Osinbajo Gets It All Wrong On Oil, Rejects Full Deregulation Of Sector

The Oasis Reporters

June 18, 2017

Acting President of Nigeria, Mr. Yemi Osinbajo has been quoted as saying that full deregulation of the Petroleum sector is a no go area.
Osinbajo, a professor of law who is acting for President Muhammadu Buhari, made this declaration known which pundits say, must be speaking the mind or “body language” of Buhari.

The president who has spent more time outside the country than inside, has been battling with ill health ever since he assumed office, abandoning the best, well stocked and most sophisticated hospital in the country, his own State House clinic that gulps more money than all of Nigeria’s Teaching Hospitals combined.

On assumption of office, Mr. Buhari made himself the Petroleum Minister in a cabinet that took him more than six months to constitute. What would take presidents in the US, Canada or France less than 48 hours to put in place.

But he’s adding the ministry to his duties, quickly betrayed where his interests lay, whereas his body seem unable to see him through.
The duo of Buhari and Osinbajo believe strongly in an economy driven by crude oil and controlled by the government.

Not only do they fail to quickly factor in the obvious reality that petroleum is an expiring resource, but that Texas State in the USA for instance , has 26 petroleum refineries, all privately owned. California has 19.
None is owned by the government.

Yet Nigeria owns a paltry 4 refineries that hardly ever work in the 60 years since crude oil was first drilled at the neglected Oloibiri in Nigeria’s Niger delta.
The country imports petroleum products massively.
In over 100 years the US government never built nor operated a commercial refinery. It does not regulate the prices of petroleum products either.

There are symptoms “of bigger unresolved problems perpetually dragging Nigeria backwards”, writes Victoria Ibezim-Ohaeri, a Harvard trained lawyer who is a Human Rights Campaigner, Environmental Rights Activist and Public Affairs Analyst.

She continued in a post :

“Have you heard that the Petroleum Investment Bill, PIB, has passed second reading in the Nigerian House of Representatives?

The meaning of the term ‘host communities (HCs)’ has been expanded in such a way that now accommodates Kano and Kaduna as petroleum host communities even though there is no drop of oil extracted from those areas. ‘HCs now include where oil is produced and where pipeline passes as well as where there’s oil installation’.

Recall that the 2012 version (drafted by the then President Goodluck Jonathan administration) of the PIB already provided for a Remediation Fund (RF) designed to cater for areas impacted by oil operations or installations. RF is separate from the provision made for areas (host communities) where oil extraction/exploration takes place.
But no, everybody, impacted or not, wants a piece of the HC pie.

When national resources are distributed across regions in ways that validate perceptions of unfairness and marginalization, governance will surely” head downwards “and this trickles down.

Extremists will assume its trite to unjustly enrich themselves just the same way HCs are being reconfigured to benefit regions that neither have oil nor suffer environmental harm.
Charlatans will ventilate their grievances through the right or wrong channels available to them as we keep seeing on a daily basis. Its simply a case of ‘the end justifies the means’ “.

These factors exhibit why the Nigerian economy has been the butt of jokes in international circles in the mishandling by the most incompetent government in Nigeria’s chequered history, leading to calls for it’s dismemberment and quit notices being issued by ethnic irredentists.
And yet, not a word from it’s elected president ,who media handlers insist, speak with his deputy all the time. But won’t address his country men and women.

Greg Abolo

Blogger at The Oasis Reporters.

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