By Isaac Olusesi
The dividing line between one and significant others as well as the limits one can violate must be the defining factor in Nigeria’s Constitution 5th Alteration (No. 45) Act that forces the submittal of the names of Minister, Commissioner-nominees, respectively to the National Assembly (NASS) and State Houses of Assembly for confirmation within 60days after the date the President or State Governor takes oath of office.
The constitutional timeframe validity, meant to guide against any interruptions in the administration of government business as assented to by former President Mohammad Buhari in March, 2023, ironically became an indictment on him, justified by his 5months’ wait to the constitution of his cabinet after he assumed office in 2015. The insensitivity, odd enough, that came full circle in the corollary, remains the bull’s-eye to the evaluation of his government as inept and slow, resultant to the violation of democratic order, paradoxically, dangerous and inhibitive in a country faced with mounting multiple challenges in economy, politics and security, compellingly to be addressed.
And as if Buhari’s flair for debilitating wait and the crippled salutary effects of the coalition of cabinet developmental deliberations, decisions and policies on our democracy were anything, a good capacity route map to healing the nation, the immitative Osun State Governor Ademola Adeleke impeded his cabinet, awkwardly for 60days, marked ticklish, by the interval between Friday, September 18, 2023 when the maiden meeting of the cabinet was held and July 19, 2023 when the cabinet was, in fact, swore in; and that he brazenly did, laced with diversionary lie, bizarre, on his predecessor in office.
NASS must come, visiting on Adeleke and other state governors in his ilk with another Constitution Alteration Act to impel or compel governors to make their cabinets hold the first meeting within a constitutionally specified period of time after inauguration. Consequently, and without maneuverings geared up by governors’ executive fiat, the state cabinet or state executive council (Exco) members will assume real deliberative responsibilities; pace themselves, connected to productive results; and understand, cabinet participation or involvement stands to be aided by useful information from _’the cabinet must hold its first meeting_ ‘ demanders, visibly made up of Osun patriotic citizens, other utility sources, considered germane to government and governance, for impact on the governed.
In Osun, government has a ring of tragic irony around its neck for its political blitzkrieg, putting all manner of obstructions in the way of the state. By the very many paradoxes, inherent in the government, utterly unresolved and unresolvable, appropriating the task of mobilizing falsehood against truth, partisan wrangling is drawn out. The government lied, a thundering, ear blocking lie, unpolished from the flotsam and jetsam of damaged truth, detritus of misinformation or disinformation, debris of unprovable allegations, and chunks of noises, uploaded to its public communication management.
Strangely, the lie that came with the most embarrassingly damaging link, reference or comparison to the former Osun Governor Gboyega Oyetola, now Hon. Minister of Marine & Blue Economy, was mustered by government’s politicians and politics, untidy; and made worst by Adeleke who openly slammed his cabinet failure to hold its maiden meeting after inauguration, so long a stretch of 60days wait after inauguration, on his predecessor in office as he said, “Oyetola who left office before I came in did not hold his cabinet inaugural meeting until November 4.” That was Adeleke’s subtle manipulation to manoeuvre self into a favourable position on what became a critical issue of critical interest to the Osun critical publics, but the brittle, frangible defence insinuated that it took the former governor one year to hold his cabinet first meeting after the inauguration of the cabinet.
The loop of the lie to Oyetola only acquired the reputation and attribute of incomprehensibility until refutation, evidential and well reasoned, from Oyetola’s side punctured the lie and pulled the loop down from its pedestal of falsehoods and noises to the denizen of shame. Contrastingly, the former governor actually held his first cabinet meeting 11days after the cabinet was inaugurated, records in the Cabinet Office, Office of the Governor, Bola Ige House, Osogbo, state capital, stated.
The lie that ought not to have been in place at all was the altercation recently, in Osun, over how ought not public communication to be handled by the government, a terrific ascent into inglorious heights, and had to do, in particular, with the timespan between when Adeleke inaugurated his cabinet and when the maiden meeting of the cabinet should hold. Of course, yes, not one cabinet meeting was ever held until the 60th day after the induction of the cabinet. That was the bone of contention picked by the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state and the party gave itself over, took the plunge and geed on, geed up other stakeholders in the Osun survival that dealt with the situation without hesitation. In other words, the state APC, cut the ground from under government’s feet, and had other stakeholders across political parties, mobilized down to the ground. And good, no one at grips with one another to have had the gordon nut cut in the spirited bid that forced the Osun cabinet debut its meeting. Last Friday.
Alack and alas, the government kept its ground, headstrong, but reluctantly yielded to the demand of the electorate when it ought to have promptly from onset, invoked an unassuming analysis of factors that had influenced the state new cabinet away from holding its inaugural meeting, held on to the most profitable, indicative of future electoral gains and craved the understanding of the governed. Adeleke could do that with or without organizing free meals and gifts for journalists. That way, the trio of issue clarification, government’s integrity and self personal trustworthiness would have been effectively served through strategic public communication
The lie, the maneuver or propaganda is a crude form of public communication which distorted or falsified facts on Osun government’s worst deferment of its new cabinet’s first meeting, with the governed, manipulated, confused and maneuvered by sentiments or emotions wipped up to scare them away from the critical standpoint that depicted the the three pronged public verdict here.
One, teleologically, the effective administration of the state rests on the cabinet deliberations and decisions, and requires that the cabinet must be forced to hold its first meeting to see the state new cabinet members in their capacity, role or action, deliberation wise as Honourable members of the state executive council, showing first appearance; two, sociologically, the image of the government and its driver, Adeleke in the eyes of internal and external assessors is at peril; and three, politically, opposition parties are wont to see the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) government party set on its toes, doing or fulfilling its electioneering campaign promises to the electorate.
Government’s public communication management presently in Osun, is erroneously about noises with the proficiency of stubborn customers at popular markets around, far more intensely consequential and the better, so it’s thought, albeit wrongly, with the public communication handler’s inordinate pride in the number of times the government gets mentioned in the press. A vivid example of poor peddling. In the matter, the governed in Osun are not vulnerable to what Antonia Gramsci (1891-1937) called “the war of maneuver” in one of his several writings on the political unrests in Italy, following the Russian Revolution of 1917. Gramsci, member of a lower middle class family at Ales, the Italian Island of Sardinia, was an Italian Communist Party leader, Maxist political theorist and a Journalist for a Socialist Newspaper, ‘AVANT.’ He attended University of Turin, founded in 1404.
The maneuver, to be mild, propaganda, too much common with the government public communication caretakers in Osun is more often than not, for bad reasons by frivolous claims, not infrequently in the press and public space, in contradistinction to helping the government build and sustain credible and reputable relationships with strategic publics and de-escalate costs of conflicts. This would favourably affect the government on its delivery of planned developmental policies, programmes and projects, other democracy dividends for the betterment of the governed. All of that is possible by strict adherence to the well known ethics of public communication, entrenched not in noises and falsehoods or lies, but in the compelling truth and sincerity, the traditional techniques of the profession of Public Relations that restores confidence in the publics.
Otherwise, the contextual tendency in Osun could, with gay abandon, boomerang to cause the image of the person of Adeleke and his PDP government tumbled in the negative reactions to public communication, especially, if discovered to be unimportant to justify the government’s decibel of noises of maneuver, propaganda, sewn together with the thread of _journalese_, naturally, a direct antithesis, long ago, to the corporate integrity and profundity of public communication management. Osun, certainly, can no longer stand the government’s karats or nuggets of drivel and babel.
The scenario of the Osun cabinet’s first meeting held up for 60days is unprecedented in the faculty of popular knowledge of democracy, its liberalization and communication, with its diverse publics, knitted, in the sequence of the sophistication of the practice of democracy, to knowing why such naughty, nasty stagnation in the governance of the state, and why the government, being financed through the electorate’s hard earned incomes in the name of taxations has become the unilateral affairs of just Adeleke and cohorts, kept close to the chest.
And why marginalization and victimization, the twin evils of political unilateralism should be permitted in Osun government that is believed to be a product of ‘the votes of the masses,’ howbeit arguably. It’s not for nothing that a faction of Adeleke’s men and women in his governing PDP had expressed fear at a press conference, penultimate Tuesday, in Osogbo, state capital, that the party might lose Osun to the opposition APC if Adeleke wouldn’t get in gear and grasp the nettle to give up on the trending intra partisanship, victimization in the state PDP and its bad governance in the state.
Understanding the differential between good and bad governance in Osun is the aptitude for clear and effective public communication that is predicated on positive actions and tailored to the bottom-line of anticipated specific results to influence public attitudes, opinions and behaviours. And by that, a good image, good fame, good influence, good standing, good honour or prominence, reputation and credibility in terms, could be built. Certainly, not through propaganda, the government’s well oiled machine.
The pyramid or monolith of the propaganda is enough to have caused the Osun chief executive officer lose sleep over the imminence of his government’s noises, propagandas and maneuverings that have continued to put a huge question mark on the believability of the government but that is, only, if CEO or anyone around him has ever heard that Imelda, wife of Marcos, the strongman of the Republic of Philippines once traced her husband’s illness to a malignant affliction of noises by his lieutenants. Official noisemakers, globally, are into heinous and treacherous crime who must have a noose dangling above their recalcitrant heads.
Mr Osun Governor, public communication under you is propaganda, maneuver, ensnared in careless lies, that misleads or misinforms the governed. Adeleke needs not be cynical and his public communication handlers, not ignorant about this: effective management of public communication will build reputation for his government to the acknowledgement of its internal and external publics, if he’s self cautioned against maneuverings, propaganda and lies.
But government, governance in Osun, under your watch presently, is still a far cry, not yet started, productively. There cannot be any credibility should you continue to buy into maneuverings, such other nasties. And government’s metabolism cannot get really kick-started; its energy, passive and unboosted; and positive tone for good governance, unaligned. And your government will get tagged as irresponsible, an inefficient and non credible player in democracy just as your public image erarns low rating that translates to low confidence, low goodwill, low political patronage and low peaceful, low stable governance. And these negative images stick into the next general elections.
If this piece offends Osun government, please, execuse me. When is it decided that whoever thinks otherwise, away from the government, in a democracy, must be either a traitor or an incurable malcontent?
OLUSESI writes via email@example.com (0806 168 5186 SMS only)
Africa will need pragmatism not idealism to achieve a just energy transition
By NJ Ayuk, Executive Chairman, African Energy Chamber
Western leaders often urge African nations to make a rapid transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources. They seem to think that African nations can switch to renewable power sources fairly easily, as if a good energy infrastructure was already in place.
But this is not the case in Africa, where roughly half of the population lacks access to electricity. Far too many of our people can’t buy milk from a refrigerated grocery aisle, do schoolwork after sunset, or get an X-ray at their local hospital. Right now, those 620 million souls don’t need green electricity — they need electricity, period. Then there are the 900 million Africans who lack clean cooking fuel. For them, cooking with wood, charcoal, and even waste, is part of daily life. So is walking up to 20 hours a week to gather these fuels—and the dramatic health risks associated with inhaling smoke from cooking.
The sheer urgency of these situations demands that we prioritise a reliable grid first and everything else second.
Contrast this with the United Kingdom and United States, where the majority of homes have been energized since 1930 and 1960, respectively. Currently, Britain generates 41 percent of its electricity from renewable sources, and the U.S. recently saw its renewable generation outpace coal. Worthy milestones, but let’s not forget that both nations had already been enjoying and expanding their fossil fuel-based grids for nearly a century. They spent decades industrializing and building robust infrastructure before implementing successful green policies. I don’t believe that every single African state must follow the same timeline, especially as renewable technology improves. I do, however, ask long-industrialized nations to consider the vast differences between their energy landscapes and ours.
Many Western states supplement their grids with wind or solar but ultimately rely on natural gas, oil, or coal. Take the U.S., which generates 60 percent of its electricity with fossil fuels and 21 percent with renewables. The hard truth remains: Fossil fuels are still more reliable.
How much more reliable? Natural gas has a capacity factor of 65 percent, which means that gas-powered plants operate at full power 65 percent of the time. Contrast that with wind and solar, which operate at 36 percent and 25 percent, respectively. In other words, these renewables are about half as reliable as natural gas.
Asking developing nations to ignore natural gas is essentially requesting that they ignore half their power capacity. It’s a declaration that Africans deserve half the energy, half the standard of living, and half the safety of their Western peers.
It’s admirable and forward-thinking that many modern states supplement their grids with wind or solar. However, when panels crack or wind farms fail, their people have the luxury of falling back on a safe, reliable, and established fossil fuel grid. It’s significantly easier to make an existing network eco-friendly than it is to build a green one from the ground up. Once Africans have universal access to electricity, climate-centric conversations will be much more welcome.
Africa contains 70 percent of the least developed nations in the world. Only one state – South Africa – is fully industrialised. It’s one thing to hear these statistics, and quite another to make decisions on the ground of a developing nation. I believe that many talented, well-meaning Western thinkers simply aren’t accustomed to the fiscal environment that African leaders operate in.
For example, consider the logistics behind solar panels. In the U.S., it can cost anywhere from USD15,000 to USD35,000 to purchase and install a panel — and that’s not counting the upfront costs of fixing a roof that’s not solar-ready, the recurring cleaning and maintenance fees, or replacing the panels every 20 to 30 years.
And for undeveloped areas, those fees are just the tip of the iceberg. Even in a scenario where a subsidy pays for every single panel, transporting them (via gas-powered engines, seeing as we don’t have the grid to support electrical vehicles) to their destinations becomes ruinous — there are no reliable trains or roads in our poorest areas. The labor costs of finding people to install, repair, and replace the panels also add up.
Once these panels are magically purchased, installed, and repaired, the biggest problems still remain: Storing and transmitting the energy. Even first-world nations have not overcome the technological hurdles of creating reliable, long-term batteries and long-distance transmission for renewable plants. Developing, much less implementing, that infrastructure will entail staggering expenses even for an industrialised nation.
I do not say this to discourage solar solutions as a whole— the technology has great potential for Africa, which contains 60 percent of the world’s best solar resources. My point is simply that, as of now, widespread renewable energy use is not realistic for most developing nations. Our capital is limited, and we need to invest it in more tried and true solutions.
Attracting foreign investment into Africa is difficult enough under the best of circumstances. Despite the enormous potential of our natural resources and growing population, investors often put African projects on the chopping block first. As we point out in our 2024 Outlook Report, the ratio between actual greenfield spending and potential spending remains concerningly low. And those numbers only involve investments into tried and true fossil fuel exploration — pouring billions of dollars of capital solely into renewables is an even less feasible venture. When it comes to renewables, we’re dealing with relatively fragile and unreliable technology, along with the challenges of high startup costs, poor infrastructure, and urgent energy needs.
For activists who refuse to believe this economic reality, I invite them to reread the financial pledges made by developed states at COP15. Wealthy nations acknowledged the transition challenges facing developing nations and pledged USD100 billion by 2020 to help them fight climate change. Thirteen years later, the real spending value came in around $24.5 billion. Climate promises do not often survive first contact with a checkbook.
Solar, wind, hydroelectric, green hydrogen, and geothermal energy have vital roles to play in Africa’s future — but it is ludicrous to suggest that our developing nations go 100 percent renewable before Western nations manage it first. Our current humanitarian, infrastructure, and financial situations require actionable solutions that will reward investors.
Natural gas has supported the West’s grocery stores, hospitals, and schools for decades — let’s use our abundant reserves to do the same.
World leaders saw approximately 2.3 million people dying each year from COVID-19 and acted accordingly. Swathes of the globe locked down for months, shut down businesses, and changed social routines. Today, nations continue to pour millions of dollars into revamping their public health infrastructure. Policymakers advocate changes in medicine, law, and even culture to cope with the crisis.
Meanwhile, approximately 1.1 million Africans die each year from using hazardous cooking fuel. In other words, from 2020-2023, unsafe fuel caused at least half as many deaths as COVID. Why don’t more world leaders treat energy poverty with a fraction of the urgency, compassion, and resources that they put into COVID containment?
Simply put, energy poverty is a humanitarian crisis. That is why African leaders will continue to advocate for the most pragmatic solutions possible, particularly natural gas. This plentiful, clean-burning, tried-and-tested resource remains our best tool to tackle energy poverty. I urge investors to embrace gas, and I encourage the global community to respect African leaders’ commitment to using every means possible, including our petroleum resources, to meet Africans’ needs.
Osun: Unraveling Governor Adeleke’s deceptive style of governance
By Waheed Adekunle
Lies, they say, run faster and is more contagious than the truth. And there is a Yoruba Adage that says ‘two people can’t be fooled with lies; if the person lied to doesn’t know he’s being fooled, the person lying knows he is lying.’
A lie, in whatever coloration, be it white or black, is always sarcastic.
This is a perfect aphorism to describe the blatant lies that characterised the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)-led government in Osun State under the leadership of Senator Ademola Adeleke, since assuming office in the last one year.
Assuming office with a vengeful mission, the government had left no one in doubt of its penchant for lies, which has become a norm among the political gladiators and members of the ruling class.
As ‘hypocrisy is said to be the highest compliment to virtue, the art of lying is the strongest acknowledgment of the force of truth,’ hence the need to unravel the hypocritical style of governance in the ‘State of the Living Spring’ in the last few months.
Since a lie told often is enough to become the truth, it is also imperative to expose to the world some of those lies that the incumbent government had told to brainwash, deceive and hoodwink unsuspecting citizens.
A dispassionate assessment of the happenings around the government shows clearly that, the administration of Governor Ademola Adeleke, has been thriving on propaganda, deceit and unchecked impunity since the inception, as one could deduce infractions in the art of governance.
The Adeleke government’s penchant for lies and engrained fraudulent claims on nonexistent performance being used to sustain its dubious nature in governance had become a monster to the wheel of progress of the state in the last one year.
Too many to mention, but for the purpose of necessity, and for those that have been practically deceived by inherent treachery, sophistry and political demagoguery that engulfed and permeated every stratum of the government in the state, I will strive to mention but a few.
If we could remember vividly, the Adeleke-led government, on the assumption of office, promised to right the self-acclaimed wrongs of the past and set the state on the path of growth, development and sustainability, alas! the same government has been wallowing in its self-afflicted retrogressive backwardness gradually consuming the state and running it aground.
The instrumentality of the Adeleke government’s ‘Executive Order’ which was built on the pillar of lies had become the stumbling block to the fortunes of the state judging from its adverse effects, particularly on the collective fates of the harmless and innocent revered traditional rulers that were unjustly suspended from the thrones of their forebears.
The lie told by the Adeleke’s government was about the assurance given, to unravel what culminated into the appointment of the monarchs vis-a-vis the need to make public, the report of the review committee within six months of being constituted, alas, neither the government, nor the said review committee had come up with a white, black or any paper for that matter up until now.
The most unfortunate part of the ugly occurrence, remains that, the victims who were arbitrarily suspended due to palpable ineptness and malfeasance on the part of Governor Adeleke led-government did not know their fates up until now as they have been subjected to ridicule having patiently waited all along for the outcomes of the acclaimed review committee over a year.
Similarly, Adeleke’s government had practically failed in its responsibility to make official up until now, the reports of the Ad-hoc Review Committees on Ilesa University and the fathom recommendations that informed the government’s decision to appoint the new Governing Council and Pioneer Vice Chancellor for the institution.
In spite of the Adeleke’s government empty promise to unravel the perceived self-serving mystery leading to the appointment of 30 Permanent Secretaries by his predecessor – Adegboyega Oyetola, it had yet to make public the reason for the sack of the bureaucrats up until now, neither was it able to fulfill its promise on them.
The reasons for sacking 20,000 volunteers of the Osun Youth Empowerment Scheme (OYES) still remains a puzzle to discerning citizens who have been patiently waiting for the government to make public ‘white paper’ justifying the government’s action.
We can as well recall that no report has been made public as promised by Governor Adeleke on the arbitrary sack of the close to 3,000 food vendors inaugurated for home-grown school feeding by the erstwhile administration, ditto the case of the recruited health workers, among other state government employees in the last one year.
Governor Adeleke who dashed the hopes of the suspended Executive Secretary of the Osun State Health Insurance Scheme ‘OHIS,’ Osun State Primary Health Management Board; Rector Osun State Polytechnic; State Chairman of the Osun State Independence Electoral Commission; Chairmen and members of the State Statutory Commissions, among other through his obnoxious Executive Order, is yet to make public, the report of the review committees as falsely promised.
The peak of the lie of Adeleke’s government was in the recent disclosure made by the Governor’s spokesperson, Mr. Olawale Rasheed, that his principal traveled overseas to engage foreign investors on the need to invest massively in the state. An assertion that is just a figment of their imagination.
It would be recalled that, Rasheed in the statement, noted that the Governor had embarked on a Working Vacation to Europe and Asia as part of effort to advance the cause of the state in multinational corporations.
The statement which was issued on 25th of November, 2023, quoted the Governor to have said the Working Vacation was aimed to finalise partnership deals with investors and development partners.
According to the Governor, “This is democracy. My masters are Osun people who elected me into office and to whom I am surely accountable. My trip is however a working one as I will be meeting foreign partners who are eager to join several sectors of our state economy.”
However, going by Mr Governor’s assertions, one would have thought that the state will be on the verge of total socioeconomic turnaround, but quite unfortunate, the whole scenario appears to be a ruse and blatant lie sold to the public.
Since the Governor’s departure, neither himself, nor the government, has shown any evidence of what the governor went overseas to do, as there was no picture of any business partnership or multilateral ties between the state and any of the much-talked investors, up until now.
While it is understandable that the Governor can embark on a vacation for obvious reasons, it is also incumbent on him to oblige the citizens his whereabouts with genuine reason not by fallacy.
For a government that claims to be transparent and prudent, one would wonder why the public are still kept in the dark of who-and-who are on the list of the governor’s entourage to Europe and Asia as painted up until now.
Since the trip is made possible on the treasury of the state, the citizens deserve to know what, worth and cost to be incurred, if truly and indeed, the Adeleke’s government is sincere with its self-acclaimed accountability and transparency.
Up until now, no one knows the number of the government officials on the governor’s entourage and the cost implication of same on the commonwealth of the state in the last few days since the trip was announced.
The general concern of the discerning citizens at the moment, is that the meagre resources of the state are being wasted on unprofitable voyage.
It is therefore not out of place to infer and conclude that the Adeleke government has been thriving on lies forgetting that it takes someone to tell 101 lies to cover-up a lie.
Though the opposition party had earlier busted the purported Governor’s Working Vacation claims, challenging him to tell the citizens the truth of his trip abroad rather than lumping it to business partnerships.
Some of the questions agitating the minds are; why has the Adeleke government chosen lies as fundamental in all it does? Why has the current administration been ridiculing the state by its imminent expeditions riddled with lies and propaganda? Must Adeleke’s government lie? What is the essence of the trip to Asia and Europe that the governor claimed to have embarked on, especially on the economy of the state? How many foreign investors have come from the same continents to bid business relations with Osun in the last one year of Adeleke’s administration? What does the state stand to gain from the fruitless trip? These and many more are thirsty for responses.
Anyway, the government should be reminded that ‘a building plastered with saliva will disintegrate under the morning dew.’
It is high time for the concerned citizens, particularly the stakeholders, to rise to the occasion which if not averted could drift our beloved state to the path of destruction. While it is also sine qua non for the elders to further show interest in the way and manner the affair of the state is being run under the current administration, so also, it is imperative to checkmate the unchecked impunity, profligacy, malfeasance and frivolity that thriving in the state in the last one year of Governor Adeleke’s government.
As we are curiously waiting for the day the foreign investors would be unveiled, it is pertinent to implore the state government to stop telling lies and return to the path of truthfulness, transparency, accountability, decency, honesty and probity bequeathed unto it by the immediate past administration of former Governor Adegboyega Oyetola.
No matter the acceleration and speedy pace of a lie, even if it travels for a thousand years, truth will definitely catch up with it in just a day!
May God bless our dear State!
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.
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