11 November 2014, Sweetcrude, Port Harcourt – When states were created the idea that was upper most on the minds of the promoters was security both from external and internal aggressors. The modern state therefore has the obligation of securing its borders against external forces and against tendencies within the state that portend to undermine harmony, peace and the safety of lives and property. The 1999 constitution demands a single obligation on the occupant of the office of President of Nigeria: securing lives and property within Nigeria. The constitution does not expressly demand the President’s office to build bridges, construct roads, establish centres of learning, and provide electricity for the citizens, or job opportunities for the unemployed. Unemployment in a country that does not provide a social security and welfare systems for its citizen, creates hunger; hunger induces criminality and therefore insecurity within the state. It is therefore very safe to infer that a leader who does not create job opportunities for the unemployed members of the society has failed in his constitutional duty of securing the state from internal aggressors.
The policies, actions and inactions of the NNPC under Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke have stalled and distressed the Nigerian economy. As at the first quarter of this year, unemployment in Nigeria stood at 15 per cent, yet the country’s policy makers neglect to deploy every opportunity to inject more jobs into the economy. For over four years, the NNPC have stalled the commencement of the $20 billion dollars Brass LNG project. This project has been stalled apparently because no group managing director of the NNPC under Mrs Alison-Madueke has occupied the office long enough to conclude the protocol for a final investment decision, FID. Another project that has not taken off because of lethargy and negligence at the NNPC Towers is the Funiwa gas project; valued at over $3 billion and having the potential to create over 2000 skilled job opportunities in addition to improving the in-country gas supply system. It was unfortunately tied to the coming on stream of the Brass LNG, so that they could only commence with the existence of a functional Brass LNG.
The list of stalled or abandoned projects at the NNPC is embarrassingly long with the irony that Alison-Madueke, feeling no embarrassment at her many failures and now famous ineptitude boasts about the successes recorded by her ministry. The Erha North Phase 2 project, the multi-billion dollar Nsikko project, Satellite field II and Bonga south West among many others are all projects that awaits the pleasure and approval of the slowest bureaucracy in the world to come unto the nation’s ledger books to change the lives of hundreds of thousands of Nigerians and their dependants. The facts that oil theft and pipelines’ vandalism continue to undermine Nigeria’s profitability in oil and gas operations, that the criminals who carry out those acts are actuated by hunger and the absence of legitimate work, that, as many have postulated, religious fundamentalism and terrorism are traceable to unemployment, do not all commend themselves as credible arguments to Nigeria’s leaders, especially the policy makers at the petroleum ministry, that their lethargy and negligence are pushing Nigerian society in the direction of anarchy.
But Nigerians have a choice between anarchy and developing so that while the policy makers at the NNPC Towers continue their delusional existence, Nigerians can borrow the script of the Arab spring, a vibrant strategy for change where as in Nigeria, the ballot has failed.