Former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Attahiru Jega, has asked the Federal Government to work towards the restructuring of the country before the 2023 general elections in order to address some challenges confronting the nation.
Jega who stated this while delivering the 2021 Public Lecture at the Achievers University, Owo, Ondo State, with the title “Towards stabilizing the Nigeria federation” stressed the need for the country to embark on short-term restructuring before the general election in 2023.
The former INEC boss noted that the executive and legislative arms have foot-dragging in making the restructuring of the country, urging them to do everything within the ambits of the law to restructure the country.
According to him, there seems to be a lack of political will on the part of those who are at the helm of affairs in the nation’s executive and legislative arms of government, saying the executive seems to have taken a back seat believing that restructuring is purely a legislative matter.
He said, “In the present circumstances, as necessary and desirable as restructuring is, a number of challenges would have to be overcome to successfully bring it about.
“First, passion has been inflamed and allowed to circumscribe the discourses of restructuring, resulting in the emergence of hardened antagonistic positions, which if allowed to persist, would make reconciliation and consensus-building very difficult indeed, if not impossible.
“The perceptions of exclusion, marginalisation, and exploitation are so deep-seated that they nurture and deepen divisions, polarisation, and illogical if not irrational agitations by extremist groups.
“In the circumstances, conversation, debate, and dialogue are, if at all, conducted at cross purposes, obstructive of accommodation of differing opinions and the pursuit of a rational and logical process of consensus-building and bringing about the desirable restructuring of the Nigerian federation.
“Second, in the governance sphere, at both the federal executive and legislative levels, the political will and competence seem lacking for the pursuit of credible and popularly acceptable procedures and processes of bringing about
appropriate and desirable restructuring.
“The executive seems to take a back seat in the belief that restructuring is purely a legislative matter, into which it should not dabble, thereby failing to provide the requisite, proactive leadership for driving the agenda and process of restructuring.
“On its part, the legislature seems to take an overly legalistic posture, impatient with, and indifferent to calls for transparent, inclusive, and people-oriented strategies for achieving popularly acceptable restructuring.
“A broadly participatory, inclusive, and responsive process would lend greater legitimacy to the end product of any restructuring and constitutional amendment processes. Regrettably, members of the National Assembly have failed to recognize the desirability of doing this.
“Third, rather than prioritising restructuring and focusing on addressing the key discernible challenges to power-sharing and resources distribution/allocation amongst the subnational, federating units, the legislature pursues a comprehensive/wholesale constitutional amendment process, with many contentious issues taken onboard simultaneously. This makes the process time-consuming, overly contentious and controversial, and susceptible to filibuster, and likely derailment of the entire undertaking.
“Fourth, leaving the very important business of restructuring until very close to the next general elections has its own challenges, given that Nigerian politicians tend to shy away from taking tough decisions in the national interest, especial on seemingly controversial issues, too close to general elections.”
He, however, expressed optimism that restructuring could be achieved if the stakeholders could do the needful, advocating a short-term restructuring before the 2023 general election.
Jega said “In spite of the challenges, the prospects of restructuring are not as hopeless as some would assume them to be. Nigeria needs stability and increased legitimacy for elected officials in governance; needs good governance, better nurtured and deepened democratic development; and needs economic growth and socio-economic development.
“For all these, better management of ethnoreligious diversity on the basis of rule of law, justice, equity and equality of opportunity, is a necessary precondition. That is what a federal arrangement is meant to ensure, but it is not, if truth is to be told, what the current federal structure and practice of federalism in Nigeria provide. Rather, it ensures an asymmetrical and unequal distribution of power and allocation of resources between the national government and the subnational units, the states.
“Therefore, some form of restructuring in the short-term, before the next general elections in 2023 to reverse the trend and reposition Nigeria as a viable and effective federation, is necessary. One can say without any fear of contradiction that there is at least an elite consensus on the fact that the current Nigerian federal arrangement isn’t optimally working; that indeed it is dysfunctional and needs improvement.
“Where consensus seems lacking is on the nature and extent of restructuring to be undertaken before the next general elections in 2023. If only our elected leaders would try harder, with courage and strong political will, consensus can and should emerge on the thorny issues about the nature and extent of restructuring.
“It may be difficult but it would not be impossible to commence, and achieve some form of desirable restructuring of
the Nigerian federation before the 2023 general elections,” the guest lecturer noted.
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NUPRC Reiterates Commitment To Tackle Oil Spills
The Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) has reiterated its commitment to tackle oil spills in the Nigerian oil and gas sector in fulfillment of its regulatory mandate as enshrined in the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) 2021, Petroleum Act and the Petroleum (Drilling and Production) Regulations and subsidiary legislations.
This assurance has become necessary following concerns trailing the oil spill incident of November 3, 2021 which occurred at the Santa Barbara Well 1 operated by AITEO Eastern Exploration and Production Company in Bassambiri, Nembe Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.
The Commission will continue to monitor the site situation and guide the operator until the spill and its attendant problems are completely addressed. This includes but is not limited to implementing all effective physical and engineering solutions to the incident, managing the safety of the response providers and people in the neighbouring communities and educating the general public on the site situation periodically.
In specific terms, the Commission will ensure that the pressure from the well is stopped to put an end to the oil release, the already released oil is appropriately contained and skimmed off as it is being released, a joint investigation visit (JIV) is conducted as soon as it is safe to do so, cleanup and restorative actions are done immediately after the spill is stopped and compensation paid to affected communities timeously and in accordance with the law.
We appreciate the concerns raised in different quarters following the incident and wish to inform the general public and our stakeholders that the Commission has taken all necessary steps alongside the relevant stakeholders to ensure that the situation does not degenerate further. Remediation actions are already on-going to ensure that the spill is contained and the situation is brought under effective control.
It was confirmed that upon receiving the report of the incident, the operator, AITEO mobilized immediately for preliminary assessment of site conditions and based on the specific site requirements, positioned containment booms to isolate the spill source and prevent oil from spreading further; while also cordoning off the area to prevent injuries to people and fire from any possible ignition source.
It also called in Boots and Coots, a well disaster management company, from the US, to cap the pressure and stop further spill. Clean Nigeria Associates (CNA) was also engaged to contain and recover the oil as well as manage and protect the immediate environment. The company has continually updated the NUPRC on site conditions and their action steps.
On receipt of reports of the incident by the Commission, our field operations team were promptly mobilised and are currently on ground for regulatory oversight assessment to determine probable cause(s) and to ensure all response actions are the most appropriate and effective to return normalcy in the shortest possible time.
Apart from checking to confirm that the company is carrying out the necessary response measures to contain the situation, the Commission has made its officials available to participate in containment procedures that are considered safe by the experts at this moment. Initial spill report has been received and appropriately reviewed and documented while updates are received diligently.
When the incident occurred, the Honourable Minister of State for Petroleum Resources and the Commission’s Chief Executive visited communities around the spill site to brief them of safety measures already put in place as well as assure them of the commitment of the Commission to sort out the situation in the shortest possible time. Relevant and verified information about the development are also being released routinely to the public to avoid misinformation.
In line with our statutory responsibility, operations at the site is under the supervision of the Commission and efforts are on-going to contain the spill, stop the flow, control and clean-up the spill. Currently the situation has been brought under control while follow-up activities have commenced and progressing as planned.
Our preliminary investigations have revealed that there were no fatalities in the incident. However crude oil and gas were seen gushing out from valves close to the top of the wellhead at high pressure but without any associated fire. The water surrounding the wellhead was polluted with oil. The affected well had been previously shut-in and therefore not producing at the time of incident.
While the incident is to be treated with care and the location approached with caution by only those authorized to do so, the Commission wishes to reiterate that there is no cause for panic. This is because on a routine basis and under the supervision of relevant teams from the Commission, all petroleum companies are mandated to conduct drill exercises to adequately prepare for all eventualities.
Under this arrangement, such companies are required to document all necessary response actions in their Oil Spill Contingency Plan which is routinely and painstakingly reviewed by the Commission; and which is to be activated for response in emergency situations. Details of the regulatory requirements are contained in the PIA 2021 and further enunciated in the EGASPIN 2018. These form the basis of our strategic focus to achieve zero incidences going forward.
As part of our strategic plan for incident management, the operators have been mandated to activate Environmental Management Plans (EMP) which includes Environmental Compliance Monitoring (ECM) among other response actions. At the end of the clean-up exercise, the Commission will supervise all the operators to conduct Post Impact Assessment (PIA) studies to determine the far-reaching effects of the spills, with a view to restoring all impacted environment as near as possible to their pristine state.
The general public and all stakeholders are hereby assured that the Commission is taking every necessary action to ensure that the spills and associated incidents have the least impact on the affected communities and the environment.
Engr. Gbenga Komolafe
Commission’s Chief Executive
476 total views, 476 views today
My Brain Will Die If…, Singer, Adele Explains Why She Doesn’t Watch “Real Housewives”
British music star, Adele has explained why she doesn’t watch “Real Housewives”.
Sharing her reason while getting her makeup done on the YouTube channel NikkieTutorials on Thursday December 2, the singer stated that she feels her brain will die and she doesn’t know any of the reality show stars.
Adele said; “I know a lot of people love it, but I can’t. My brain will die, I can’t.
“I don’t know who any of them are, so I don’t feel like I can start from the beginning when it’s been on for so long.”
When Host Nikkie de Jager assured Adele that the shows are binge-worthy, she rejected it saying;
“I’m not going to lie, it doesn’t work for me.”
The singer further revealed that she gave “The Real Housewives of New Jersey” a shot, but the arguments were a tad too intense for her liking.
Adele said; “One time I did watch one episode of ‘The Real Housewives of New Jersey’ when they were all like literally killing each other, but it was too much, I was like I can’t, I can’t watch. I rather watch a wildlife program.”
401 total views, 401 views today
Good To Be Working With Sancho, Says Man United Interim Coach, Rangnick
New Manchester United interim boss Ralf Rangnick has revealed he tried to sign Jadon Sancho for RB Leipzig.
He said all his efforts to sign the player when he was 17-year-old failed.
Rangnick addressed the press on Friday after he took over the reins of leadership from Michael Carrick at Old Trafford.
The German said he and his team had held talks with Sancho in a bid to bring him to RB Leipzig but the England team snubbed them and joined rivals Borussia Dortmund instead in 2017.
“Jadon Sancho I knew from the Bundesliga. As a matter of fact, I met him when he was 17 in London.
“We were at the time trying to convince him to come to Leipzig and he decided a couple of months later to go to Dortmund which was not a wrong step from his perspective.”
261 total views, 261 views today
- NUPRC Reiterates Commitment To Tackle Oil Spills
- My Brain Will Die If…, Singer, Adele Explains Why She Doesn’t Watch “Real Housewives”
- Good To Be Working With Sancho, Says Man United Interim Coach, Rangnick
- I’m Desperate To Sign Cavani, Says Xavi
- You’ve Failed Nigerians In All Your Promises, Wike To APC
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