation, Justice Uwais.This is too much,Too Bad.
In saner climes where opportunities of natural resources abound, the host communities and states have a say and rejoice,but in the Nigerian situation, natural resources are a veritable source of pain and anger for those bearing them.
It is a great concern that in this age and time, ‘nepotic tendencies’ flow like a stream into our dwelling places, forcing reactions that reasonate to ‘time bombs’.
President Buhari is a man of principle and a man of integrity, because integrity is his watchword, Integrity is his daily meal. Buhari is father to all Nigerians irrespective of political and religious leanings. He is a man of Justice and we believe that he would address the injustice done to Rivers People squarely and fairly ,by taking a decisive step to quicken the process of appointing Rivers persons into the NLNG top cadre.
It is not too late to do that and it is not a matter of asking for favour.
It is a matter of asking for our right, moreover the effects of gas and crude activities in our communities have beleaguered the creeks and farmlands and consolidated untold hardship with the people affected in their large numbers, devastated ,not knowing what to do.
Rivers State with 23 local government areas having enough human resources and mineral deposits should not be shortchanged by any other state or group in any way,in any form.
Let the right thing be done.