The Ijaw-Women Connect (IWC) has said that it would not stand by and watch former Minister of Petroleum, Diezani Alison-Madueke, being misquoted and vilified by the press as a result of her recent speech, which it said was frank and audacious.
Alison-Madueke had been in the eye of the storm since she spoke at the inaugural global virtual conference of the Ijaw Women Connect, in partnership with the Ijaw-Nation Development Group (INDG), on Friday August 7, 2020.
She had in her presentation titled: “The Void of Fatherhood: Where are the Ijaw Men”, addressed a growing global trend that affects not just Ijaw men, or Nigerians but young black men around the world.
But, the President IWC-Worldwide, Ms. Rosemary John-Oduone, President of IWC- Worldwide, in a statement on Monday, said Allison-Madueke highly emotional talk, using global statistics and examples of how young men, without the guidance and strong support of a father-figure, many times end up with wrong morals and fall into tragic circumstances in life, “was neither on, or about, Yahoo boys”.
She stated: “The attention of the Ijaw-Women Connect (IWC) has been drawn to the several articles and coverage of our beloved and dear sister, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke’s presentation at the inaugural global virtual conference of the Ijaw Women Connect, in partnership with the Ijaw-Nation Development Group (INDG), on Friday 7th August 2020.
“We hereby wish to state clearly that we will not stand by and watch as she is being misquoted and vilified in the eyes of the press as a result of her speech, which was frank, audacious and topical, addressing the decay of fatherhood in Ijaw land.
“We shall never allow the press or indeed any organization to victimize any Ijaw woman especially our sister who we coaxed out of solitude to demonstrate the character and strength of the Ijaw woman at the conference.”
John-Oduone emphasised that the event was by the Ijaw people; for the Ijaw people, to address Ijaw issues, adding that it was by no means set-out to be a platform for national discourse, bearing in mind that the outcome will also affect the nation positively.
John-Oduone said Allison-Madueke in her presentation, “compassionately called for Ijaw-women to take their place in contributing to Ijaw-Nation development from a point of view of self-reliance and self development.
“To explore the opportunities that participation in politics can present to them to build strong socio-economic structures that will also go a long way to help our young Ijaw men to be more fulfilled in life.”
She noted that guests at the event including former President Goodluck Jonathan as Chairman, as well as Chief Edwin Clark as keynote speaker, among others were proud sons and daughters of Ijaw land, passionate about building a strong, vibrant and successful community.
The president said they have stood against imperial and internal hegemonic forces mounted against the Ijaw people and they have proven the un-breaking strength of the Ijaw spirit.
John-Oduone said the former minister compassionately called on Ijaw-women to take their place in contributing to Ijaw nation development from a point of view of self-reliance and self-development.
She added: “We salute her courage and bravery to come out and answer the call of her people, presenting her strong voice, in spite of the travails she faces, which we know are only mere distractions that will not quench the fire that burns in her for the betterment of her people and the nation as a whole.
“Let us remind the venomous naysayers that our daughter is a proud but not arrogant Ijaw woman. Daughter of a King of Bayelsa. A fighter, that has and will continue to work for the development of the Ijaw nation and the growth of our great nation.
“This is a woman that is soundly educated in the best global institutions. An accomplished first ever and only female Executive Director on the African continent of the global conglomerate, Shell Petroleum Development Company Nigeria.”
John-Oduone said Allison-Madueke was the first and still the only woman to have become President of the global oil cartel the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Country (OPEC) and also the first and only female President of the Ministerial Meeting, of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum(GECF).
She noted that the former minister was also three times minister in Nigeria, becoming the first and only female minister in the highly challenged and controversy-ridden Ministry of Petroleum Resources.
John-Oduone said it was in the sector that her reformist audacity as a female in a male dominated society came into the public gaze, adding that her determination to attempt reforms, drive better terms for Nigeria, as well as for businesses in the sector and introduce transparency, made her persona-non-grata.
The Ijaw-Women Connect also listed the former minister’s achievements. The statement read: “While in office, she made a strong push for far-reaching institutional reforms in the industry. And the current propaganda war against her is, to a large extent, a result of her determination to depart from the norm, attempting reforms that no government, in
years, had ever dared in areas, such as:
“Nigeria’s criminal oil subsidy, where she directed the January 2012 deregulation and were, in early 2012, she single-handedly removed 90 wealthy throughput oil marketers suspected of round-tripping and by so doing cut the nations subsidy payments by virtually 50%, overnight. She received various death threats but remained resolute.
“The total reworking of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) and within it, the pulling apart of the NNPC and the Regulatory body. To make them open to equity participation from the Nigerian public, to ensure that they would become less powerful, more transparent and more accountable to a shareholding nation.
“The Nigerian oil and gas industry she met was structured in an institutionally unaccountable arrangement, that places Nigeria as Operator, Owners and Regulators in an opaque Joint Venture with global multi-national Partnerships that not only lack probity environmentally and financially but are entirely predatory to the Ijaw resource owner communities.
“She pushed reform in these shark-infested waters through a Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) intended to address these concerns and to also, incrementally, resolve expropriated customary rights of ownership to property, in resources of our community.
“The pushing through of the Nigerian Content Act and ensuring that it’s statutes were fully implemented. Giving Nigerians from all walks of life the Right of First Refusal in the Downstream Service sector of the nations vast oil and gas
resources. To the great economic benefit of the Nigerian Nation and it’s economy.
“It is to Dr. Mrs. Alison-Madueke’s credit that the Nigerian Content Development Policy in the oil and gas Industry, now yielding its early fruit, was established. The Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board and it’s newly commissioned complex in Yenegoa, Ijaw land, are all her legacy.
“Her proposals to open-up the refineries for private sector equity participation and her plans for the privatisation of the nations three oldest refineries. Dr. Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke sought to change the fortunes of Nigeria through the Gas Master Plan.
“She cancelled the Chinese contracted Greenfield Refineries Plan when she found out that the loan terms were far too stringent and that the expected
equity participation by the lenders was non-existent.
“Diezani stoutly ensured, against all push-backs, that the expected fuel scarcity became a thing of the past. She went across party lines and ensured equity in the distribution of PMS, in order that the Nigerian public would not suffer fuel scarcity. For the first time in years there was fuel all over Nigeria. In fact, for
the 5 years up to 2015, the top 10 recipient companies, in terms of quantity, of PMS allocations, were simply the companies that had the greatest number of petrol stations across the country. Not political, or business allies.
“These and many other wide ranging reforms to the Oil & Gas Industry sector made her many enemies, some of whom are still active today. It is perhaps these efforts that earned her the constant media-style persecution that is primed to arouse Nigeria’s popular propensity for drama. A typical witness to this was the manipulative narrative of a purportedly missing $58billion oil and gas revenue.
“This targeted drama was deliberate and a product of buccaneering politics, tailored and aimed to capture Nigeria and sustain the predatory hold on her. Incidentally, she was finally accused of misappropriating $20billion. She was accused of spending that money, on illegal subsidy payments. Dr. Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke was a stickler for conforming to due process and at all times, she ensured that she was subject to and covered by, legal written directives.
“The result of a detailed forensic investigation also
revealed that there was no illegality regarding the subsidy payments. They were paid as directed and she moved for full deregulation in January 2012.
There are all kinds of wild allegations and stories thrown out, as if they were facts, by the media today with all manners of figures but none of them – not one – has ever been proved against her! Instead unsubstantiated allegations against her have been plastered all over the press.
“Our sister even asked to be joined in charges a couple years ago and was prepared to return, if possible, in order to defend her name and this was refused by the EFCC and the Nigerian courts! Her main accusers, in the form of the EFCC, are currently even now facing far more grievous financial misappropriation charges themselves. So, let no one call her guilty. If there are any charges against her, then let us wait for them to be answered in court – no one can be guilty until it is proven! This is the law. We hereby call on all press-men to maintain their institutional integrity and please report the facts not fiction.”