A petroleum industry bill for Diezani

Is’haq Modibbo Kawu

26 July 2012, Sweetcrude, LAGOS – IT must be, arguably, the most anticipated Bill,as far as legislation goes in Nigeria. That is the much-vaunted Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB; and talking about the typically Nigerian hype, the PIB was hyped! It is described as panacea for every problem associated with Nigeria’s petroleum industry.

You could literally close your eyes and see the PIB, rather like a magician’s wand, in Petroleum Minister, Diezani Allison-Madueke’s hands: she waves it around and corruption disappears from oil fields; oil thieves are out of business; transnational oil giants retain absolute control; Nigeria’s comprador oil bourgeoisie is in business; more money flows into oil bearing communities, ensuring a bigger slice from Nigeria’s oil revenue; the North pays more for fuel, with the scrapping of the petroleum equalisation regime (afterall, Diezani on behalf of the South-South, can say “it is our oil” so let them pay more!), and so on.

To underline PIB’s importance, Nigerians were inundated with tales of various versions of the Bill: a patriotic version, aimed at strengthening a nationalist regime in the oil industry, drafted by patriots in the industry. For their effrontery as patriots, they were allegedly side-lined and eventually weeded out of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC.

Then a version, preferred by oil majors, with the express intention of ensuring that in the long run, the patriotic version of the PIB, didn’t see the light of day. And finally, Diezani’s version of the PIB! Whichever one chooses, there can be no gainsaying the fact that PIB hopes to change the management of Nigerian oil resources forever. What we might not be able to vouch for is whether in the long run, a restructured oil industry will be in Nigeria’s best interest.

Don’t get me wrong please; a few people will continue to feed fat on the huge returns that oil industry brings; but the question is whether we want to entrench a few rich men and women in the oil business at the expense of the rest of us. Whatever the touted merits of the PIB, it must be appreciated in the context of the broad neo-liberal capitalist economic choices made by the ruling elite since 1999.

They are not policies in the best interest of the Nigerian people; Diezani’s PIB cannot therefore be isolated from economic choices foisted on our country since the PDP came to power.

If an individual can become the face of a particular law in Nigeria, then Diezani Allison-Madueke is the face of PIB. And she is quite besotted with it; at least with her own version! I last saw Diezani on the night of June 24th, 2012,at the Aso Villa, soon after the Presidential Media Chat. She spoke like an enthusiastic salesperson attempting to sell a product (genuine or fake didn’t matter!).

She said the PIB was the next great assignment of her job as Nigeria’s Petroleum Minister; without doubt, the most powerful minister of the Jonathan regime and as many people believe, the only minister with a secure tenure. Lucky lady that one! In the past week, her version of the PIB was adopted by Federal Executive Council and submitted to the National Assembly just as it was going on recess.

But the little we have seen of Diezani’s PIB, titillates, rather like the proverbial lady’s skirt: long enough to cover essentials but short enough to be suggestive! Diezani has drafted a Petroleum Industry Bill around her own very ambitious and tall ego indeed! As DAILY TRUST, of Friday July 20th, 2012 noted, the new PIB will make Diezani “more powerful than she already is”, if passed by the National Assembly.

Why? She “will become chairman of the boards of plum parastatals in the ministry and also have powers to scrap the Petroleum Equalisation Fund which ensures the uniformity of petrol prices allover the country”.

Absurd and self- serving provisions
How the obviously absurd and self-serving essence of these provisions was allowed to pass by FEC remains a mystery. But it is clear, that if passed, as is, Diezani will literally become the petroleum industry itself! The PIB provides that Diezani will become chairperson of PTDF; the National Petroleum Assets Management Corporation and Petroleum Equalisation Fund and aside from chairing the agencies, she will “be responsible for recommending to the President who to appoint as chief executives and as board members. Diezani will similarly directly supervise “the activities of the Petroleum Technical Bureau and the Upstream Petroleum Inspectorate, and also recommend its officials for appointment”.

It is incredible that Diezani’s PIB plans to make a superhuman out of a lady who runs the industry largely because she is close to the President and is from the Niger Delta! It is also the intendment of Diezani’s PIB, to set up a Petroleum Host Community Fund; with it, all oil companies will pay 10 person of their profit from upstream activities.

The hundreds of billions expected will go solely to the Niger Delta, along with funds already provided through Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC; Ministry of Niger Delta and 13 percent Derivation! Instructively, President Jonathan’s letter to the National Assembly asked for “expeditious passage”.

Diezani’s PIB is tall enough to fit her ego while giving more funds to the Niger Delta. As the saying goes, the devil is in the detail. People continue to lament that Ghali Na’abah’s House of Representatives was heavily bribed to pass the law that abrogated Onshore-Offshore oil dichotomy.

Is’haq Modibbo Kawu is a newspaper columnist who writes compellingly on issues of national significance.

About the Author

  • Hmmm

  • The more commentators digest and analyse the current PIB, hopefully, the easier the task of the lawmakers. We believe that the lawmakers will take these concerns into consideration in their deliberations and subsequent amendments. Indeed the legislative process would see the national assembly request for submission of memorandum from interested members of the public. It is of course easy for those in authority to submit to to the temptation of whimsical flights of fancy and it is the duty of conscientious citizens to remind them as often as it is necessary that they work for us.


    The LORD Delivers from Trouble
    1 O give thanks unto the LORD, for he is good:

    for his mercy endureth for ever. 1 Chr. 16.34 · 2 Chr. 5.13 ; 7.3 · Ezra 3.11 · Ps. 100.5 ; 106.1 ; 118.1 ; 136.1 · Jer. 33.11
    2 Let the redeemed of the LORD say so,

    whom he hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy;
    3 and gathered them out of the lands,

    from the east, and from the west,
    from the north, and from the south.
    4 They wandered in the wilderness in a solitary way;

    they found no city to dwell in.
    5 Hungry and thirsty,

    their soul fainted in them.
    6 Then they cried unto the LORD in their trouble,

    and he delivered them out of their distresses.
    7 And he led them forth by the right way,

    that they might go to a city of habitation.
    8 Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness,

    and for his wonderful works to the children of men!
    9 For he satisfieth the longing soul,

    and filleth the hungry soul with goodness.
    10 Such as sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,

    being bound in affliction and iron;
    11 because they rebelled against the words of God,

    and contemned the counsel of the Most High:
    12 therefore he brought down their heart with labor;

    they fell down, and there was none to help.
    13 Then they cried unto the LORD in their trouble,

    and he saved them out of their distresses.
    14 He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death,

    and brake their bands in sunder.
    15 Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness,

    and for his wonderful works to the children of men!
    16 For he hath broken the gates of brass,

    and cut the bars of iron in sunder.
    17 Fools, because of their transgression,

    and because of their iniquities, are afflicted.
    18 Their soul abhorreth all manner of meat;

    and they draw near unto the gates of death.
    19 Then they cry unto the LORD in their trouble,

    and he saveth them out of their distresses.
    20 He sent his word, and healed them,

    and delivered them from their destructions.
    21 Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness,

    and for his wonderful works to the children of men!
    22 And let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving,

    and declare his works with rejoicing.
    23 They that go down to the sea in ships,

    that do business in great waters;
    24 these see the works of the LORD,

    and his wonders in the deep.
    25 For he commandeth, and raiseth the stormy wind,

    which lifteth up the waves thereof.
    26 They mount up to the heaven,

    they go down again to the depths:
    their soul is melted because of trouble.
    27 They reel to and fro,

    and stagger like a drunken man,
    and are at their wit’s end.
    28 Then they cry unto the LORD in their trouble,

    and he bringeth them out of their distresses.
    29 He maketh the storm a calm,

    so that the waves thereof are still.
    30 Then are they glad because they be quiet;

    so he bringeth them unto their desired haven.
    31 Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness,

    and for his wonderful works to the children of men!
    32 Let them exalt him also in the congregation of the people,

    and praise him in the assembly of the elders.
    33 He turneth rivers into a wilderness,

    and the watersprings into dry ground;
    34 a fruitful land into barrenness,

    for the wickedness of them that dwell therein.
    35 He turneth the wilderness into a standing water,

    and dry ground into watersprings.
    36 And there he maketh the hungry to dwell,

    that they may prepare a city for habitation;
    37 and sow the fields, and plant vineyards,

    which may yield fruits of increase.
    38 He blesseth them also, so that they are multiplied greatly;

    and suffereth not their cattle to decrease.
    39 Again, they are minished and brought low

    through oppression, affliction, and sorrow.
    40 He poureth contempt upon princes,

    and causeth them to wander in the wilderness, where there is no way.
    41 Yet setteth he the poor on high from affliction,

    and maketh him families like a flock.
    42 The righteous shall see it, and rejoice:

    and all iniquity shall stop her mouth.
    43 Whoso is wise, and will observe these things,

    even they shall understand the loving-kindness of the LORD.
    Also read Psalm 108 more and more to encourage your faith and hope.