INTERVIEW: Our business, our role in oil and gas ministry – Delta oil commissioner, Amgbaduba

Prince Emman Amgbaduba is the Delta state commissioner for oil and gas. Interview with journalists in his office in Asaba, Amgbaduba speaks on the business concerns of oil and gas ministry in Delta state. AUSTIN OYIBODE, EDITOR of Emeraldng.com was there.

Excerpts:

You were PDP Delta south chairman, what other positions have you held before becoming commissioner?

My name is Prince Emman Amgbaduba. I was SA to His Excellency on Foreign affairs. I also served as member of the state scholarship board. I was also privileged to serve as second member of Delta State Basic Education Board, re-appointed first member of the board. Later I became state vice chairman and chairman PDP Delta south.
I also served in other numerous sub-committees in different capacities within the party to ensure victory at all levels for our great party. And by the grace of God, today I am the Delta state commissioner for oil and gas. I have also been involved in the private sector both at home and abroad. This is the best way I think I can summarize my previous experiences.

Now, what is the scope of your duty as commissioner for oil and gas?

It’s a very large one but having said that it can be summarised to say that it is to create a conducive atmosphere for oil companies operating within our state so that they operate within the scope of the law while trying to maximize profit and carrying the host communities along. It ensures that our local content is carried along. These are things we can produce here, in terms of labour and supplies.

We have a lot of pipelines running through our state. It is our responsibility to ensure that the pipelines are maintained, whether federal or privately owned and to avoid bunkering. The scope is wide. But it can be summarised to mean creating a conducive environment for oil operating companies to operate within the confines of the law. We want the government to also have the benefit of operations by way of corporate social responsibilities to communities.

Are there levels of special collaborations between the state and the federal government?

Yes, the state is part of the federal government, so the ministry of oil and gas works in collaboration with the federal minister of petroleum. But having said that, the state recognizes the fact that it is proper for us to have GMOUs within fields of operations.

For example, Chevron has periodic GMOUs with youths to have an understanding between themselves and the host communities so as to ensure a peaceful atmosphere. So, there is a collaboration between the state, the federal government, the host communities and the oil firms operating within our areas.

There has been relative calmness and peace in the state in relation to youth restiveness in oil producing areas. How is the government sustaining the peace?

The peace we are enjoying in the state has been the good work of our governor. He has created an enabling environment for peace to reign. I give you an example, OML 42 has a disconnect about a week ago and the governor gave us a marching order to intervene immediately and within four days, that was resolved and the community is happy, the oil companies are happy. So, we don’t allow issues to get to that climax before we nip them in the bud. So, the peace we are enjoying now is a result of the proactive nature of our governor and the staff of the ministry.

What is the level of oil production now in the state?

That is a very good question. But please put it in writing to me and I will reply you.

Every administration has a set of goals to achieve, are there specific directives from the governor on set goals for the ministry?

There is but I won’t tell you. That is a conversation between me and my boss. And when there is need for us to address the press I will tell you but for fear of sabotage, since we have been enjoying peace, like the Warri man will say ‘I no trust you,’ those directives from His Excellency is a conversation between me and him. I suggest to him mechanisms to help achieve those objectives and as we achieve them, they will come out by way of continuous peace and improvement of quota of oil production in our state.

As you know we are number one right now in terms of oil production in the south south area of the country and we intend to keep it that way. So, those directives he has given to me to ensure the peace and security we are enjoying, they are secrets and I intend to keep them in line with my oath of office.

We are aware that many oil firms have moved their head offices out of the Niger Delta, we have also heard of directives for them to return but many have not returned. What is the situation?

I’m happy you said many are coming back while some have not come back. Coming back to the peace we are enjoying in Delta state, the oil companies are not fools, they know and can see that Delta state is very peaceful and safe. And by themselves they are making efforts to come back.

As they come we will see. The era of divide and rule has passed. You know we are a rainbow state, rainbow in the sense that we have various ethnic groups in the state, yet we are moving together peacefully.

So, these oil firms know that the place is now very peaceful and as economists say, companies are sited close to sources of raw materials, so they know that they have to come back to Delta where the raw materials are coming from and we are quite ready to welcome them.

I want to seize this opportunity to appeal to the various IOCs operating within the state to say that we are safe, we are open for business, you are welcome to either the city of Warri or Sapele. We are peaceful and ready to accommodate all of them.

On August 27, Delta state celebrated 28 years of creation. What do you have to say about Delta state?

First thing I want to say congratulations to Delta state for attaining 28 years of statehood. So many other states were created the same time with us but I don’t think they have attained the same level we have attained. You cannot classify Delta to be a one city state. There are many cities that qualify to be the capital of Delta state. Asaba, Warri, Agbor, Sapele, Ughelli and many more others can be state capitals.

You can see that the development is going round the 25 local government areas in the state. So, we have done well. We can only hope and pray that we continue to be peaceful and remain united as a people to allow our governor to continue to put down plans for a stronger Delta.

Now sir, there is peace in the state, what do you tell the youths in the former restive areas on how to sustain the peace in the state?

The first line of action for every youth to survive is to have a trade, whether you are educated or have like people say, hand work. Opportunities will come but you have to be ready to accept the opportunities. So, as a state, we have a scholarship programme, YAGEP, and so many other empowerment programmes put in place by the state governor for youths and when one youth is empowered, there is multiplier effect by way of employment creation.
Again, part of the peace you are getting now by cooperation from the youths is a result of the removal of development syndrome. That ‘deve’ thing has been removed by law in Delta state and the Delta youths are very educated, they are not stupid. They know that when something is enacted into law, they have to obey.

How do you balance politics with administrative leadership?

They run hand in hand. In terms of running administration, you must work in a way that everyone is carried along. Consultations are periodically carried out. If you don’t balance it out, it could affect you politically and administratively. So, you need to maintain a fair balance and be proactive. Sample opinions, get feedbacks and take necessary actions when the need arises.

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