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Flaws in Oyetola, Aregbesola: Public Relations Perspective 

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By ISAAC OLUSESI [email protected]

The trade of snarls on the past and present State of Osun governments of the All Progressives Congress (APC), by commission or omission, is counter productive. The quid pro quo, for most of the time has generated controversies. Out of relics.

Painfully, the latest altercations have only instituted sweeping commands from the divides. Both Governor Gboyega Oyetola and ex-Governor Rauf Aregbesola spoke or scripted on the status of public education that courted journalists who did news on them. Aregbesola, speaking at an award on him in his office in Abuja, a Thursday ago, first fired in a volley of sarcasms, sudden sneers, in a thunder clap, at the footing of education in the state, inexplicably unexpected now that the sea appears calm and peace returned. The cause. And Oyetola responded through his Ministry of Education. The effect.

The cause and effect, habitual aborter, in the instance,  have their flaws. Both sides get angry like they are strangers, or are quintessentially from different political progenitor – progeny. Too unhelpful to the Osun APC internal democracy. And needless especially at the threshold of the nation’s general elections. The two sides to the tirades apparently mistake criticisms and responses, attacks and counter attacks, for utility; but with the public understanding of many issues made blurry.  Wrong, and too wrong, the Public Relations perspective.

By the Public Relations vista, corporate or executive reputation management entails publicising facts and figures. That way, light is shed; communication gap, abridged; and tension is shrugged off or doused. It is not acumen, not shrewd to input swift insinuations, directly or indirectly. But consider these provokants.

Aregbesola’s “…the vision and capacity that we have demonstrated in (Education) delivery services to the people (of Osun) *have been arrested” This is edgy, too pesky, too troublesome, too vexatious, too obnoxious, too discomforting, too unsettling, too perturbing, too worrisome, and too disquieting, a provocazione , an exasperation, inciting negative sentiments against the successor and sitting government of same chord and handle after him.

And responding, the state Ministry of Education’s “…(the government).. working hard to improve the standard and quality of public education and take it out of the deep hole where it was when this administration came on board…” This is Thesaurus, too bothersome, too irksome, too irritating, too annoying, too decomposing, too upsetting, too disturbing, and too distressing, a provocacion an aphrodisiac, eliciting negative passions against the predecessor government of same stock and stem.

What the two sides of a kind, the one as well as the other, said or scripted, provocateur, are un-Public Relations and judgemental, of a weak specie. However, the two sides would be helping the  political party in government if they treat whatever grievances there are in the closet to translate to action driven goodwill for better mileages. That direction has some cardinal distinctions. Both sides will get more fixated to common toes. Not view points, ubiquitous in contest. They will stand together, work mutually, committed to grow internal democracy that leaves the steadily focussed, steadfastly strong, quietly rugged and determined sitting governor, undistracted.

Only Oyetola who passed through the mills of his intra  party  oppositions and remained unfazed, unfrayed, unbashed, undaunted, and inexhausted has what it takes to continue to get the diverse publics in the state desirably well informed on quotidian issues of development interest in another four years in office. Away from bunglings fielded by a handful of party zealots, rocking impressions of skirmishes in the public glare. Obviously for paucity of time, I hesitate here to elaborate.

The executive face offs,  made to span years now, have created image problems. But the good thing is that both sides should earnestly refrain from cross attacks. I think, they know or should know that reputation management in Public Relations does not require the chief executive of corporate organizations, including government to respond to every attack. You don’t need it. It wouldn’t get you any of the mileages,  serviceability, utility or usefulness desired, but will only create more gaps by raising the bar of the questionary.

In oral and written attacks, both sides in Osun APC carry the weight of leadership in their respective right; and frankly, such attack- exchanges any further from either side will merely go for cheap shots, hitting below the belt. And that could be self demeaning, and more embarrassing to the Osun public opinion on which the two sides have built their strongly marketable reputation, endearment to the publics and bastion of internal democracy.

To be otherwise could incite further crisis on personality or principle.

Somewhat inreversible.

OLUSESI writes at the Foot of Most Merciful. Most Gracious. All-knowing.

Opinion

Tinubu, the opposition and the Nigerian honey pot

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By Professor Kayode Soremekun

As the Tinubu administration approaches the one year mark, it is important to effect a review of what has transpired in the last twelve months.

At the level of sheer policy postures and pronouncements, much has been done and so much is also  being done, such that it is almost impossible to keep  pace .

In this narrative however, I have decided  to dwell on an unusual aspect of the last twelve months.

On this note, the thrust of my argument is this:Nigeria is a lucrative honeypot for external actors and their local collaborators. It is a situation in which every achievement of  this administration translates into a loss for external actors and their interests. These indeed are the various indices of the opposition which will continue to stalk this administration.

At the instinctual level, and unfortunately, the average reader is likely to view the opposition in terms of predictable variables like the: PDP, LP and possibly the various indices of civil society.

But this piece is not preoccupied with these.

Rather our attention is focused on the implications of the evolving dynamics of Air Peace (AP)and the competition in the aviation industry.

It is instructive to recall here that, as soon as  AP ticked off  on the Lagos-London route, the other  airlines came into some form of self-serving  epiphany. They changed tack through the  process of fare reductions.

The implications of this on-going process are deeper than one may think. As long as Nigeria was absent on the Lagos-London route, the route was something of a honey pot for the other airlines. It  was a sybaritic  situation in which all the other  airlines were busy enjoying themselves at the expense of Nigerians and Nigeria.

In my innocence I  thought  that the only airline that  was benefitting from this bazaar of the Lagos- London route was British Airways (BA) whose ancestors were  the original predators of what  passes for the Nigerian state. Little did I know that other Airlines like Air Maroc and Egyptair were also partakers of this largesse.

On this note, the mind remembers the goggled General, Sani Abacha. In the light of the inclement interplay between his regime and Britain, British Airways was banned from Nigeria. But as soon as he died, BA resumed its lucrative foray into Nigeria. One can imagine how much BA must have lost in the light of that move by the General.

The implication is that for every omission or commission on the part of Nigeria, someone out there is smiling home with huge profits. Such forces and individuals constitute at one level the opposition that anyone who  occupies Aso Rock, has to contend with. Needless to say, our Nigeria is  a huge honeypot since we are  talking here of a huge  market  of 200 million Nigerians.

The situation also partly explains why the Naira will continue to go south since for most of our basic needs, we depend heavily on the external realm. It also explains why anybody who occupies Aso Rock is not just up against the  usual opposition  at the domestic level, he is  also up against  the various indices of opposition beyond Nigeria.

And here we are talking about hard-headed interests and zero-sum games in which what one entity loses, is gained by another  one.

This brings to mind another major area in which over time, Nigeria continues to be a spectator in the scheme  of things.

Our specific reference here is the Nigerian oil industry. Nigeria continues to be passive in this industry. So passive that as an oil producing country there are  no backward linkages like refineries and petrochemicals. Even as I write, there are rumblings to the effect that there are jitters out there. This is because, should Nigeria succeed in bringing on stream her own  refineries, very many jobs will be lost by refiners in places like Rotterdam and South Korea. These are some of the entities who export refined oil to an oil producing Nigeria. Again as regards petrochemicals, should Nigeria come into her own in this vital  area, then our imports of raw materials will reduce drastically. In the light of what is  happening to Air Peace, we should expect a fight-back from relevant interests out there.

Very much the same thing can be said for our steel industry.Till date, it remains comatose. No thanks to international conspiracy ably aided by a wayward ruling class.This is invariably a  sad feature which stretches far back  to the dawn of our political independence. Again, Nigeria’s attempts to come into her own in this vital  area will be resisted, and vigorously too, by  the relevant external forces out there in collaboration with their internal allies. So as PBAT Tinubu settles into his second year in office, he will do well to remember and appreciate that he will be contending with various indices of the opposition at the external   various ways these have their tongues and fingers in the Nigerian honey-pot.They will not give up easily.Which is why, the Tinubu presidency should give these self-serving domestic and external forces a good run for their greed and avarice.

There is some hope however. This cautious optimism lies in the fact that, in the course of  that historic outing in Abeokuta where Tinubu openly staked his claim to the Presidency he also pronounced with equal gravity  on his place  in history. Specifically he opined that he would not want to be a footnote to the Nigerian narrative. So all said and done, it is possible to contend  here that in the light of what can be regarded  as his self-conscious place in history; PBAT has his work cut out for him in critical and vital  areas of our national life like: the steel industry, our oil industry and of  course the Aviation  sector.

Success  in these various  areas can only mean that the Great Black Hope is ready to come into her own.

Soremekun, a professor of political science was the second vice chancellor of Federal University Oye Ekiti, Ekiti State.

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Opinion

Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries’ (OPEC) pride in its African roots

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By Haitham Al-Ghais, OPEC Secretary General

Since assuming the office of OPEC Secretary General almost two years ago, I have had the privilege of visiting every African OPEC Member Country, as well as several other African countries. Every visit has reaffirmed my firm conviction that the future is bright for Africa and that the oil industry can play a constructive role in that future. Our Organisation stands ready to offer any support it can to help this great continent realise its awesome potential.

OPEC takes great pride in its strong and enduring African connections, heritage and identity. Half of our Member Countries are African and this includes the continent’s most populous country, Nigeria, and the geographically largest by area, Algeria. We are also privileged to count Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and Libya as Member Countries. Additionally, two African countries are part of the historic ‘Declaration of Cooperation,’ between OPEC and non-OPEC producing countries, namely Sudan and South Sudan.

Our Organisation’s past is imbued with African character. Looking throughout our 63-year history, many significant meetings took place in African cities. From the Ninth Meeting of the OPEC Conference in Tripoli in 1965, critical meetings and conferences have been held in Algiers (including our first ever Summit), Oran, Lagos, Abuja, Luanda, and Libreville.

Indeed, the idea for our Organisation was conceived in Africa, specifically Egypt. It was at the Cairo Yacht Club in 1959, that the Gentleman’s Agreement was forged that paved the way for the establishment of OPEC in Baghdad in September 1960.

Having played a pivotal role in shaping our past, we have no doubt Africa will be instrumental in the Organization’s future and the future of the oil industry. This is a dominant theme in OPEC’s World Oil Outlook 2045 (WOO).

Africa has a young and vibrant population. By 2045, the Middle East and Africa are forecast to be the leading regions by overall population, adding 723 million people in the period 2022-2045.

We anticipate a bright future for Africa’s oil industry with substantial opportunities for growth. The continent is home to five of the top 30 oil-producing countries and its proven oil reserves amounted to around 120 billion barrels at the end of 2022. This will be crucial to meet the growing global demand for oil, which is expected to rise to 116 million barrels per day (mb/d) by 2045.

These resources will be crucial in enabling African countries to deliver for their peoples. For many oil-producing developing nations, oil production is a way to generate revenue streams that help address pressing and legitimate needs, such as development, employment, education, reducing poverty and investing in public services.

One of the great challenges facing governments here and, indeed, in many other parts of the world is energy poverty. There are 675 million people worldwide who lack access to electricity, four out of five of whom live in sub-Saharan Africa. Furthermore, 2.3 billion people are without clean fuels and technologies for cooking, which can lead to a host of related health and environmental problems.

Of course, OPEC supports efforts that lead to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, but we look for this to be achieved in a manner that strikes a fine balance between energy security and sustainable development; ensuring that nobody is left behind. We are also strong advocates for the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities.

The continent of Africa is home to 17 percent of the world’s population, but is responsible for under 4 percent of global CO2 emissions, with many African countries contributing virtually nothing to global emissions.

When we consider historic cumulative CO2 emissions, the G7 has contributed over 43% of the total alone since 1850, while OPEC Member Countries account for only 4 percent.

These statistics reflect the fact that there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution to addressing climate change and national circumstances need to be taken into account. We need an all-peoples, all technologies and all-energies approach. Technological innovation is a key focus for our Organisation.

It is why our Member Countries are investing heavily in hydrogen projects, Carbon Capture and Utilisation and Direct Air Capture facilities, and the circular carbon economy.

Looking at recent developments across the energy scene in Africa, we see opportunities for the oil industry in places like Namibia, Senegal, Mozambique and Mauritania, to name but a few. OPEC is attentive to these developments and stands ready to support all countries on the African continent in the next chapter in developing their industries. In this regard, we look forward to enhanced cooperation with the African Energy Chamber in the years and decades to come.

The African Energy Chamber, as the voice of the African energy sector, commends OPEC’s commitment to the growth of the African oil and gas industry.

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Opinion

President Tinubu: A year of healing and unifying Nigeria

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By Fredrick Nwabufo

The intangibles of leadership are as potent and profound as the corporeal manifestations of governance. A people must not only see the brick-and-mortar elements of leadership; they must also feel and sense leadership in its quantum of compassion, healing, solace, and capacity to inspire unity, as well as foster peace and progress.

In fact, the incorporeal constituents of leadership are so important that citizens may not see utility in improved economic well-being and massive industrial transformation, if the leadership does not manage the delicate confluences of social and psychological needs.

In some of my treatises as a columnist years ago, I had written that beyond other rudimentary ingredients and supplements of leadership, Nigeria needs a leader who is a healer-in-chief and a unifier by example. A leader who has the proclivity and deliberateness to bring the nation together.

I am most delighted and proud to say Nigeria has found its healer-in-chief; its unifier by example, and consoler-in-chief in President Bola Tinubu. He is the President for all Nigerians.

It has been President Tinubu’s one year of healing and unifying Nigeria. In his inaugural speech on May 29, 2023, the President made a declaration that has become a defining motif of his administration.

He said: “Our administration shall govern on your behalf but never rule over you. We shall consult and dialogue but never dictate. We shall reach out to all but never put down a single person for holding views contrary to our own. We are here to further mend and heal this nation, not tear, and injure it.”

And true to his promise, President Tinubu has been listening and reaching out to Nigerians of diverse complexions and artificial partitions, as well as mending and healing the nation.

Healing and unifying the nation, how, you might ask? By personal example; in words and in deeds. There is no greater purpose and value to leadership than personal example. The place of leadership in forging bonds of communality is the place of purpose and deliberateness. Leadership must be deliberate in managing diversity and in fostering kinship among variegated people. Nation building cannot be left to chance or to a whim. There must be purposive plans and actions towards uniting the people. And these plans and actions, President Tinubu has been successful at carrying through in the past one year.

The President has maintained an accustomed patriotic, graceful, and expansive mien. In his public statements, mostly done extempore, he has always faithfully affirmed his commitment to Nigeria’s unity.

In one of his many noble articulations, he said, “I am irrevocably committed to the unity of Nigeria and constitutional democracy. Constitutional democracy has been reflected greatly here since we assumed office.”

Also to consider are the broad and far-reaching projects and programmes which are in themselves totems of unity – with all Nigerians, irrespective of class or creed, as beneficiaries and potential beneficiaries.

The approval of the Renewed Hope Infrastructure Development Fund to facilitate effective infrastructure development across the pivotal areas of agriculture, transportation, ports, aviation, energy, healthcare, and education, with salient projects across the country is a further affirmation of statesmanship and leadership.

The ongoing epochal Lagos-Calabar Coastal Road, with its attendant immense economic and social benefits to many states within and outside that corridor; the Sokoto-Badagry Road project, and the completed Port Harcourt to Aba stretch of the Port Harcourt to Maiduguri narrow-gauge rail, among other key developments across the nation, assert the all-encompassing and genuine intentionality to nation building. No Nigerian is left behind.

Within the first year, the President also approved the upgrade of key health infrastructure and equipment across all six geo-political zones in line with his administration’s vision of overhauling the health and social welfare sector for enhanced service delivery to all Nigerians.

The following teaching hospitals across the geo-political zones were marked for the establishment of oncology and nuclear medicine centres as part of the President’s bid to ensure that top-tier cancer diagnosis and care is accessible across the country: (1) University of Benin Teaching Hospital, (2) Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital, (3) University of Nigeria (Nsukka) Teaching Hospital, (4) Federal Teaching Hospital, Katsina, (5) University of Jos Teaching Hospital, and (6) Lagos University Teaching Hospital.

Ten other hospitals across all the geo-political zones were also pencilled for critical healthcare-service expansion projects across the fields of radiology, clinical pathology, medical and radiation oncology, and cardiac catheterisation.

The take-off of the first phase of the Consumer Credit Scheme, which is essentially a mitochondrion enabling citizens to improve their quality of life by accessing goods and services upfront, paying responsibly over time, and by the same token bolstering local industry and stimulating job creation is another social cohesion sealant – with all classes of working Nigerians as beneficiaries.  In summary, the establishment of the Nigerian Education Loan Fund (NELFUND) with the pre-eminent vision of safeguarding Nigeria’s future by ensuring that all Nigerian students and youths, regardless of their social, ethnic, or religious backgrounds, have access to sustainable higher education and functional skills, further accents the President’s fidelity to building a stable, strong, united, peaceful, and progressive nation.

One thing is certain: Citizens agree that they have a President for all Nigerians.

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