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Opinion: Potentiality Digest: What Do You Owe Yourself?

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By Sulyman Sodeeq Abdulakeem
Life will not change dramatically, except that you will have increased your self-esteem and become a citizen in your own land. You must have patience. You might have to wait five years for results to show” – Nelson Mandela
Life always evolve on the backdrop of inquisition.
Have you ever taken time out to reflect on the fact that before you can lay your hands on what belongs to you in life and claim your portion from what life has to offer you; you have to become indebted to something you will tenaciously and fervently strive to pay?
In other words, you must understand that you are under terms and conditions you must meet before you can be rewarded in life.
It is absolutely true that we all desire recognition; to be acknowledged in life, to be reverred and addressed among those who influenced decisions and events happening around us – or across the world. However, before those wishes become reality, you have to find something that if you can achieve it, it will increase your self-belief, worth, values and transform your perception about life.
Many lives have been wrongly lived, many aspirations have been trapped and many souls have been wrongly led because all they strive to meet up to is the purpose and targets set for them by other people – parents, friends, relatives – instead of setting for themselves goals and targets that would command their interest and drive and stir their sense of self indebtedness.
Like all other persons alive, you may be thinking you deserve the best. You deserve to win the top prizes, to be celebrated for your feats and strides and to champion your breakthroughs. But those wonderful accolades cannot be realised, if you don’t find something that will occupy the central page of your life, with the strong convictions that if you achieve it, it will be the impetus for living in your dream. It was aptly advised by Robin Sharma that “Believe in your dreams, reach for the stars and have the destiny that you know is yours!”
Knowing what you owe yourself don’t only fuel your inner worth, it also ingrain your mind with the clear view of your purpose, goals and dreams which the directions you always set for your life is premised on there actualisation. In your quest to fill what you owe yourself, you may be ridiculed, abused and discouraged by people who don’t believe what has been planted in you. But if you don’t let all those negatives wound your mind, your life becomes the subject of abundance healing.
The true worths of life of the successful men we are cherishing their triumphs and breakthroughs today are not discovered in living here and there in order to appear everywhere; their true worths are discovered in finding somewhere they can fervently lived which will take them everywhere. Gbenga Adebambo said, “In life, the only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be. Destiny is not a matter of chance; it is a matter of choice.”
It was the drive of identifying what you owe yourself that propelled Bayode Treasure-Olawunmi – a brand specialist – to set the new Guinness World Record for the “Longest Marathon Reading Aloud,” in 2018. The record was previously held by Deepak Sharma Barjagain of Nepal, who set his own record marathon reading aloud with 113 hours 15 minutes, in 2008, by reading 17 books from 13 different authors.
But as a book enthusiast, Bayode realised there was a need for him to rewrite the course of history, by raising the voice of the need to encourage the reading culture among the youths. On February 26th 2018, around 1:30 pm, at the YouRead Library at Yaba, Lagos; he started the reading aloud contest that ended around 3:30pm on Saturday, 3rd of March, 2018, which elevated him to become the new champion with 122 hours reading aloud non-stop, and 2 hours break in every 24 hours.
Because Bayode made the sacrifice in of filling what he owes himself, he stands tall and walks on his feet to claim his feat. Because Bayode reignited the passion for reading among the youths, he is now a beacon whose light shines upon other people’s paths and send the message of hope to them. Because Bayode believed he can do it, he is now an advocate and ambassador of purpose, whose name is etched on the walls in gold!
Down be down to earth for the rejections, setbacks and failures you have come across in defining your life, be enliven to make your own definition of your life. Life has something for you that is enclosed somewhere. For you to uncover your own reservoir of riches and wealth and makes you soar in a world you can be proud of, find what you owe yourself! Because Barack Obama knew this secret, he charged us by saying “You have to be determined to meet the time on your own terms.”
Sulyman Sodeeq Abdulakeem is a Librarian, Writer and co-author of the book, “Responsible Living: Live to Fulfill Your Potential.” He can be reached via +2348132226994

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IOCs Plotting the Failure of Our Oil Refinery – Dangote Group

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… Accuses NMDPRA of Supporting Importers of Banned Dirty Diesel, Jet Fuel

Vice President, Oil and Gas at Dangote Industries Limited (DIL), Devakumar Edwin, has accused International Oil Companies (IOCs) in Nigeria of doing everything to frustrate the survival of Dangote Oil Refinery and Petrochemicals. Edwin said the IOCs are deliberately and wilfully frustrating the refinery’s efforts to buy local crude by jerking up high premium price above the market price, thereby forcing it to import crude from countries as far as United States, with its attendant high costs.

Speaking to a group of Energy Editors at a one-day training programme, organised by the Dangote Group, Edwin also lamented the activity of the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA), in granting licences, indiscriminately to marketers to import dirty refined products into the country. He said, “the Federal Government issued 25 licences to build refinery and we are the only one that delivered on promise. In effect, we deserve every support from the Government. It is good to note that from the start of production, more than 3.5 billion litres, which represents 90 per cent of our production, have been exported. We are calling on the Federal Government and regulators to give us the necessary support in order to create jobs and prosperity for the nation.”

According to him: “While the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) are trying their best to allocate the crude for us, the IOCs are deliberately and willfully frustrating our efforts to buy the local crude. It would be recalled that the NUPRC, recently met with crude oil producers as well as refineries owners in Nigeria, in a bid to ensure full adherence to Domestic Crude Oil Supply Obligations (DCSO), as enunciated under section 109(2) of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA). It seems that the IOCs’ objective is to ensure that our Petroleum Refinery fails. It is either they are deliberately asking for ridiculous/humongous premium or, they simply state that crude is not available. At some point, we paid $6 over and above the market price. This has forced us to reduce our output as well as import crude from countries as far as the US, increasing our cost of production…

“It appears that the objective of the IOCs is to ensure that Nigeria remains a country which exports Crude Oil and imports refined Petroleum Products. They (IOCs) are keen on exporting the raw materials to their home countries, creating employment and wealth for their countries, adding to their GDP, and dumping the expensive refined products into Nigeria – thus making us to be dependent on imported products. It is the same strategy the multinationals have been adopting in every commodity, making Nigeria and Sub-Saharan Africa to be facing unemployment and poverty, while they create wealth for themselves at our expense. This is exploitation – pure and simple. Unfortunately, the country is also playing into their hands by continuing to issue import licences, at the expense of our economy and at the cost of the health of the Nigerians who are exposed to carcinogenic products.

“In spite of the fact that we are producing and bringing out diesel into the market, complying with ECOWAS regulations and standards, licences are being issued, in large quantities, to traders who are buying the extremely high sulphur diesel from Russia and dumping it in the Nigerian Market. Since the US, EU and UK imposed a Price Cap Scheme from 5th February, 2023 on Russian Petroleum Products, a large number of vessels are waiting near Togo with Russian ultra-high sulphur diesel and, they are being purchased and dumped into the Nigerian Market.

“In fact, some of the European countries were so alarmed about the carcinogenic effect of the extra high sulphur diesel being dumped into the Nigerian Market that countries like Belgium and the Netherlands imposed a ban on such fuel being exported from its country, into West Africa, recently. It is sad that the country is giving import licences for such dirty diesel to be imported into Nigeria, when we have more than adequate petroleum refining capacity locally…”

It would be recalled that in May, Belgium and Netherland adopted new quality standards to halt the export of cheap, low-quality fuels to West Africa, harmonising its standards with those of the European Union. These measures synchronise fuel export standards with the European domestic market, specifically targeting diesel and petrol with high sulphur and chemical content. Historically, these fuels, with sulphur content reaching up to 10,000 ppm, were exported at reduced rates to countries like Nigeria and other West African consumers.

Belgium’s Minister of Environment, Zakia Khattabi, announced that his country followed the Netherland, which in April 2023 also prohibited the export of low-quality petrol and diesel to West Africa via the ports of Amsterdam and Rotterdam. Khattabi emphasised that the Netherlands’ decision to restrict dirty fuel exports had redirected the trade to Belgium, now used by oil producers and traders to export gasoline with excessively high levels of benzene and sulphur.

“For far too long, toxic fuels have been departing from Belgium to destinations including Africa. They cause extremely poor air quality in countries such as Ghana, Nigeria, and Cameroon and are even carcinogenic,” said Khattabi.

In September 2017, an investigation by an international organisation, Public Eye revealed that polluted and toxic fuels were being exported on a large scale from the ports of Rotterdam and Amsterdam for export to African markets. As much as a quarter of the petrol and diesel available in West Africa originates from the ports of Amsterdam, Rotterdam, and Antwerp. These fuels contain sulphur and other pollutants, such as cancer-causing benzene, in quantities up to 400 times the limits permitted in Europe. The Netherlands and Belgium were enjoined to enforce regulations to shield millions of Africans from exposure to toxic fuels.

The decision of the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA), in granting licenses indiscriminately for the importation of dirty diesel and aviation fuel has made the Dangote refinery to expand into foreign markets. The refinery has recently exported diesel and aviation fuel to Europe and other parts of the world. The same industry players fought us for crashing the price of diesel and aviation fuel, but our aim, as I have said earlier, is to grow our economy.

He noted that because the refinery meets the international standard as well as comply with stringent guidelines and regulations to protect the local environment, it has been able to export its products to Europe and other parts of the world.

While appealing to the Federal Government and the National Assembly to urgently intervene for speedy implementation of the PIA and to ensure the interest of Nigeria and Nigerians are protected, he said: “Recently, the government of Ghana, through legislation has banned the importation of highly contaminated diesel and PMS into their county. It is regrettable that, in Nigeria, import licences are granted despite knowing that we have the capacity to produce nearly double the amount of products needed in Nigeria and even export the surplus. Since January 2021, ECOWAS regulations have prohibited the import of highly contaminated diesel into the region.”

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Tinubu Appoints Yakubu As DG, Budget Office, Drops Akabueze

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President Bola Tinubu has approved the appointment of Mr. Tanimu Yakubu as the Director-General of the Budget Office of the Federation, following the expiration of the tenure of Mr. Ben Akabueze.

This was disclosed in a statement signed by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Ajuri Ngelale, on Thursday.

Yabuku is an accomplished economist and Chief Economic Adviser to a former President from 2007 to 2010; Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria from 2003 to 2007, and Commissioner of Finance, Budget, and Economic Planning in Katsina State from 1999 to 2003.

The new Director-General of the Budget Office of the Federation holds a Master of Business Administration degree in Finance from Wagner College, Staten Island, New York, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics from the same institution.

The statement noted that President Tinubu thanked the outgoing Director-General, Mr. Akabueze, for his services and wished him success in his future endeavours.

“The President expects the new Director-General of this pivotal agency to further enhance the provision of efficient and qualitative budget functions, with a view to promoting fiscal sustainability, transparency, and accountability in public finance management for national development,” it added.

Akabueze was first appointed by former President Muhammadu Buhari as a Special Adviser Planning (SAP) to the President on February 15, 2016, and later redeployed and appointed as DG Budget, June 10, 2016.

Buhari renewed Akabueze’s appointment as the DG of Budget Office in 2020.

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Tinubu Removes Arase As Police Service Commission Chairman, Appoints Argungu

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President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has replaced Solomon Arase as the Chairman of the Police Service Commission (PSC).

Ajuri Ngelale, presidential spokesman, who announced this in a statement on Monday, said DIG Hashimu Argungu (Rtd) is the new chairman of the commission.

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