In his keynote address, – Hobbled Princes – presented at the launch of the book “No Good Deed Goes Unpunished,” in Lagos, yesterday, he said the legislation has many solutions to problems in the industry and region.
Prof. Owens-Ibie, who commended the authors of the book – Jide Ajide, John Ashima, and Oluwole Agunbiade – all former personnel of Chevron Nigeria Limited, expressed hope that the implementation of Nigeria’s Petroleum Industry Act, or PIA, would have a positive impact on the industry and the region.
He said: “In the interim, there is the Petroleum Industry Act, which has its merits and controversies, given the variants of its reception after becoming law.” The business continues in the industry, and whether oil companies as operators should be the villains, or the government, remains in contention.
“Are the interventions of the operators ramifying enough to assure that they are not “punished” for “good deeds”? Who is in a position to judge this complicated reality show of life and death?
“Not everyone will agree that all good deeds have always been punished in the Niger Delta. Such titles are, however, triggers for healthy debates. But the authors may be alluding to the inevitable collateral consequences of the mangled logic of mangrove forests, messy waters, and thriving suspicions.
“Whatever be the case, and although Michael Ross has, through his book, “The Oil Curse,” popularised the ironies spawned by a natural endowment that should be an asset, the oil may indeed have been somewhat of a curse in some instances, but there are those who have shown that oil is a catalyst for productive multipliers. Days from now, Qatar will be hosting the world in moments of frenzy. If oil is a curse, Qatar may not be hosting the best of the world’s footballers in a festival of passion, sliding tackles, mesmerizing moves, brilliant saves, and cliff-hanging moments. If oil is altogether a curse, Dubai, which is in the United Arab Emirates, will not be a travel capital for many tourists, or a destination for those who have acquired property there. When countries like Israel could, out of nothing, become global forces in agriculture, water resource management, and research, among others, Nigeria has no excuse. As a result, the peace requirement for development is foundational and fundamental.
“It is not the absence of problems that makes nations great; it is how well they translate challenges into opportunities. God has done a good deed by blessing Nigeria with resources others cannot imagine having.
“Peace is possible in the Niger Delta, and the day is coming when good deeds will be rewarded, like it happened with Princess Oghogho Omaragbon, the final year mass communication student of Caleb University, Imota, Lagos.”
The book reviewer, Dr. Joshua Suleiman, congratulated the authors, adding, “Despite the heightened omnipresent dangers of today, society carries on. Oil exploration continues. The Niger Delta perseveres. After all, civilization copes, often knowingly, with grim realities. Communities are either in the midst of catastrophic events or are experiencing them at different times due to a variety of circumstances.
“The authors of this book set out to intellectually interrogate the issues of multi-stakeholder relationships that have assailed the Niger Delta region for decades; they sought to objectively juxtapose these concerns with the international oil companies’ efforts at managing them; they vigorously attempted to pursue the facts, and they convincingly canvassed opinions on how best to engage with the depth and complexity of these challenges.”
“The book is spread over 13 chapters. It comes across as an audacious and thrilling account of the events leading up to and during the local people’s fight for justice from the government and international oil companies. The book takes the reader from the Niger Delta’s period of innocence and peaceful coexistence to her emergence as the country’s first president, the region’s crisis in the 1990s, and the present. Whereas the account ends with the Petroleum Industry Act, which seeks to ensure efficient and effective monitoring of the petroleum industry operations by aligning them with the aspirations of the country, the themes that the authors explore will remain strikingly contemporary: the tension between the ethnic groups, dysfunction in the country’s oil sector, and the need for Nigeria as an oil-producing and oil-consuming country to think about the coming transition to a global economy that no longer relies on fossil fuels.”
Speaking at the event, one of the authors, Mr. Oluwole Agunbiade, said the book was their contribution towards tackling issues in the region and the industry.