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Dangote’s 650, 000bpd Refinery: A Breath of Fresh Air

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By Eric Elezuo

All is set for the official unveiling for public use of the ambitious 650, 000 barrel per day refinery built by one of Africa’s finest, Alhaji Aliko Dangote. The refinery is in fulfillment of “Efforts by the Federal Government to make Nigeria self-sufficient in local refining of crude oil to save the scarce foreign exchange used in the importation of petroleum products, according to presidency voice, Bashir Ahmad, who is a special assistant to the president on digital communications.

The Dangote Refinery, by every standard, is the world’s largest single-train refinery, and its inauguration is set for May 22nd, 2023, by President Muhammadu Buhari. This may be one of Buhari’s major official functions in his eightvyears of administration before he leaves office on May 29, 2023.

Gulping a tremendous $19 billion to build, the refinery is located in the Lekki free trade zone area of Lagos state, and for all intent and purpose, is Africa’s biggest oil refinery and the world’s biggest single-train facility. This opening of the refinery is a big kudos to Africa’s billionaire, Aliko Dangote, who milk of human sympathy runs through his veins.

The integrated refinery and petrochemical project, which is expected to generate 9,500 direct and 25,000 indirect jobs, will also have an output more than enough to meet Nigeria’s fuel demands, and turn Africa’s largest crude producer into an exporter of refined crude.

Note that in 2022,  Dangote, chairman of Dangote Group, said his oil refinery would be commissioned before the end of Buhari’s tenure. The consistent billionaire, being a man of his words, has ensured that the promise is fulfilled even seven days to the expiration of the Buhari administration.

IN THE BEGINNING

Aliko Dangote alone knew where he was going when a few days after his 56th birthday in April, 2013, he told the world about his dream of building a refinery in Nigeria.

According to him, the Dangote Petroleum Refinery will be the largest single train petroleum refinery in the world with a capacity to refine 650,000 barrels of crude daily and employ thousands of Nigerians directly and indirectly.

Located in the Lekki Free Trade Zone, in Ibeju-Lekki, Lagos State, the facility covers a land area of approximately 2,635 hectares which is six times the size of the famous Victoria Island.

Every one knows that to finance this kind of project was not going to be easy, but Dangote’s track record of business excellence did the magic.

This much was revealed along with the financing model at the signing ceremony of the first tranche of loan secured for the Refinery. This was a $3.3 billion term loan facility supported by a consortium of 12 local and international banks. The loan facility was jointly coordinated by Standard Chartered Bank as the Global Coordinator, and Guaranty Trust Bank Plc as the Local Coordinator.

At the ceremony, President/Chief Executive of Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote said: “This plant will further entrench Africa’s role on the global map as not only a valued contributor for natural resources, but also a competent manufacturer of refined products and fertilizer. As a result, several African nations will be less reliant on importing fuel and fertilizer from foreign markets, reducing the negative impact of negotiating terms within increasingly turbulent international markets.”

“We will end up spending between $12 billion to $14 billion. The funding is going to come through equity, commercial bank loans, export credit agencies and developmental banks,” Dangote noted.

He added, “We have done the numbers and we are sure of numbers. This is a project that will redefine the sector”

Also speaking, CEO of Standard Chartered Bank in Nigeria, Ms. Bola Adesola, added: “Standard Chartered is proud to support the Dangote Group in a project which will significantly boost Nigeria’s economic productivity and create valuable jobs with specialist skills from key growth sectors. This project is an historic example of self-empowerment and leadership for the continent as a whole – and is made possible through effective partnerships between the Nigerian private sector, Government and international financial institutions. Standard Chartered remains committed to being here for good in Nigeria, and the region.”

And for Mr. Segun Agbaje, Managing Director of Guaranty Trust Bank Plc, “This landmark project reinforces Dangote’s commitment to the development of the Nigerian economy. We are proud to be associated with Dangote on this transaction and this demonstrates the bank’s commitment to supporting the development of the agriculture and oil and gas industries.”

That was not all, Dangote also signed a loan of $650 million from the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), $300 million loan from the African Development Bank and $997.4 million in training grant from the United States Trade and Development Agency for 100 of its staff.

With the funds to kick off in place, Dangote then had to seek partners that will help the dream become a reality.

According to a report by Businessday, India state-owned firm, Engineers India Limited was contracted to provide project management consultancy (PMC) services, as well as engineering, procurement and construction management (EPCM) for the Nigerian refinery, US-based Honeywell UOP was contracted for the supply of catalyst regeneration and dryer regeneration control systems, column trays, heat exchanger tubes, a modular CCR unit, and catalyst coolers among other equipment, C&I Leasing was contracted to provide transportation and installation services for mooring systems and subsea pipelines of the refinery, Hang Xiao Steel Structure Company is to provide steel structure and Jan De Nul Group was engaged for carrying out land reclamation works.

Furthermore, MAN Diesel & Turbo was contracted for supplying two compressor trains, Air Liquide Engineering & Construction was contracted for supplying the SMR units.

Fabtech (18 columns), Schneider Electric (process automation systems), SOFEC (Catenary Anchor Leg Mooring buoys), and WABAG (raw water treatment plant) and Still Earth Construction were also part of the contractors on the project.

Thus, work began in earnest and so when the Publisher of The Boss, Dele Momodu, Billionaire businessman, Femi Otedola visited the Refinery sometimein 2021, they were astounded at the amount of work that had been done.

BENEFITS OF THE REFINERY AT A GLANCE

The Dangote Petroleum Refinery has the capacity to meet 100% of the Nigerian requirement of all refined products (Gasoline, 57 million litres per day; Diesel, 27 litres per day; Kerosene, 11 million litres per day and Aviation Jet, 9 million litres per day) and also have surplus of each of these products for export.

The 400 MW Power Plant in the Refinery alone will be able to meet the total power requirement of Ibadan DisCo of 860,316 MWh covering five States including Oyo, Ogun, Osun, Kwara and Ekiti.  A Captive Power plant comprising three Steam Turbine Generators of 40 MW capacity each, making a Total of 120 MW is also part of the package.

In addition, the Refinery will create market for $11 billion per annum of Nigerian Crude. Interestingly, the facility is designed for 100% Nigerian Crude with flexibility to process other crudes. Of course, its strategically located marine infrastructure for Crude receipts & product trade is an added advantage.

Also part of this humongous project is the Dangote Fertilizer Plant which will have two of the World’s Largest Fertilizer Trains – Three Million Tonnes per Annum capacity at 1.5m per train. It is bigger than the 1.4 million tonnes per annum of the former champion, Indorama Fertilizer Limited.

The Fertilizer Project is the largest Granulated Urea Fertilizer complex coming up in the entire fertilizer industry history in the world, with an investment of $2 Billion (Two billion US Dollars).

The Fertilizer from this plant will be channeled into growing the local agriculture sector which is essential in producing healthy crops and promoting Nigeria and West Africa’s agricultural development. The Petrochemical plant will also produce Polypropylene which is a common component of most plastic and fabric products.

In other to ensure that this facility is first-rate, the company has deployed the most advanced technology and bench marks itself with the best standards in the world.

For example, Dangote Refinery has the biggest single-train facility used for refining crude. The atmospheric equipment which was manufactured by Sinopec company in China, is the primary unit processor of crude oil into fuels.

Capt Rajen Sacher, Head, Maritime and Ports Infrastructure of Dangote said the equipment weighs 2250MT; Length, 112.5m; Width, 14.036m; and Height, 13.752m. The above-mentioned weight does not include the weight of the internal trays which is approx. 536 MT.”

He said that the crude oil processor took 14 months in construction by Sinopec company in China and eight weeks to be brought down to Nigeria.

“Dangote refinery also invested heavily in dredging the sea from the refinery to Apapa for easy passage of the vessel,” he said. The piece of equipment which has the length of a soccer field, has the weight of 320 large elephants.

It was because of this and other heavy duty equipment called Out of Dimension that the company had to construct a special jetty which has made its work easier.

Talking of construction of its structures, the concrete for piling, residual catalytic cracking sub-structure, pavement plant areas, building in plant and non-plant areas and roads and drains have been carefully crafted to ensure maximum fortification.

It currently has the largest ready mix concrete production facility in the world. At thickness of 9 inches, 16 metres wide, the concrete required for the Refinery project is enough to pave the entire Federal Roads in Lagos (720KM).

In terms of providing employment, the Dangote Refinery has employed over 10,000 Nigerian personnel on site, with employment by the various contractors and subcontractors at the site reaching 7,500. The current ratio of Nigerians to Expatriates is 93% Nigerians to 7% Expats.

Apart from creating employment, Dangote is also passionate about technology transfer to Nigerians.

In this regard, a total of 900 Nigerian Engineers are being trained in design, engineering and design of the refinery. There are currently other Engineers currently under-going training.

Furthermore, the company recently completed the training of 200 artisans selected from the host communities in the areas of Masonry, Carpentry, AC Electricians, Plumbing, Welders, Iron-benders and Auto Mechanics. This was achieved in collaboration with the Nigerian Directorate of Employment and Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board.

MORE FACT-CHECKS OF THE REFINERY 

Now concluded and ready for commissioning, here are facts that bestrides the invincibility of the project

• World Class Project
• The Dangote Petroleum Refinery is located in the in Ibeju-Lekki, Lagos, covering a land area of approximately 2,635 hectares (seven times the size of Victoria Island.)
• World’s Largest Single-Train 650,000 barrels per day Petroleum Refinery with 900 KTPA Polypropylene Plant.
• The 435 MW Power Plant in the Refinery alone will be able to meet the total power requirement of Ibadan DisCo of 860,316 MWh covering five States including Oyo, Ogun, Osun, Kwara and Ekiti.
• Dangote Petroleum Refinery can meet 100% of the Nigerian requirement of all refined products (Gasoline, 53 million litres per day; Diesel, 34 litres per day; Kerosene, 10 million litres per day and Aviation Jet, 2 million litres per day) and also have surplus of each of these products for export.
• Designed for 100% Nigerian Crude with flexibility to process other crudes.
• Self-sufficient Marine facility with ability for freight optimization. Largest single order of 5 SPMs anywhere in the world.
• Diesel & Gasoline Products from the refinery will conform to Euro V specifications.
• The refinery design complies to World Bank, US EPA, European emission norms and Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) emission / effluent norms.
• State- of- the- art technology.
• Designed to process large variety of crudes including many of the African Crudes, some of the Middle Eastern Crudes and the US Light Tight Oil.
• Dangote Petroleum Refinery can meet 100% of the Nigerian requirement of all liquid products (Gasoline, Diesel, Kerosene & Aviation Jet) and also would have surplus of each of these products for export.
• 65 Million Cubic Metres of Sand dredged costing approx. Euros 300 Million , using the world’s largest, the second largest and the tenth largest dredgers to elevate the height by 1.5 metres, to insure against any potential impact of increase in mean sea level due to global warming.
• Bought over 1,209 units of various equipment to enhance the local capacity for site works since even the biggest local civil contractors are unable to handle even small portions of our construction requirement.
• Bought 332 cranes to build up equipment installation capacity since the current capacity in Nigeria is extremely poor.
• Built the world’s largest granite quarry to supply coarse aggregate, stone column material, stone base, stone dust & material for break water. (10 million tonnes per year production capacity).
• Developed a port and constructed two quays with a load bearing capacity of 25 tonnes/ sq meter to bring Over Dimensional Cargoes close to the site directly.
• Constructed two more quays in the port with a capacity to handle up to Panamax vessels to export the fertiliser and the petrochemicals and two quays to handle liquid cargoes. The port will thus have 6 quays, including a Roll-on/Roll-off quay.
• In the course of the civil works, some days 700 piles were drilled daily, and the total number of piles came to 250,000.
• It has 177 tanks of 4.742 billion litre capacity.
• Total tanker loading of 2,900. This number is based on tanker capacity of 33KL.
• Dangote is one of the few companies in the world executing a Petroleum Refinery and a Petrochemical complex directly as an Engineering, Procurement, and Construction (EPC) Contractor. Globally, apart from three companies, no individual owner has done the complete EPC Contract for a Petroleum Refinery.
• Temporary housing units on the premises can house 33,000 persons.
• The project utilised the coordination of various local and international suppliers and the coordination of multi-cultural work teams.
• The Dangote Refinery Plant is a legacy project that will see Nigeria netting 21 billion dollars per annum.
• Training of 900 young engineers in refinery operations outside the country. Another six Mechanical Engineers trained in the GE University in Italy. 50 Process engineers trained by Honeywell/UOP for six months; 50 Management Trainees; secondment for succession.

ALIKO DANGOTE, BRAIN BEHIND THE PROJECT 

For the President of the Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, and his multifaceted group, playing second fiddle has never been an option. Both the enterprise and the entrepreneur have maintained market leadership.

Since 2014, when Forbes magazine named him the world’s 23rd billionaire, jumping 20 spots on the scale from his previous 43rd position among the elite club of the world’s richest people. Aliko Dangote has not looked back, winning back to back the accolade among African billionaires, and never slipping from the world ranking.

The name Dangote is synonymous with consistency. He is a businessman, who understands that no man rest on his oars if turnovers have to continue to turn over. With mark differentiation, he has demystified the business terrain, and proved that if it can be done, then it must done. His establishment of the humongous fertilizer and sugar plants and the ambitious refinery in Lekki, Lagos, Nigeria, are testimonies of the trajectory of one who knows his onions.

Worth over $13.4 by the latest Forbes ranking, the entrepreneur extraordinaire has the following points to his name:

  • Aliko Dangote founded and chairs Dangote Cement, the continent’s largest cement producer.
  • He owns 85% of publicly-traded Dangote Cement through a holding company.
  • Dangote Cement has the capacity to produce 48.6 million metric tons annually and has operations in 10 countries across Africa.
  • After many years in development, Dangote’s fertilizer plant in Nigeria began operations in mid-2021.
  • Dangote Refinery has been completed and is expected to be one of the world’s largest oil refineries once complete.

The above and many has remained the factors that have made it easy for the billionaire to remain among the world’s money men, and occupies a pride of place among African businessmen. Little wonder he is one of the few recipients of the GCON national honours reserved for top politicians of vice president ranking and top government appointees. He has never been any of the above.

In 2021, his 3.0 million metric tonnes of Urea per annum Dangote Fertiliser Plant, sited at the Dangote Industries Free Zone, Ibeju Lekki, was commissioned. During his speech, at The Fertiliser Complex, which occupies 500 hectares, and built at a cost of $2.5 Billion, Dangote had the following to say in his much sought after humility:

“The commissioning of this Fertiliser Plant is historic. It marks the official opening of the largest Granulated Urea Fertiliser Complex in Africa. The new plant will make Nigeria self-sufficient in fertiliser production, with excess capacity to export to other markets in Africa and the rest of the world. Our products have already reached the markets some African countries, the USA, Brazil, India and Mexico.

“It is an ambitious developmental project, which will drastically reduce the level of unemployment and youth restiveness in this country, through generation of direct and indirect employment. Agriculture accounts for over 20 per cent of Nigeria’s GDP, and the country is a leading producer of various agricultural commodities. The sector has the potential of becoming the biggest source of income for our Nation, providing employment and raw materials for industries. However, low fertilizer usage has been a major reason for low productivity in the sector.

Halimat , Zainab & Fatimah Dangote

“It is common knowledge that non-availability of the product, in quantity and quality, rather than affordability, is the primary constraint to the use of fertilizer.

“Our goal is to make fertiliser available in sufficient quantities and quality for our teeming farmers assuring greater agricultural output. To help realise this potential, we are rolling out initiatives that will transform the agricultural sector, including extension services for small and medium scale farmers. We have also established well-equipped soil-testing laboratories to ensure that the appropriate fertiliser blends are applied to specific soil and/or crop types. This will boost productivity, enhancing output across the Nation.

“Our continuous efforts to innovate, create value and invest in Nigeria are borne out of our firm belief in the vast economic potential of our dear country. This has also informed our desire to continue with our investment strategy, with a focus on driving import substitution, ensuring that we increase local production to achieve self-sufficiency, and even export excess production.”

He proved that his entrepreneurial skills are not just geared towards uplifting him as a person, but to create an enabling environment for the Nigeria youth and child to grow and development in an environment he can proudly co-own. His vision is practically for the greater good of the world, and Nigeria in particular.

Born in Kano in 1957, Dangote has paid his dues, and mankind is the better for it.

The ALIKO DANGOTE FOUNDATION AND IMPACTS 

Aliko Dangote Foundation (ADF) is the private charitable foundation of Alhaji Aliko Dangote. Incorporated in 1994, as Dangote Foundation, with the mission to enhance opportunities for social change through strategic investments that improve health and wellbeing, promote quality education, and broaden economic empowerment opportunities. 20 years later, the Foundation has become the largest private Foundation in sub-Saharan Africa, with the largest endowment by a single African donor.

The primary focus of ADF is child nutrition, with wraparound interventions centered on health, education and empowerment, and disaster relief. The Foundation also supports stand-alone projects with the potential for significant social impact.

The Foundation works with state and national governments and many highly reputable international and domestic charities, non-governmental organizations and international agencies to advance its humanitarian agenda.

In one of its biggest collaboration to date, Aliko Dangote Foundation started working in partnership with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and key northern State Governments in Nigeria from 2013 to eradicate polio and strengthen routine immunization in Nigeria.

His commitment to the health and wellbeing of the world is second to none, and it is on record that his CSR in the health sector has transcended numerals. The ADF, beyond the health sector, has made landmark achievements in the field of education, where it has affected the development of educational infrastructures of many tertiatiary institutions including Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria; Bayero University Kano; Kano State University of Science & Technology, Wudil and University of Ibadan. The construction of a N1.2 Billion Dangote Business School, Bayero University Kano, Kano State, construction of a N1.2 Billion Dormitories in Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Kaduna State, construction of Dormitories and provision of power supply to Kano University of Science and Technology, Wudil, Kano State at the cost of N500 Million, construction of Dormitories in Crescent University, Abeokuta, Ogun State, and construction of Aliko Dangote Complex within the premises of University of Ibadan Business School, Ibadan, Oyo State, are just few examples.

Additionally, the ADF has engaged in Economic Empowerment at various levels through the Aliko Dangote Foundation Micro-grant programme, which is a N10 Billion national programme, launched in 2011, and designed to provide a N10,000 one-off grant to at least 1,000 vulnerable women, and in some cases, youths, in each of the 774 LGAs across Nigeria.

Worthy of praise is the fact that for the past seven years, the Foundation has spent over N7 Billion in the course of feeding, clothing and the general welfare of the Internally Displaced Persons in the Northeast. Dangote’s efforts at providing relief has drawn a lot of accolades.

Aliko Dangote Foundation was there in 2014 to help the government to contain the Ebola virus outbreak as well as when there ethnic crisis in Ife in 2017.

Rightly addressed as an international philanthropist, Dangote’s interventions are felt across the world. Some of the are building and equipping of Children’s hospital in Abidjan, Grand Heart Foundation – Chad, ONE Campaign, Emergency response to meningitis outbreak in Niger Republic, Donation of mobile clinics to serve 5 counties in Kenya, Emergency response to victims of earthquake in Nepal, Global Business Coalition for Education, and Sustainable Development Goal – Center for Africa – Rwanda.

MORE CSRs BY THE DANGOTE GROUP 

To make his host communities feel at ease, and the impact of his presence, Dangote has embarked on an initiative to provide further support to improving educational systems in Ibeju-Lekki and Epe locality. The educational support initiative is a tripartite programme consisting of scholarship, capacity building for teachers and school infrastructure projects.

In addition, Scholarships have been awarded to 52 secondary school students whilst some financial support was provided to their parents and/or guardians. Tertiary students will be included in the next batch of the scheme.

Furthermore, about 100 teachers, principals and school administrators were trained in teaching techniques for the 21st century. After which they were monitored in class on how they were using the skills acquired.

Still on education, the company plans to renovate existing structures, building new schools, donating school furniture and equipment etc. This component of the education support initiative is on the verge of taking off.

Already, it has constructed a block of 6 classrooms with restroom facilities and staff rooms. This was handed over at a formal ceremony in December 2020.

Youth development was also an area it took seriously. 400 local youths have been trained in two batches of 200 beneficiaries per batch. They are being trained on acquiring vocational skills such as plumbing, masonry, welding, iron bending, auto mechanics and electrical works. First batch of trainees graduated in September 2020 and some of them have been engaged; 2nd batch of trainees will graduate in February 2021.

There is hardly any sector that has not felt the milk of human kindness running through Aliko Dangote; the military, media, politics, governments across boards and more.

As at today, there is no space for slowing down for Dangote as he continues to trudge on, creating firsts after first for himself and for humanity. He is blessed with three wonderful daughters, who have followed the rewarding footprints of entrepreneurship.

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Africa Celebrates Dele Momodu at 64

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By Eric Elezuo

Africans of different creed and status defied the heavy downpour in Lagos, Nigeria, on Thursday to grace the 64th birthday celebration of foremost journalist, Aare Dele Momodu, at the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA) Victoria Island, Lagos.

 

The momentous gathering of prolific Nigerians and diplomatic citizens, was also an opportunity to debut the Dele Momodu Leadership Lecture Series, where the issue of Nigeria’s electricity crisis was in the front burner. The Lecture, which was themed The Politics of Energy and the Way Forward, was taken by a former Minister of Science and Technology, and Power, Prof Bartholomew Nnaji. He was assisted by the intellectual community comprising former governors of Anambra, Cross River and Kano states in the person’s of Mr. Peter Obi, Mr. Donald Duke and Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso among others.

The who’s who of the Nigeria’s political terrain, traditional institutions and entrepreneurial investments, started arriving the venue as early as 10am amid a torrential downpour, which rendered connecting roads unusable. But men, women, family members, colleagues, media organisations and the general public, all maneuvered their way to the venue for the love of one man, who has given so much for the unity and progress of the Nigerian nation, and to a great extent the African continent.

Anchored by another veteran journalist, who is Arise News presenter, Dr. Reuben Abati, the show lived up to expectations, providing insights and solutions to the perennial challenges of power in Nigeria.

Kickstarting the intelligent discourse, as the lecture was nicknamed, the man of the moment, whose impact goes before him in the areas of mentorship, humanitarian display and classic exposure of budding talents, Chief (Dr.) Dele Momodu, took the centre stage for a welcome address that spoke volumes and set the stage for the immaculate words that proceded from the oratorial abilities of guests invited.

In his remarks, the Chairman, Ovation Media Group, the pivot through which the evergreen Ovation Magazine, the world famous The Boss Newspaper and the must-watch Ovation Television, revolve, took the guests on a trip down memory lane, revealing the circumstances that gave birth to the Dele Momodu Leadership Lecture Series, with its inaugural edition on his 64th birthday.

Noting that the nation had become a laughing stock as its power sector has consistently been on a reverse gear, and every other thing, a heap of infrastructure decay, Momodu informed that rebuilding the sector for maximum efficiency is possible. He described the NIIA structure as Nigeria’s own Chatham House, lamenting that it had been abandoned.

“This is the bastion of Intellectual diplomacy, and home…,” Momodu said of the NIIA.

He expressed his appreciation to all the notable guests, who have come from across Africa, to fashion a permanent solution to the perennial power crisis, including the former President of Ghana, Dr. John Dramani Mahama, who served as the Chairmanof the occasion; the Ooni of Ife, Oba Enitan Ogunwusi, Ojaja II; former governors of Anambra, Cross River, and Kano states, Mr. Peter Obi, Mr. Donald Duke and Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso; the Osun State Governor, Senator Ademola Adeleke; the Director General of the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA), Professor Eghosa Osaghae; and a former Minister of Power, Prof Bartholomew Nnaji, who was the guest lecturer among many others.

“I can’t thank you all enough for this massive show of love, and pray that God will visit each of us as we contribute to this rewarding discourse,” Momodu said.

In his opening remarks, the Chairman of the event, former President of the Republic of Ghana, Dr John Dramani Mahama, lauded the efforts of Dele Momodu, who he described as a loyal friend, and the Nigerian nation, and invited Nigerian industrialists to consider investing in Ghana’s energy sector.

In his major lecture, which kicked off shortly after, the guests lecturer, Prof Nnaji, reminded the audience that Nigeria possesses all it takes to achieve a vibrant energy and power sector, adding that the President Bola Tinubu government must, as a matter of urgency, declare a state of emergency on the power sector to enable a smooth and immediate restoration of the good old days.

The Chairman, Geometric Power Limited, who just commissioned a power station in Aba, Abia State, noted that a state of emergency needs to be declared in the gas sector as this declaration will save the power sector and allow the government and other stakeholders to address fundamental issues in the sector in a robust manner.

“The issues will include how to strike a healthy balance between producing gas for export and gas for domestic consumption. Gas is equally needed in both markets.

“There is not enough natural gas or even liquefied petroleum gas used in the kitchen. Even the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas company, a major foreign exchange earner that also has a guaranteed market, has been operating at 60% capacity on account of insufficient gas supply.

“The petroleum companies supplying gas to power-generating companies are in a tighter position. Because they are performing sub-optimally, there are now longer periods of electricity blackouts throughout the country. This is despite the spirited efforts of the NNPCL, the Ministry of Power and the Presidency,” he said.

BELOW IS A FULL TEXT OF PROF NNAJI’S SPEECH

PROTOCOLS:

Your Excellency, John Dramani Mahama, Former President of Ghana,

Your Excellency, Chief Ademola Adeleke, Governor of Osun State

Aare Dele Momodu, Chairman of Ovation Group

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen
Gentlemen of the Press

I plead your indulgence to rest on already established protocol as we say here in Nigeria.

Let me start by congratulating my friend and brother, Aare Dele Momodu, Chairman of Ovation Group for joining us on the “6th floor.” Though you have many years to live on this floor, you have managed to pack so many accomplishments on your journey up the various floors to this one. Your friends, family, and I are wishing a life of happiness, prosperity and good health to you as you climb to the rest of the floors that the Almighty may grant you.

You have always been a man of great character, not prone to bend to the whims and caprices of our nation’s powers. I recall how you gallantly chose me as 2012 Man of the Year even though I had resigned as Minister of Power the previous August. You asked the then Governor of Rivers State, Rt. Hon Rotimi Amaechi to come all the way from PH to make the presentation to me in early 2013. Such act stands you out as someone who looks beyond the chatter of our impious politics in what you do. God bless you.

1. The modern global economy runs on energy. Contemporary geopolitics are shaped by energy. For instance, it is wondered whether the United States of America would have risked the lives of thousands of its troops and spent so much financial resource on rescuing Kuwait from the vice grip of the Iraqi president, Saddam Hussein if the little desert nation with a sparse population had not been full of petroleum. This speculation is important because when Saddam Hussein moved into Kuwait on 8 August 1989 and occupied it which caused pandemonium throughout the globe, Liberia was about to start a descent into anarchy. Liberia is not just another country; it was an American colony created for freed African slaves. Its capital, Monrovia, is named for the fifth American president, James Monroe (1817-1825), widely remembered for the Monroe Doctrine that the American Hemisphere should be treated as the American backyard; the doctrine precludes outsiders from meddling in affairs around the United States. Yet, Washington ignored the chaos and anarchy in Liberia that started on December 24, 1989, when Charles Taylor led his National Patriotic Front of Liberia to launch a war from the Nimba County that shares border with Ivory Coast. Nigeria was compelled, as the Giant of Africa, to not only move its troops—army, navy, and air force—into Liberia but also spend a fortune on the country under the auspices of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). I understand that at the end of the war, Nigeria lost about 1,000 officers and soldiers, that is, a whole battalion, and also spent some eight billion dollars on the ECOMOG operations.

2. Now, let us move away from events of the 1990s and the wars. Let us reflect on international events of the last couple of years, concerning energy. The West, particularly Western Europe, has been mounting a relentless campaign for cleaner energy. It wants the world to embrace solar, wind, and other forms of renewable energy like hydropower. It has been asking mostly developing nations to abandon coal in particular, referring to it as the greatest environmental pollutant through carbon emission. It has even added natural gas to the list of fuels that should be banned to make the world limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Centigrade by 2030, as required by the Paris Accord on Climate Change of 2015.

Self-Interest Looms Large

3. Something dramatic was to happen in 2022. Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, European nations imposed a series of sanctions on Russia; Moscow, in return, took punitive actions against the West. Western countries like Germany which depended largely on gas imports from Russia began to feel the pinch. Germany, the largest European economy, decided to revive coal-fired plants that it had resolved, under Angela Merkel, to close down. Though there were no imminent threats of power shortages in Germany, Berlin chose to reverse its policy on coal plants rather than risk in any way the chance of its people suffering any form of electricity crisis.

4. Germany was not alone. The United Kingdom, which had prided itself on shutting down its coal-fired power plants and on building large windfarms, decided to resuscitate its coal plants. Why? It didn’t want its citizens to suffer the 2022 heatwave unduly.

5. A similar scenario emerged in France the same year. Faced with winter which could hurt its people, Paris chose to extend the lifespans of its coal-fired plants. Though electricity from coal was responsible for only 0.6% of national electricity production, the French government had to extend the lifespans of coal-fired plants just to protect its people. This is the country where 196 states, including Vatican City, signed the famous Paris Accord on Climate Change under the United Nations auspices!

6. The United States is proud that several of its coal-fired plants have been decommissioned. Coal used to account for 50% of America’s electricity, but the figure has now reduced to about 17.8% and it is expected that it may decline to 4% by 2030. Environmentalists are delighted at the rapid decline. But it would appear that the decline has not been driven by as much commitment to environmental protection as by economics, even though the Joe Biden administration has a special envoy on climate change. It is easier and cheaper to run a natural gas-fired plant than a coal-fired one, thanks to enhanced shale gas production and other issues. In fact, fossil fuels make up 60% of the total fuel to power since gas contributes more than 42% of fuel to power in America.

7. The Donald Trump administration used to celebrate the ubiquity of coal all over the United States; its affordability; the convenience of its storage and use; the ease of its transportation; its generous use by steel, aluminium, and cement manufacturers; its extensive use by railway firms; the millions of American workers who depended on it; its host communities; several American businesses that relied on it directly and indirectly; and its key role in America’s industrial history.

8. There is something that we should know from the Americans as they deactivate their coal plants: a great concern for the common good. The United States Department of Energy has been looking for ways to fill the gap created by the declining coal plants. It thinks that converting the coal plants to nuclear plants will result in additional $275m annually in economic activities in the host community. It wants the affected coal plants replaced by nuclear power plants. This is to ensure that the electricity workers retain their jobs, and the host communities remain economically active. There is the argument that re-purposing the plants from coal-fired to nuclear will reduce the cost of building brand new stations by 35%. A nuclear plant requires a fraction of the fuel needed by, say, a coal plant to produce the same amount of power. But its waste water is dangerous and the primary raw material used for nuclear energy is uranium, which is mined and, therefore, constitutes environmental degradation.

9. Of course, it is not only nations that have displayed self-interests in the dialogue over fossil fuels. Take the case of five Superstar oil and gas companies, Shell, Exxon Mobil, TotalEnergies, Chevron, and British Petroleum. Well, Exxon-Mobil and Chevron did not claim to be as committed to cleaner energy as their European counterparts. Shell, under Ben van Beurden’s leadership, tried to sell itself as a leader in the vanguard of the campaign for clean energy and paid a price for it. While it was posting huge profits, its stock performance on the exchanges was flat, unlike those of Chevron and ExxonMobil. Investors were not sure whether Shell was an oil and gas firm or one dealing in renewables.

10. All this changed with the assumption of office of Wael Sawan, the Lebanese-Canadian, as its chief executive in January 2023. Sawan has left no one in doubt that his loyalty in not to environmentalists but to shareholders. Shell has resumed heavy investments in oil and gas. It has reduced its climate ambitions by scaling down its goal of reducing the net carbon intensity of its energy products from 20% to 15 % by 2030. Its investments in renewables came down from $3.5 billion in 2022 to $2.7 billion in 2023.

11. Shell is not alone. The other British superpower petroleum company, BP, has taken similar steps. Its investments in low-carbon energy are seven times less than its investments in fossil fuels while those of Shell are five times lower. TotalEnergies of France in April of 2023 announced a reduction of its climate ambitions from 35%-40% in emissions in 2030 to 20%30% the same period.

12. The Shell CEO has an interesting explanation for the new ongoing huge investments in oil and gas by the petroleum majors: the world needs energy security. I believe he really meant the Western nations.

Overlooked Facts

13. Renewable energy has been marketed as the silver bullet to climate change. Many are, therefore, under the impression that there are no environmental issues with electric vehicles, solar panels, solar batteries, windfarms, dams, etc. They are in error. Electric cars, for instance, are expensive. Tesla vehicle prices range from $40,240 to $47,240, though Elon Musk, rattled by cheaper EVs from China like those from BYD, is working on producing more affordable models. What is more, there are not enough Supercharger networks in the United States. To worsen matters, other electric cars could not recharge at Tesla’s facilities until recently.

14. Solar panels and batteries do not charge at night. This adds to the deficit of high costs, especially in poor nations. However, these deficiencies are hardly mentioned in the mainstream Western media. It is like a windfarm that works only when there is considerable wind, but this inadequacy is scarcely discussed.

15. A critical raw material used in the production of solar panels and batteries is lithium-ion. It is a mineral like coal or crude oil. It is mined. The process of extracting it is environmentally hazardous. But no-one talks about it.

16. In Chile where it is produced more than in any other country, nearby rivers have been polluted. Protests by the citizens against pollution have been met by brute force by security agents, violating the rights and dignity of the people. In the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), where cobalt, copper, and lithium-ion are produced massively, there are human rights abuses on an industrial scale. There is also child labour, in addition to other forms of labour exploitation. The beneficiaries are mostly Western multinationals. The DRC Government towards the end of April 2024, hired the services of a team of French lawyers to write to Apple Corporation, the American technology giant, accusing it of benefitting from illegal actions in the eastern part of the country where lithium-ion, and copper used in the manufacture of electronic gadgets like smart phones and solar panels as well as batteries are mined. Rebels are active in this part of the DRC.

17. In New York State where the government plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2030 and by 85% by 2050 from the 1990 levels through solar and wind power, there have been protests against the conversion of farmlands to solar and wind farms. There have also been protests against the destruction of biodiversity and the habitat generally.

Conference of Parties (COP) 28

18. The most difficult and controversial issue deliberated on at the Conference of Parties, better known as COP 28, which was held in Dubai from 30 November to 13 December 2023, was the fate of fossil fuels. At the end of the deliberations, participants agreed on a shift that would “happen in a just, orderly, and equitable manner”. No date or timeline was given, but it was provided that developing economies, particularly those that depend on fossil fuels, be assisted. In doing so, the level of development and poverty of each country would be taken into consideration.

19. Much as the agreement and wording of the resolutions are considered a win-win for those who wanted an immediate ban on fossil fuels and those opposed to the idea completely, it is often wondered whether the participants could have taken a realistically different position. The world needs environmental protection, but the world just cannot do without fossil fuels at this point. As experience has demonstrated in the last two years, European nations that have been in the forefront for clean energy found themselves returning to coal-fired plants when their interests were threatened in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine two years ago.

20. The United States relies on fossil fuels substantially. China, India, Japan, Russia, and others still rely on traditional fuels. Only a handful of nations like Greece, Spain, and Portugal have crossed the clean energy line. At the G-7 meeting of ministers responsible for the environment, climate, and energy held in Turin, Italy, on April 30, 2024, it was agreed that coal plants would be phased out among these nations by 2035, but the participants were realistic enough to provide that those which could not meet the target should be allowed to continue to use coalfired plants on condition that it would not compromise their commitment to bring down global warming to 1.5 degrees Centigrade by 2030.

21. It is unlikely that Japan can afford to stop using coal by 2035. Germany has set a 2030 deadline, but there is no guarantee it will make it. The G-7 member nations that campaigned for the phasing out of coal plants by 2035 are those which have already abandoned coal plants or use them minimally. In other words, what the world saw at the recent G-7 ministers meeting in Italy is self-interest everywhere and becoming the “big elephant in the room” This fact should not be lost on the Nigerian people and their government.

Home Energy Politics

22. The primary responsibility of every government is to its people, their welfare, and their security. This point is worth reiterating because Nigeria seems to pay more attention to gas exports than the domestic gas market because of the prospects of huge foreign exchange earnings, which the country needs desperately. Gas producers naturally prefer to export their products because their domestic prices are regulated, subsidized, and sold below the world market value. Besides, those who supply gas to (privatized) power-generating firms are typically owed huge amounts for long periods.

23. The Trans Sahara Gas Pipeline is being constructed with a pipeline measuring 46-56 inches in diameter so that it can carry 30 billion cubic metres of natural gas from Nigeria to Europe through North Africa. One or two cynics have wondered in recent times how sustainable the project may be in the long run. This is because Europeans have been at the forefront of the campaign against all forms of fossil fuels, including natural gas. Will they still purchase Nigeria’s natural gas if they should find adequate alternatives?

24. As Nigeria plans to embark on massive export of its natural gas, the country is facing severe gas shortages at home. When the General Sani Abacha military regime intervened in Sierra Leone in the 1990s under the ECOWAS rubric to flush out the new military regime and restore democratic rule there, Nigeria was described by a section of the international community as a country that was exporting what it did not have, democracy, but importing what it ought to have in abundance, namely, petroleum products. This description may well fit the gas sector today. Nigeria has 206.53 trillion cubic feet of untapped gas reserves; the estimated recoverable gas is 139.4 TCF. It is one of the world’s leading gas countries.

25. Yet, there is not enough natural gas or even liquefied petroleum gas used in the kitchen. Even the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas company, a major foreign exchange earner that also has a guaranteed market, has been operating at 60% capacity on account of insufficient gas supply.

26. The petroleum companies supplying gas to power-generating companies are in a tighter position. Because they are performing sub optimally, there are now longer periods of electricity blackouts throughout the country. This is despite the spirited efforts of the NNPCL, the Ministry of Power and the Presidency.

27. A state of emergency needs to be declared in the gas sector. The declaration will save the power sector and allow the government and other stakeholders to address fundamental issues in the gas sector in a robust manner. The issues will include how to strike a healthy balance between producing gas for export and gas for domestic consumption. Gas is equally needed in both markets.

28. Another critical area in Nigeria’s power sector is the transmission network. Having one national grid that is structured in the way ours is; for a nation of over 200 million cannot be defended. To make matters worse, the network is old, and fragile; and requires robustness. I advocate having multiple semi-autonomous grids connected to the national grid. When I was the Minister of Power, the Federal Executive Council approved a 765MW Super grid, however with my exit from the administration in 2012, the project ended abruptly. Such a grid would be important for the evacuation of power from power plants such as the Mambila hydropower plant in Taraba State under development, which has a capacity of more than 3000 MW. I sometimes imagine how electricity could have been developed in Nigeria if the Federal Government had continued with the project after I left public office. I am therefore delighted that the current Minister of Power, Chief Adebayo Adelabu, is reviving it. We need to support him.

29. The development of the electric power sector has been stalled for years because of the suspension of Partial Risk Guarantee (PRG) to support power purchase agreements (PPAs). I was instrumental, as the Minister of Power, to development of the PRG for the PPA which enabled the emergence of the 461MW Azure-Edo Power Plant in Edo State. With the partial risk guarantee (PRG), a private firm can have the comfort of building a power plant knowing that an institution like the World Bank is providing such instrument to shore-up the payment of the distribution companies. I understand the financial implications to the country IF it fails to meet its obligations to the GenCo, however these concerns should be addressed in the terms and conditions of the legal contract/Agreement, rather than halt the progress of the electricity generation sector totally. As things are now, no private sector investor will be attracted to invest in the electricity sector in Nigeria despite the enormous potential the market has. The key driver to unlock the power sector for investors is availability of credible and creditworthy off takers. We need innovative solutions that would provide the requisite comfort for potential investors and financiers in Nigeria’s power sector.

Conclusion

30. I have in this lecture reviewed some major current developments in the energy industry in the international as well as local environments. It is self-evident that nations and commercial entities are guided principally by their interests, despite their strong pledges to fight the climate crisis with all their might and resources. Even environmentalists, who fiercely insist that poor nations shut down their fossil fuel plants to save the Earth, would take a patriotic stand when their countries’ interests are affected directly. For instance, Greenpeace Germany in August 2022 described Germany’s decision to restore coal-fired plants as “bitter but inevitable”.

31. Even in the unlikely event that rich nations wean themselves off fossil fuels within the foreseeable future, the Earth will continue to be polluted because most developing nations do not have the resources and technical know-how to transition yet to clean energy. Bangladesh, a nation of 170 million people, has been building new coal plants, and the beneficiaries are not just the local people and local businesses but also big Western firms like Walmart of the United States and Zara of Spain. Developed countries and multilateral institutions need to assist developing countries with technology, human capital development, infrastructure, and finance to grapple with the basic challenges of development. After all, the climate crisis was unleashed by rich nations. The poor nations are victims.

32. Countries like Nigeria have the responsibility to remind developed nations that much as natural gas is a fossil fuel, it is a transition fuel because of its relative cleanliness. Even lithiumion promoted as the silver bullet to the climate crisis has serious defects, including the fact that it is mined like any other mineral and, ipso facto, causes environmental pollution.

33. While the Nigerian government should be encouraged to explore foreign markets for its resources like natural gas, sight should not be lost on the fact that charity should begin at home. In fact, an emergency has to be declared in the domestic gas market to save the electricity sector and address other key issues.

34. The Super grid should be given priority to boost the nation’s transmission capacity.

35. The Federal Government has to resume signing power purchase agreements (PPAs) with appropriate Guarantee instrument to attract private sector investment in the power sector so that Nigeria can experience proper economic trajectory like other emerging nations such as the BRIC nations: Brazil, Russia, India, and China or even the CIVETS: Colombia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Egypt, Turkey and South Africa.

We can achieve these if we can find the will power and right frame of mind to change the energy equation like those BRIC and CIVETS countries. It is now up to us as a nation.

Thank you.

The Lecture was followed by remarks and goodwill messages from dignitaries present.

They all agreed that time has come for the nation to return to power sufficiency. Their various speeches are as follows:

TIME TO DECLARE EMERGENCY IN POWER SECTOR IS NOW – PETER OBI

The Chairman of the occasion and our dear President, Kabiyesi, your Excellencies, let me stand on all existing protocols.

Well, mine is a very simple one. First, I want to say big congratulations on your birthday Dele Momodu, and thank you for what you did here because until you said it when we came in here, we were wondering what happened to this place. It’s unfortunate that you have to be the one to change this place rather than Nigeria. So, thank you very much for that contribution. He’s the one who changed the carpet and everything. And that’s how Nigeria works, lack of maintenance. So, it’s important that is noted, and thank you for showing that we need to maintain a place because like you said you shouldn’t have been the one doing it. We must learn to maintain before we build a new one. We should stop building new ones until we finish the existing ones.

Number two, I thank the guest lecturer for what you did and what you said. Thank you. When the former President of Ghana said they’re generating and distributing 5,000 megawatts I was wondering if Ghana with one-seventh of our population probably generates and distributes more than us, I was doing the calculation and we’re discussing with former Governor Duke, that we must declare an emergency in power.

The way to go is very simple, embedded power and insist on gas supply. We have gas. We have it all over the place. Yes, we need the dollars, but I think making Nigeria more productive and pulling our people out of poverty, especially in the North will give us far more value and dollars than focusing on exports.

I think it’s time to declare an emergency. Geometrics has shown in Aba that embedded power will help us in that emergency. We should encourage it all over Nigeria.

Thank you.

IN THE ABUNDANCE OF WATER, THE FOOLISH IS THIRSTY – DONALD DUKE

The chairman, your excellencies, your majesties, distinguished ladies and gentlemen.

Dele, congratulations on your birthday.

Let me share a story with us and you can contextualize it as you may.

In 1985, I was a young intern in a law firm in Washington DC called Bacon Hostetler. My immediate boss was a lady; the late Mrs Betty Murphy, who was Secretary of Labor under Ronald Wilson Reagan, and one afternoon she invited me to her office and in a rebuking manner asked me a question what was wrong with Nigeria. I was barely 23 years old, so I didn’t understand what she talked about but I just felt that everything was wrong with Nigeria at the time.

She said she had just come back come out come back from the White House and had a meeting with the Chief of Staff to President Reagan and she said they were very upset with Nigeria. They had proposed building a trans-African pipeline from Nigeria’s Niger Delta through Niger into Algeria to Europe to forestall Soviet gas it was the politics of gas, we’re talking about leadership here. I thought it was a brilliant idea. She talked about the Niger Delta. At that time, I didn’t even understand what the Niger Delta was all about but it was going to be paid for by the Western World. All they wanted from us was agreement and they would do it. And from there we could tee off gas to distribute to the rest of the country. But we gave a condition and the condition was the United States will have to pull out of South Africa.

She said it was a very stupid thing for us to do and I agree; that you first get what you want you know like in the aircraft you wear your mask before you look after others and she said no one gives the United States conditions. She reminded me of the Bay of Pigs where there were missiles of Soviet missiles facing the United States. There were also NATO missiles in Turkey facing the Soviet Union at the time but the condition the Russians gave was of course; you take out your missiles from Turkey and we’ll take out our missiles from from Cuba. The Americans agreed but on the condition that you do not tell the world that we obliged to you. It would have made more sense if we had agreed and would have had a lot more leverage if we had agreed to allow the pipeline to go through.

Today, it’s a difficult situation because you’re going to go through Niger, and Niger has fully aligned with Russia today. I do not think they would even allow that to happen. But this is a nation that at one point we were flaring 2.5 billion cubic feet of gas daily that’s an equivalent of 25 million liters of diesel. You think of it, for over 40 years we were flaring, burning 25 million liters of diesel.

Talking about in the abundance of water, the foolish is thirsty.

Thank you.

STATES SHOULD SUPPORT FG IN POWER GENERATION – SEN. RABIU KWANKWASO

Our Royal fathers here present, your excellencies, distinguished ladies and gentlemen.

Let me start by thanking Almighty God for giving us this opportunity to be here and also it’s an opportunity to congratulate our brother, our friend, Dele Momodu for attending this age. I say on behalf of all of us once again congratulations to you.

The chairman of the occasion, the former President of Ghana, I’m sure many people are not aware that Nigeria is his second home and in Nigeria; Kano in particular, and because of his living in Kano, he speaks Hausa more than many of us. So, it’s a pleasure meeting you here once again. And I thank the celebrant for giving us this opportunity to meet our friends and brothers from across Africa. Guest speaker, thank you for being enlightened. In fact, if there was time I wanted you to tell us more about your experience of power generation and distribution in Aba. It will be a good opportunity, especially for businessmen and women not only in Nigeria but across the world to emulate the good work that you have done. We need many many more of Professor Nnaji in this country. With him, I’m sure this country would achieve much more.

Let me at this point say especially that the Governor of Osun is here to say that the importance of electricity cannot be overemphasized. That was why when I was Governor of Kano, I selected two out of 23 dams that we have in Kano and they installed some pieces of equipment I’m happy to say that we were able to set up the power generation in Kano on Chalawa Gorge and Tiger Dams producing or potentially to produce 35 megawatt. We completed the job in 2015. I’m happy to say that I left 43 million US dollars in our account for the incoming Governor to do the distribution. Of course, not much was being done but I’m sure our governor now, Abba Kabir Yusuf, will complete it. You are laughing as if you didn’t know that we couldn’t find the 43 million dollars when we came back.

So, Governor Adeleke and other governors should look at the possibility of generating power because it’s not a matter of only the Federal Government alone. We will have to put all our heads and hands together to ensure that there is adequate and of course enough electricity in this country.

For the purpose of time, I want to say to the celebrant once again congratulations and we wish you many more years of productive service to our nation.

Thank you and God bless you.

DELE MOMODU HAS DISPLAYED SELFLESSNESS IN UPGRADING NIIA – OONI OF IFE

Your excellencies, the celebrant of today, our dear brother, I think I see you more as Nigerian than even Ghanian, the elders that are here, the political leaders of our dear country.

At least, I’ve seen two here the Kwankwasiyya movement and our amiable tsunami from the Labor Party. Please, give all of them a resounding round of applause. I even noticed something about the Kwankwasiyya movement, their logo the red and white, I looked through his shoe today I saw that it’s actually indeed red and white but I looked around maybe the distinguished Senator Tokunbo Afikuyomi part of APC that is here. But I’m very happy that this Hall is indeed a party affair of our dear country. Our nation is way bigger than any one of us, way bigger than any political party or anything that has to do with party affiliation. The day we all sit down to talk about our interests commonly as a nation rather than our selfish interests as individuals, things will be better for our dear country.

We’re stronger as a nation individually than us doing things very collectively and that has been the problem of our there Nation. People came and spoke very briefly, aptly, and straight to the point they are leaders both in the private sector and public sector.

A lot of Nigerians can actually talk and talk about the solution to this problem but what are we all doing? But it is very important for us to know we’ve been talking about gas abundance for a very long time, we’ve been talking about so many things in this country that are in abundance that we can actually even extract and we will not focus on the dollar economy. But the truth be told, the day as a nation that we start doing things; not individually. The day we realize that this country is bigger than all of us; a good example of the celebrant today that you are bringing all political parties together, irrespective of your party affiliation that we will realize that Nigeria is bigger than all of us then we will be a better Nation.

For us to settle all the problems of energy is no rocket science. And that’s the truth. It’s because of our selfish interest that’s the reason we’ve been having a lot of bottlenecks here and there. Selfish interest. So, I want to appeal to every one of us, talk is cheap. Enough of talking and talking and talking as a Nation, let us look at this nation, beyond all of us, bigger than all of us, and let us jointly and collectively look at things that will be betterment, that will be in good structure, and a very futuristic manner, that can better a lot of even generations yet unborn.

On this day, I want to thank God Almighty for the celebrant’s life. What you are doing. You have displayed selflessness which is very rare in our country by upgrading this hall. Let every one of us pick our public utilities; whatever we can do, the government cannot do it all. Let us imbibe this culture. For what the celebrant has done today, I want every one of us to give him a resounding round of applause. He bought new ACs and a new carpet and gave this place a very good uplift.

So, as a nation what are you doing?

God bless you all and God bless Nigeria.

Thank you very much.

A roll call of notable dignitaries that attended the event revealed the following: Ex-President John Mahama, Prof. Barth Nnaji, Governor Ademola Adeleke, Mr. Peter Obi, Mr. Donald Duke, Alhaji Rabiu Kwankwaso, Bishop Isaac Idahosa, Hajia Bola Shagaya, Mr. Stanley Uzochukwu, AIG Tunji Alapini (Retd), Senator Tokunbo Afikuyomi, Mrs Bimbo Oloyede, Ms Maureen Chigbo, Mr. Olumide Akpata, Prince Bisi Olatilo, Mr. Nasir Ramon, Dr. Reuben Abati, Senator Olubiyi Fadeyi, Oluwo of Iwo, Oba Abdul Rasheed Akanni; Ms Tundun Abiola, Mr. Leke Alder, Mr. Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour, Mr. Ralph Lewu, Prince Femi Tejuosho, Mrs Agnes Shobanjo, Opeyemi Oretuyi, Erelu Olajumoke Fadeyi, Dozy Mmobosi, Mr. Lai Oriowo, Dr. Yunusa Tanko, Ichie Azuh Arinze, Mr. Michael Effiong, Mr. Bayo Fatusin, Dr. Stephen Akintayo…

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Behold! The Asiwaju of Edeland, Gov Ademola Adeleke

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By Eric Elezuo

The ancient town of Ede in Osun State is set to host the who’s who in Nigeria’s political and traditional institutions as the Executive Governor of the state, His Excellency, Senator Ademola Nurudeen Jackson Adeleke, is installed as the Asiwaju of Edeland.

The one in town event is scheduled to hold on Monday, May 13, 2024 at the Grounds of the Palace of the Timi of Ędę, HRH Oba Adesola Munirudeen Lawal (Laminisa 1), on the same day the governor, who has been termed as ‘performing’ will be celebrating his 64th birthday.

The Asiwaju title was previously held by Governor Adeleke’s elder brother, Isiaka Adeleke, who passed away on April 23, 2017.

Among dignitaries expected at the event are the former President of Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, members of the Osun State executive and legislative councils, federal legislators, members of the diplomatic Corps, business men, politicians across the nation, entertainers and the general public.

THE MAN, ADEMOLA JACKSON ADELEKE

He has one of the most jovial personalities, combined with a mien that is down to earth and thoroughly enterprising. Many call him ever smiling senator; some others call him dancing senator while a whole lot of others call him the incoming governor. He is the Senator, who represented Osun West Senatorial district in the Nigeria’s upper legislative chamber between 2015 and 2019. He is Ademola Jackson Adeleke, a distinguished contender for the Osun governorship seat. 

Born of the Adeleke family of Ede in Osun State on May 13, 1960, Adeleke commenced his primary education at Methodist Primary School, Surulere Lagos State before he was privileged to relocate to Old Oyo State to continue his education at Nawarudeen Primary School, Ikire.

Adeleke was born Nurudeen Ademola Adeleke to a Muslim father and Nnena Esther Adeleke, an Igbo Christian mother. Like him, Adeleke’s father, Raji Ayoola Adeleke was a Senator and the Balogun of Ede land in Osun State. His father, Raji Ayoola Adeleke was also the leader of the Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN).

On completion of his primary education, he moved on to The Seventh Day Adventist Secondary School, Ede to begin his post primary schooling. In the later years however, he attended Ede Muslim Grammar School Ede, where he completed his secondary school education and subsequently relocated to the United States of America, joining his two older brothers, who were also studying there.

In the United States, he joined Jacksonville State University, Alabama, and studied Criminal Justice, with minor in Political Science.

To prove doubting Thomases, who wiped up controversies around his educational qualification, wrong, he went back to school and got enrolled at Atlanta Metropolitan State College in the United States, where he obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice in 2021.

A businessman and administrator of no mean repute, Adeleke was the humble Group Executive Director at his brother’s company, Pacific Holdings Limited from 2001 to 2016, where his credible performances shot the company to enviable heights; a height it is still enjoying till date.

It is imperative to note that before he joined Pacific Holdings Limited, Senator Adeleke worked with Quicksilver Courier Company in Atlanta, Georgia, US, as a service contractor from 1985 to 1989. His dexterity to work earned him a progression in career, and he berthed as Vice President at Origin International LLC, Atlanta, Georgia, US, a flavours and fragrance manufacturing company. His meritorious stewardship lasted a period of five years, from 1990 to 1994.

Not a few has described Adeleke as the philanthropic capital of Ede, as his influence in aiding the less privileged and downtrodden remains top notch. He is a voracious believer in community development, and has not spared any expense to see that his community receives global influence.

Politically, Adeleke is a beacon of light and hard nut to crack, having remained an albatross to opposing powers and a reference point to ideal administration.

Shortly after he lost his brother, Senator Isiaka Adeleke, who died in April 2017, he contested the Osun West 2017 Senatorial by-election after the death of his brother, emerging as the winner under the Peoples Democratic Party, where he decamped to from the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Having emerged senator, Adeleke’s political influence waxed stronger, an on July 23, 2018, he emerged as the governorship candidate of PDP in Osun State after defeating Akin Ogunbiyi by seven votes. Efforts made to deprive him of the mandate was twated by the courts.

Adeleke’s lawyer in his defense claims his secondary school hasn’t come out to deny his testimonial asking the court to dismiss the Case. The court dismissed the suit stating that the plaintiff could not prove Adeleke’s forgery.

Adeleke ran for Osun state governorship election under the PDP against top contenders Alhaji Gboyega Oyetola of APC and Iyiola Omisore of SDP on 22 September 2018. The election was declared inconclusive by the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) while Adeleke was leading, and a rerun slated on September 27, 2018. The candidate of the APC Oyetola was declared winner after the run-off. Adeleke protested the result describing the election as a “coup”.

Much as on March 22, 2019, the tribunal sitting in Abuja declared Adeleke the winner of the election, the Supreme Court later affirmed Gboyega Oyetola as the authentic winner of the 2018 Osun State governorship election on Friday, July 5, 2019

Popularly known as the Dancing Senator because of his penchant to joyfully react to the sounds of music, Adeleke is uncle to one of Nigeria’s popular musicians, Davido.

Governor Adeleke is married to an equally successful businesswoman and a self-made boss. They are blessed with three children who are all entertainers. They are B-Red and Shina Rambo and a daughter, Nike Adeleke. He is the uncle of one Nigeria’s primus inter pares in entertainment, Davido.

As expected, Adeleke is moving Osun State to the greatest of heights as he promised, and many who know him agree that there are still very many more in the offing.

HIS EXTRAORDINARY EASE OF DOING BUSINESS STRATEGY 

The governor has shared good news on the ease of doing business in the state as follows:

In continuation of our administration’s effort to improve the state economy and encourage the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), we have completed the harmonization of multiple taxes and levies collected by different government departments, agencies, and ministries across all business sectors of the state economy including the informal sectors into a single bill. This Harmonized Bill curates all levies, which businesses are expected to pay on an annual basis as a single bill.

This initiative is to promote ease of doing business by ensuring seamless and convenient payment of levies and taxes due to individuals and businesses across the state in equal or unequal tranches and ensure the issuance of Harmonized Bill Certificate upon completion of payment of the total amount.

I hereby note to all business owners in Osun state both in formal and informal sectors that the official online payment channels for the state is pay.irs.os.gov.ng; POS machines in Tax stations across the state; commercial banks across Nigeria; and Money Transfer Services for those outside Nigeria.

In addition, we have also completed the deployment of Automation System for improved service delivery on payment of rent and lease on government properties; processing of Certificates of Occupancy (C of O) in 45 days; Electronic Affidavit System; Electronic State of Origin and Local Government Area of Origin portal; Mobile tax stations; Online Tax payment system etc.

OFFICIAL PROFILE OF GOVERNOR ADEMOLA ADELEKE, THE NEW ASIWAJU OF EDELAND

Governor Ademola Jackson Nurudeen Adeleke, the Executive Governor of Osun state and the new Asiwaju of Edeland is a pan Nigerian by birth, by philosophy and by worldview. Born at Enugu as a son of independence on 13th May, 1960, the new Ede frontliner widely acknowledged as the Olosun of Osun is a tactical politician, a businessman, show business activist and a humanist within philanthropism. The ever lively, urbane scion of the Adeleke family of Ede North Local Government is an innovative entrepreneur, a grassroot political figure and a strong advocate of good governance, then as a Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and now as the Governor of Osun State.

From his childhood, the Asiwaju is a man of complex character, a young man with multiplicity of talents and an adult with widely praised open heart, strong will and constancy of adaptation to ideas and innovations. From his secondary education at Ede Muslim Grammar School to his sojourn to the United States and tertiary education at the Jacksonville State University, Alabama where he majored in criminal justice, the Ede frontliner demonstrated deep business interest, unconventional approach and a rare mastery of intricacies of politics, business and social life.

Despite hailing from a well to do family, the Asiwaju was in the United States and Nigeria, a man in search of opportunities for self growth and advancement. His passion for self development and business prosperity occasioned his joining the Quicksilver Courier Company in Atlanta, Georgia, US, as a service contractor between 1985–1989. He progressed to Origin International LLC, Atlanta, Georgia, US, a flavours and fragrance manufacturing company where he served as Vice President from 1990 to 1994.

A suave businessman and administrator, he served as a Director of Guiness Nigeria Limited between 1992- 1999 where he contributed immensely to the expansion of the multinational company. He was later appointed Group Executive Director of Pacific Holdings Limited from 2001 to 2016. Senator Adeleke is also an acclaimed creative Industry entrepreneur and mentor. As a talented creative figure, he mentored world rated ace musicians while his family members and children are leading stars in the global music industry.

As a man ever restless in pursuit of self growth and opportunities, the Asiwaju again opted to restart his educational sojourn which he suspended because of business and entrepreneurial preoccupations. In 2019 after he was rigged out of a governorship election he clearly won, Governor Adeleke, in a can do spirit, re-enrolled at Atlanta Metropolitan State College in the United States and obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in criminal justice in 2021.

All along and considering his family background, the frontliner was for years both a political servant and leader, learning the rope from his father (Senator Ayoola Adeleke) , a second republic progressive Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and his brother, Senator Isiaka Adetunji Adeleke, the First Executive Governor of Osun State. His business teeth were sharpened by his brother, the global business mogul, Dr Adedeji Adeleke while his political potency was strengthened by his sister, the Yeyeluwa of Edeland, Chief (Mrs) Dupe Adeleke- Sanni. The celebrant of today was eventually elected the President of the Adeleke dynasty, representing the sons and daughters of the great Adeleke family at home and abroad.

Having been thus fortified by his innate personality, his family background and his multifaceted experience, his political participation predated 1991 but he took the front seat in 2017 when he was elected with a landslide victory as a Senator for Osun West Senatorial District in 2017. His popularity reached a peak when he won the Osun 2018 governorship election before the open rigging and manipulation that was globally condemned.

As a man of steel character, the frontliner took the gauntlet again in 2022 and beat the incumbent to reclaim the stolen mandate of 2018. Imole as the Governor is popularly known has since been delivering on good governance, winning applause and praises from far and near.

In December 2023, he was honoured with a doctorate degree by the Valley View University, Accra, Ghana. The Vice Chancellor lauded the Governor’s multi-million naira education scholarship as a Senator, his sterling records on workers welfare as a Governor, his performance on infrastructure upgrades and his commitment to due process, rule of law and fear of God.

He has received several awards including the Governor of the Year Award by Champion newspapers in 2023, Sahel Standard Man of the Year in 2022, Vanguard Newspaper Governor of the Year on Infrastructure and a host of other recognition. The frontliner serves on several national governmental committees including being the representative of the South West on the National Minimum Wage Committee.

The new Asiwaju of Edeland is a strong family man, an avid sport lover, a man of God and a David of our time with incessant passion for praise singing and adulation of God Almighty.

Courtesy: Governor’s Office, 2024.

By this new office, Governor Adeleke is now the one who leads in Edeland, and is expected to use his office to better the lot of the people of Ede.

Congratulations sir!

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You’re Non-Existent, Fubara Tells Amaewhule-led Rivers Assembly

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Rivers State Governor, Similaya Fubara, has taken a swipe at the Martin Amaewhule-led group of lawmakers at the state House of Assembly and declared that they do not exist anymore in the eyes of the law.

“Let me say it here, those groups of men who claim that they are assembly members, they do not exist. I want it to be on the record,” Fubara declared

The governor stated this when he received on courtesy visit the Bayelsa State delegation of political and traditional leaders, led by former Governor of the State, Senator Seriake Dickson, at Government House in Port Harcourt on Monday.

Fubara and 26 members of the assembly loyal to former governor, Nyesom Wike, have been at loggerheads after the move to impeach the governor was thwarted.

He told the delegation that he has been showing restraint since the political crisis escalated in the state.

The governor further stated that despite wielding state powers that he can deploy to achieve his aim, he has continued to act as the big brother in the face of intimidation and unwarranted attacks.

“So, I want you to see the sacrifice I have made to allow peace to be in our state. I can say here, with all amount of boldness, I have never called any policeman anywhere to go and harass anybody.

“I have never gone anywhere to ask anybody to do anything against anybody. But what happens to the people that are supporting me? They are being harassed, they are being arrested and detained.

“There is no week that somebody doesn’t come here with one letter of invitation for trump-up charges and all those things,” he said.

The governor added, “I am saying all these because of what my senior said here. I don’t think the other party has shown any restraint. I am the one who has shown restraint in the face of this crisis.

“I am the one that is badly hit, even when I have all the government instruments to shake up the table. But, why will I do it? I believe that peace is the best relationship to cultivate.”

He revealed that he had always been present at any meeting that was called to resolve the crisis in the state but after each meeting, he was met with a new dimension of the crisis from the opposing side.

He, however, vowed to continue to be peaceful, acknowledging that power is transient.

“We might have our division, but I believe that one day, we could also come together, but it has gotten to a time when I have to make a statement that they are not existing. Their existence is me allowing them to exist. If I de-recognize them, they are nowhere. I want you to see the sacrifice I have made in allowing peace to reign in our state,” he concluded.

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