By: Balogun Ibrahim
The seemingly ingrained tendency for human beings to so easily forget their antecedents, repay evil for good and seek to destroy those God chose to use as their benefactors never ceases to amaze me.
As a passionate member of the All Progressives Congress (APC), I am saddened at the concerted, coordinated and consistent effort by a caucus within the party to diminish the influence and relevance of one of the prime architects and engineers of the party, namely Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
In fact, Bola Tinubu was one the young men and women who flocked around Chief Moshood Abiola, Nigerian President-presumptive and winner of the June 12, 1993, presidential election. Tinubu was elected Senator on the platform of Abiola’s Social Democratic Party (SDP), to represent Lagos-West in Abuja.
He was a dapper-dresser; handsome and precocious. He was fearless and daring. When Abiola went to see General Sani Abacha on the November 1993 night the military toppled Chief Ernest Shonekan, the Head of the Interim National Government (ING), he took the young Tinubu with him. The Abiola-Abacha parley was held at the Flagstaff House on the marina in Lagos.
Indeed, it is now Tinubu’s turn to face the turbulence of a Nigerian presidential campaign. Let’s hope that the rest of Nigeria would become like Yorubaland in the nearest future. It is not so now. Therefore, Tinubu would have to deal with the reality of the moment. He should resist the temptation of taking a leap in the dark. The move would become an unnecessary but dominant distraction to his campaign for power.
What is amazing is that most of those involved in the ‘bring Tinubu down’ project are those who owe their political ascendancy to the Jagaban. The prominent and enviable positions they occupy today is due, apart from God, to Asiwaju who identified their talents, recognized their capacities and decided to back their political careers with his time, energy, intellect and financial resources.
Despite the treachery of such people, they are at least living testaments to Asiwaju’s acumen for identifying, hunting for and nurturing leadership materials. Incidentally, former Secretary to the Federal Government, Babachir Lawal and former Speaker House of Representative, Yakubu Dogara, duo were beneficiaries of Asiwaju’s strategic and material support. In the process, the Jagaban stepped on several toes.
But this kind of betrayal is not limited to Lawal and Dogara. Some others who have become leading public office holders across the land courtesy the Jagaban, like former Osun State governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, Lagos State counterpart, Akinwunmi Ambode are repaying Tinubu’s benevolence with unbelievable ingratitude.
Even President Muhammadu Buhari’s closest advisers and teeming admirers acknowledge Asiwaju’s critical role in the electoral elevation of Buhari to the apex office after three previous failed attempts. Thankfully, the President so far has continued to show his appreciation for the Jagaban’s indispensable and inestimable contribution in collaboration with others to his success.
As for those who are today reveling in biting the fingers that fed them, I can only refer them to the book of Proverbs 17:13 in the Bible: Evil will never depart the house of anyone that repays evil for good.
I am in a position to speak authoritatively on Tinubu and his politics as one of his followers and associates over the last decade. I can testify to his immense capacity for hard work, capacious memory, integrity, fierce commitment to any cause he believes in and genuine patriotism as well as faith in Nigeria.
I only laugh when those who are beneficiaries of his so called ‘imposition’ of candidates for elections accuse Asiwaju of having a ‘domineering attitude’. They do not know the man. Yes, he stands strongly and forcefully by any idea or ideal he believes in. But nothing delights him better than a debate over issues and he is always ready to bow to superior opinion.
The Asiwaju they don’t know takes politics seriously as a vehicle for national reinvention and transformation. Asiwaju prepares with utmost commitment for every election taking every tactical and strategic step to ensure victory. Asiwaju never takes the electorate for granted.
Asiwaju does not enjoy himself. He is not a member of a decadent elite that squander time cruising around the exotic beaches of the world. He is always burning the proverbial midnight oil working every day till the early hours of the morning.
The Asiwaju they don’t know genuinely believes in and loves people and this is not for politics. The Asiwaju they don’t know is ever eager to offer a helping hand to the needy, encourage the weak and raise those who are down. The Asiwaju they don’t know is a wizard in the art and science of financial management and economic rejuvenation.
As a trained Journalist, I am always amazed at the depth of his expertise in the area of accountancy and economics. It is thus no wonder that, he laid the foundation for the Lagos that has become the cynosure of all eyes today. Surely, this man can be a great asset in our bid to get out of the current economic recession, if he eventually becomes the Nigerian number one citizens (President).
For those who have made a vocation of the practice of bashing, insulting, derogating and undermining of Tinubu, I urge them to continue on their path. But they should remember that all those who have done so in the past have lived to regret it. The simple message: Underrate and undermine Asiwaju at your peril. He is what the Yoruba call ‘Akanda Eniyan’ – God’s special creation.
Ibrahim, is a public affairs analyst and commentator, wrote in from 17, Ajanasi Street, off Ajagannabe road, Oke-Posun, Epe, Lagos state.
Can be reached via: firstname.lastname@example.org or 08060799328.
We’ve got to get serious about ending gas flaring in Africa
By NJ Ayuk, Executive Chairman, African Energy Chamber
In an era when Africa needs oil and gas investments more than ever, attracting those investments has become increasingly difficult.
Part of the challenge lies in the mounting pressure on oil companies to shift their focus from exploration and production to investments in renewable energy in response to global emissions-reduction goals.
The perception that African energy assets are more carbon-intensive than average certainly has not helped. I could simply laugh at this absurd claim, point out that our entire continent produces less than 10 percent of global upstream emissions, and move on with my day. As our newly released “The State of African Energy 2024 Outlook Report notes, when compared to other global regions, Africa may not have the lowest oil and gas extraction emissions, but it certainly does not have the highest.
Nevertheless, myths about carbon-intensive African energy assets are hurting our oil and gas industry.
This makes a very real African problem, excessive gas flaring, all the more disheartening.We need to end this practice immediately.
The environmental implications are obvious — if Africa stopped flaring tomorrow, then the continent’s upstream emissions would decrease by half. Flaring releases methane, soot, and nitrous oxide into the atmosphere. Locals who breathe air near flaring sites have complained of poor eyesight, chronic headaches, and difficulty breathing — and those are just the functioning flaring sites. Flaring-related accidents have also led to severe burns and deaths.
Yet despite these horrific effects, the practice continues. Annually, global regions flare enough gas to power all of sub-Saharan Africa. Well-intentioned regulations on flaring often fall short because they don’t address the core problem: When oil developers encounter gas, they must deal with it or risk deadly accidents. Unfortunately, the physics behind compressed gas explosions does not care about government fines or restrictions. For companies that still lack the infrastructure to reinject or transport the gas, flaring isn’t just the safest and cheapest option — it’s the only option. How can states significantly reduce flaring, much less end it?
The answer is simple: Treat the symptom, not the disease. Flaring happens because raw gas is a nuisance to many developers; they lack the resources to reinject or treat, store, transport, and market it. To fight flaring effectively, all actors — from consumers to governments to investors — must embrace natural gas.
I was pleased to see African leaders doing so at COP27, and hope that we continue the momentum. While reinjecting gas into the ground also has its place, I firmly believe that African nations should focus on monetization. Natural gas burns cleaner than any other fossil fuel, generates electricity, and serves as feedstock in fertilizer production. Because it can also power grids in conjunction with developing renewables like wind and solar, it serves as an excellent tool for a green energy transition. More than 600 million Africans subsist without electricity — it’s common sense to use the gas that oil companies would otherwise waste. And those are just the potential domestic uses — as more Western nations seek to divest from Russian gas, they increasingly turn to African exports. The transition from flaring to monetization will not happen overnight, but I am encouraged to see progress from states like Egypt, Nigeria, and Algeria.
Open to Investors
Since 2016, Egypt has reduced its overall gas flaring by 26 percent. Lower flaring often accompanies a corresponding drop in oil production, but that was not the case in Egypt — oil production only lowered by 16 percent during the same period. This 10 percent decrease in flaring intensity owes much to Egypt’s 2017 energy reforms, which gave consumers and private companies access to its national gas grid. (Prior to this change, only its national oil company purchased Egyptian natural gas.) These changes also greatly encouraged foreign investment through practical measures, such as cutting waiting times for permit approval. Since then, Egypt’s natural gas production has risen by over 24 billion cubic meters. The investor-friendly environment also made gas recapture projects possible — both majors like Shell and IOCs Pharos and Apache have successfully implemented flare-to-power projects. Simply put, cutting the red tape and encouraging investment brought Egypt an energy boom — one that enabled greener practices.
Nigeria and Algeria, by contrast, remain two of the largest flarers globally — despite harsh penalties on their books for illegal flaring. However, hope may be on the horizon: Both nations lowered their flaring intensity this year, not just their total flaring volumes. Nigeria-based oil companies have begun using gas to power their operations, and Algeria’s investments in both reinjection and recapture technology are beginning to pay off. While neither sub-Saharan nation is ready to commercialise the recaptured gas, they have taken a valuable step in the right direction.
Breaking the cycle
Gas flaring often comes down to a vicious PR cycle. Faced with environmentalist pressure, investors avoid hydrocarbon projects. Lacking funds and certainty about the future, oil developers shy away from up-front costs of implementing reinjection and recapture technology. Said developers resort to gas flaring, which sparks more bad press.
This self-fulfilling prophecy hurts the entire energy industry, but particularly Africa’s: As we point out in our 2024 Outlook Report, African energy assets face higher scrutiny. However, the narrative has begun to change on natural gas. Many African states have stepped up to help Europe replace Russian gas supplies, and African leaders presented a united front at COP27. There has never been a better time to create operator-friendly policies and treat natural gas as a vital tool. Let’s start by investing in projects that reinject and recapture flared gas. Burning this resource was always harmful and wasteful. In a time of rising gas prices, flaring makes about as much sense as lighting cash — and our planet — on fire.
Ondo: Tinubu’s peace thesis is absolute
By Dr Jimoh Ibrahim
President Bola Tinubu, a liberalist who believes in collaboration and cooperation, has handed over his thesis of absolute peace to politicians in the Ondo state instead of the trending power currency in contemporary politics, which he says is not acceptable according to him. To President Tinubu, there will be beauty in the character if righteousness is in the heart. If there is beauty in the character, there will be harmony in the home. If there is harmony in the home, the nations will have order. When there is order in the nations, there will be peace. He insisted that his Peace thesis is not subject to any amendment.
President Tinubu spoke on the philosophy that nothing can bring peace but yourself. It is left to remember Aketi’s incredible contributions to lifting social development in all sectors, including infrastructural facilities, integrity in governance, economic development, and review of cultural heritage, and the lifting of traditional institutions (there was a time when everywhere was full of celebrations of development), the goods are almost gone. They are not remembered any more, which is the case when realists want power! Aketi never thought that times like the present period would ever exist in our national history, and his voice on national issues is less to be remembered again. Should this be the case?
The realist can do anything to get into power and defend it at any cost, even if it results in anarchy. Alexander Wendt says Anarchy is what states make of it. Realist desire for power is a trajectory dated to the days of Thucydides, Morgenthau and Hobbes to structural (or neo-realism); it is always the case that politics oscillates around the acquisition and use of power. The realist explains realism in circumstances of power accumulation for self-defence in the state of statism. The event in Ondo state, if allowed to mature, will signal the praxis of the realist attributes -recall the Catholic monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain (1479– 1516) expelled 170,000 Jews who refused their order to be ‘baptised.’ Henry VIII of England (1491–1547) imprisoned and executed those who would not sign his Act of Supremacy establishing the English monarch as head of the Church of England, including even his ‘good friend’ Thomas More Louis XIV of France (1638-1715)! The war in Ondo is in the early stages of hot water. We can only see a signal of imminent danger. It is not that the water is hot now. We can play with it for a moment!
What is more, President Tinube removed the fire. The Governor is the Governor. The government apparatus is working. Let’s stop pressing!
The Peloponnesian War is commonly seen as the first depiction of power politics. (Apologies to Thucydides). Yes, all Realists agree that states can only ensure their survival through self-help strategies that allow them to defend themselves and their interests against another state’s aggression. Is Ondo State at war with itself? It matters not to the realist in Ondo if the changes to power distributions are fundamental causes of war and system stability. It is unclear to Aketi that the game of power accumulation in Ondo was contemplated within the system for a long time (the political enemy did not start their plan today). It is not a matter of collaboration or cooperation for democratic peace, as Aketi considered with nostalgia. The realist does not hold sympathy for you if you are sick of remembering your good works in those days when you exerted incredible energy for the service of humanity that regrettably make no sense to the student of power politics but may be a significant thesis for the moral thinking of liberal democratic peace scholars. It is not a matter of regret because there is no need to share interminable inquest over past mistakes, for some of them have lessons to teach for the future.
Liberalist Immanuel Kent, Perpetual Peace 1795-1804, John Locke 1687 -1693 took the desire to encourage collaboration and cooperation in ordering the engagement for peace on their dashboard. To them, democracy and democratic peace agreements are the only ways to ensure human security. This is where Aketi belongs, not for power accumulation for self-defence in the state of statism but, as explained by President Tinubu, democracy as a driver for the peace of humanity.
Yes, it was the liberalism engagement that celebrated the 1648 Treaty of Westphalia. The notion of democracy driving the state is that liberals do not go to war with other liberals. Aketi must have been trapped by the incredible belief of the sellable democratic peace and the deep classical liberal thoughts in his innocent states, for it is no longer the case that liberals do not go to war with another liberal, for things do change!
The events in Ondo state will soon play out the thesis that liberalism is for absolute peace for the security of humanity. It is needless to engage in war for the peace of the state, and the realist that triggers war in Ondo state must be ready for collaboration and cooperation as President Tinubu Posited; in any event, difficult times don’t last long. Ondo state cannot afford to be at war with itself. Regrettably, the realists at the centre of power accumulation in the Ondo state are epiphenomena. We know their master, and it is in the democratic peace arena that we shall be engaging their power by democratic votes! They may get no votes in the reality of a democratic election measurable to the power they need now. Otherwise, they should challenge Aketi in a new election and become the Governor!! President Tinubu took power even when the maximum ruler and the head of the realists in Daura kept petrol and currency from 200 million people! President Tinubu was sure of himself as a liberal democrat.
let us not forget that “politics is a power struggle.” Even in the most hospitable circumstances, the human condition is precarious because we are all unavoidably exposed. Yes, as Hobbes in ‘States of Nature,’ every human being is a potential threat because the struggle for survival in a world of limited resources is a ‘war of all against all,’ Hobbes thought that putting a government in place is an excellent way of guaranteeing security! In a world without a government to enforce order – a condition that Hobbes calls the state of nature – every human must be vigilant against threats to survival. A world without Government, he claims, forces humanity into a constant state of war because there is no way to trust in the excellent or peaceful intentions of others. We must always be on our guard lest we be attacked. This condition – in which no ruler or judge can resolve disputes and establish security – is anarchy. In a lawless world, Hobbes argues that our lives must revolve around survival, leaving no time for agriculture, the arts, or sciences conditions of anarchy; Hobbes says, ‘the life of man [is] solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short”.
As I replied to Hobbes in my PhD War thesis, it is also the case that the Hobbesian phenomenon underscores man’s aggressiveness in the state of nature that requires the leviathan’s intervention. In the face of the Buhari government, Boko Haram created a condition in the Northeast that makes the life of man [is] solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short”—a celebration of the leviathan’s failure.
Aketi case is not that of abuse of power as we saw in Darfur, where Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir was charged by the International Criminal Court (ICC) with war crimes against humanity. There is a Government in Ondo state. Aketi is not the Government but the Head of that Government. We have never had issues with the apparatus of Government and Governance (apologies to the sociologists). Aketi will be back, and this time shall pass!
Senator Jimoh Ibrahim PhD (Cantab) OFR, CFR.
Ibrahim is Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Nigeria at COP28: Separating the facts from fiction
By Temitope Ajayi
The number of delegates from Nigeria attending the ongoing Climate Summit in Dubai otherwise called COP28 has generated a lot of controversies and strong social media conversations in the last 24 hours. It is important to set the record straight and provide some clarity. To begin with, the Summit is tagged COP which means Convention of Parties. The ongoing Summit in Dubai with over 97,000 delegates from more than 100 countries around the world is the 28th in the series since the issue of climate change and action took preeminent stage in global affairs. COP27 took place at Sharm El-Sheikh in Egypt last year.
When the world comes together to take actions on achieving a common goal and proffer collective solutions to a nagging global concern, there are parties involved from government, private sector, civil society, media and multilateral institutions. The people coming together to advance their different agenda and interests from governments, businesses and civil societies are the parties to the convention who represent various shades of opinions and pushing for various mitigating actions.
In Nigeria like so many other countries, interested parties comprising government officials from both the Federal and sub-national governments, business leaders, environmentalists, climate activists and journalists are present in Dubai. Also participating. are agencies of government such as the NNPC and its subsidiaries, Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, NIMASA, NDDC. Many youth organisations from Nigeria especially from the Northern and Niger-Delta regions whose lives and livelihoods are most impacted by desert encroachment and hydrocarbon activities are also represented. The President of Ijaw Youth Council, Jonathan Lokpobiri, leads a pan-Ijaw delegation of more than 15 people who registered as parties from Nigeria. Among delegates from Nigeria are also over 20 journalists from various media houses.
Their participation is very important. It is not for jamboree as it is being mischievously represented on social media.
It is important to state here that delegates from all countries whether from government, private sector, media and civil society groups attend COP summits and conferences as parties and the number of attendees are registered against their countries of origin. This does not mean that they are sponsored or funded by the government. It must be said also that the fact that people registered to attend a conference does not also mean everyone that registered is physically present.
As the biggest country in Africa, biggest economy and one with a bigger stake on climate action as a country with a huge extractive economy, it is a no-brainer that delegates from Nigeria will be more than any other country in Africa.
Among the delegates from Nigeria are UBA Chairman, Tony Elumelu, Abdul Samad Rabiu, Chairman of BUA group, and other billionaires whose businesses are promoting sustainability and climate actions through their philanthropies. These businessmen and women and their staff who came with them to promote their own business interests are part of the 1,411 delegates from Nigeria. Their trip to Dubai is not funded by the Federal Government.
The United Nations Climate Summit, by its very nature, commands attendance of big names from across the world – statesmen and women, politicians, lawmakers, corporate titans, journalists and activists, etc who promote big global agenda. So, people attend the summit for many reasons. And because the climate issue is the biggest global issue of the moment, it is not surprising that over 97,000 people including Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India, King Charles of United Kingdom, Prime Minister of Netherlands, Mark Rutte, U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris, US Special Envoy on Climate Change and former Secretary of State, John Kerry, President Bola Tinubu, United Nations Secretary General, Antonio. Guterres, World Bank President, Ajay Banga, International Monetary Fund President, Kristalina Georgieva, World Trade Organisation Director General, Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, Africa Development Bank President, Akinwumi Adesina, former US Vice President and Nobel Peace Prize Winner, Al Gore and almost 100 Heads of States and Governments converged on Dubai for COP28. It is the first of its kind in the history of the summit because of the importance of climate change to global well-being.
After the opening and national statements by Heads of States which began from November 30 when the summit opened and up until Saturday December 2, 2023, the real work of COP28 which are the technical sessions and negotiations, financing, etc will begin from Monday, December 4 till December 12 where agreements will be reached on many proposals for consideration and ratification by the parties.
Those with sufficient understanding and knowledge on climate matters know that issues around the subject have. layers and multiplicity of factors that require experts from various fields. There are lined-up technical sessions on financing climate actions at sub-national levels, regions and local governments. State Governors from Nigeria such as Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos, Dapo Abiodun of Ogun, Umo Eno of Akwa-Ibom have been really busy with their officials at COP28, making presentations, speaking at panel sessions and pitching some of their sustainability projects to development partners and investors.
Multifaceted stakeholders from different countries including Nigeria are on ground in Dubai because they don’t want decisions that will affect them to be taken without pushing their own agenda. It is the reason delegates from China and Brazil are over 3000 respectively. China is one of the world’s biggest polluters and Brazil is at the centre of global climate debate with her Amazon rainforest. These two countries know important decisions that will affect them will be taken and they have to move everything to be fully on ground and ensure they are fully represented by their best brains at every level of discussion and negotiation.
Like former President Muhammadu Buhari and other African leaders who demanded fair deal and climate justice for Africa at previous UN Climate summits, President Tinubu is leading the charge at COP28 on behalf of Nigeria and the rest of the continent, demanding from the West that any climate decision and action must be fair and just to Africa and Nigeria in particular, especially the debate around energy transition. President Tinubu has been unequivocal in his position that Africa that is battling problems of poverty, security and struggling to provide education and healthcare to her people can not be told to abandon its major source of income which is mostly from extractive industries without the West providing the funding and investment in alternative and clean energy sources. President Tinubu and other officials on the Federal government delegation are in Dubai for serious business not jamboree. Our President has been very busy representing our country well. Since Thursday morning when he arrived in Dubai, President Tinubu has spent not less than 18hours daily in attending very important sessions, pushing our national agenda whilst holding bilateral and business meetings on the sidelines.
Ajayi is Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media & Publicity
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