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GROUP URGES JONATHAN TO RETAIN MADUEKE AS PETROLEUM MINISTER

By NBF News
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Following her confirmation by the Senate, Igbo Leadership Council (ILC), a pan Igbo business and academic association based in the United States, has urged President Goodluck Jonathan to retain Mrs. Diezani Allison-Madueke in the petroleum ministry where she served earlier.

According to the group's director in Nigeria, Dr. Alex Obiechina, the decision was based on Madueke's demonstrated commitment to Jonathan's vision as well as her articulation and implementation of people-oriented policies.

Advising Nigerians to disregard the smear campaign against the former minister in some quarters, he said: 'After wide consultations, it is evident that Madueke has performed creditably in all phases of her assignments and thus deserves to continue as petroleum minister.'

He added: 'Positive changes do not always come easy. And recent events have shown that there is a certain group, which has historically profited from petroleum industry through underhand practices and seems determined to frustrate progressive initiatives of President Jonathan, including the massive reforms of the petroleum ministry. It is also worthy of note that the activities of these saboteurs are not too different from the mafia that has been undermining the current national power agenda of the president. '

The chairman of ILC, Dr. Kanayo Ubesie, also pointed out that the past one year was a welcome shift to the dark days of fuel scarcity and hoarding and wondered why some people are bent on disrupting a good cause.

In the same vein, a US-based scholar and energy consultant, Dr Ken Ogbonnia has charged President Goodluck Jonathan to re-appoint Mrs Diezani Allison Madueke as petroleum minister without delay.

He cited her sterling performance in the ministry as reason, adding that in the past 12 years of democracy, the reform in the petroleum ministry is the only thing that makes Nigerians feel the impact of democracy.

While giving credit to Jonathan for the progress in the sector, he acknowledged the prudent implementation of short and long-term goals under her leadership as a major contributor.

He insisted that before Madueke's tenure in the ministry, virtually every study on the Nigerian petroleum industry painted a gloomy picture of constant vandalisation of pipelines, long queues at fuel stations, bribery and corruption, low production, with failure to meet both local and international needs and lack of foreign investment.

'But today, not only are Nigerians able to freely buy petroleum products at standardized prices but foreign companies, which were relocating to other African destinations, such as Angola, are constantly re-opening offices in Nigeria,' he said.

He also listed other accomplishments under Madueke to include the restoration of confidence in the ministry through reforms and deregulation initiatives, notably efficient pricing regime, Nigerian Content Act, pragmatic investment in the upstream and downstream sectors. This, according to the energy consultant, has broken the age-long monopoly in the industry by a cartel.