28 April 2013

Nigeria: Building NNPC/NASS Synergy


At a critical time when the executive and the legislature seem to be at loggerheads over a number of contentious issues ranging from budgetary allocation, budget implementation, legislative oversight and the execution of constituency project among other raging issues, there seems to be a determined effort by some forward looking bureaucrats as well as legislator to move in the opposite direction by strengthening the ties that bind the two arms of government, thus ensuring co-operation, mutual accord, constructive dialogue as well as purposeful and effective conduct of governmental activities for the overall benefit of the Nigerian people.

While the headlines have been awash with instances of executive-legislative standoff and confrontation ranging from the Arunma Oteh saga, to the fuel subsidy imbroglio, the Faroukgate scandal, the BPE/Onagoruwa face-off etc, it is actually in the committee rooms and inner sanctums of the National Assembly that a lot of movement in the positive direction has been achieved as prescient and patriotic public officers conscious of the necessity of inter-governmental interaction and exchange of ideas, policies and programmes reach across the political divide to forge a long lasting and amicable consensus and meeting of minds on key national issues. One of the most remarkable examples of this laudable synergy between the legislature and the executive is the ongoing efforts of the NNPC Group Executive Director, Exploration and Production, Engr. Abiye Henderson Membere to transcend the sometimes rancorous relationship between the foremost national legislative organ and the foremost revenue earner of the nation which is an undoubted sine qua non to fast rack economic growth, industrial progress and national stability and development in all its ramifications.

Without undue hype and publicity, a surefooted Engr. Abiye Membere has moved decisively to create an enduring culture of co-operation, symbiotic partnership as well as a transparent and accountable rendering of the operational activities of the NNPC to the sometimes skeptical legislators and with painstaking diligence has been able to engender a healthy level of confidence and respect within the length and breadth of the National Assembly to such an extent that friction and acrimony has been reduced to a minimal tolerable level.

At the height of the fuel subsidy hearings and the investigative hearings on the NNPC operational activities, when emotions were supercharged and there were strident calls for the removal of the Petroleum Minister and Chairman of the NNPC Board, Mrs. Diezani Allison- Madueke, an intuitive Engr. Abiye Membere rightly reasoned that it would be unwise and counterproductive to adopt a confrontational approach towards the somewhat combative federal legislators, some of whom seemed bent on extracting their pound of flesh from an embattled NNPC administrative establishment. In essence, a rational Engr. Abiye Membere adopted a highly constructive approach attuned to advanced trouble shooting dynamics which inherently looks at every problem with an eye on reaching a rapprochement with contending forces and moving forward on mutually agreeable templates.

Behind the prying eyes of sensation driven media histrionics, a keen minded Engr. Abiye Membere met with relevant committee chairmen, their deputies and members and methodically advanced the NNPC position while laying down relevant facts, figures and statistics to buttress his reasoned arguments. His raison d'etre was that the petroleum behemoth was not as sinister or mafia-like as depicted by some sections of the press but a thorough going professional, managerially competent and administratively robust organization that is geared towards effective, sound and efficient service delivery to numerous stakeholders in the oil industry as well as the Nigerian people.

The NNPC is not a cabal ridden institution, where officials loot the nations treasury and play fast and furious with figures, but rather a conglomerate composed of earnest, vigorous and enervated Nigerians keen to optimize the gains of oil exploration and exploration to energize and invigorate the nation's drive for economic development and industrial advancement.

Aliyu wrote in from Abuja

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