A Coalition Of Civil Society Organizations working in Extractive Sector has called on the Federal Government to speedly approve the nomination of Prof. Mina Ogbanga into the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) National Stakeholders Working Group (NSWG) for quality representation.
Executive Director, Peering Advocacy & Advancement Center in Africa (PAACA), Ezenwa Nwagwu and the Executive Director, Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), Auwal Musa-Rafsanjani made the call while briefing newsmen on Thursday, February 16, 2023 in Abuja.
TheFact Daily gathered that the CSOs had complained to the Federal Government of a lapse in the previous process of nomination of their member, Mr Peter Egbule into the NEITI Board, therefore, appealed for a remedy.
They requested that whoever represents on NEITI Board must emerge through a process and recommended to the President of Nigeria for consideration and appointment.
Expectedly, the process was reviewed through a committee constituted by the NEITI and NSWG.
Following the committee’s recommendation, the Federal Government through the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation reversed itself and requested the CSOs to commence and conduct a process to fill the gap.
As a result of Mr Peter Egbule’s resignation, the NEITI NSWG convened a meeting of the Civil Society on the 25th of January 2023 and requested the civil society to commence a process to elect a replacement of Mr Egbule.
5-Man Committee headed by a former member of the NSWG and a former member of the Global EITI international Board, Ms Faith Nwadishi was set up to midwife the process of election of a civil society representative in the NSWG.
The process of voting commenced on Thursday 2nd March 2023 with 68 organisations participating in the process. The process of voting ended at midnight on Sunday 5th of March, 2023.
After this painstaking process, Professor Mina Ogbanga, a well known environmental activist and education for all advocate from the oil-rich Niger Delta was elected to represent the Civil Society on the NEITI NSWG.
However, after the election that saw the participation of about 68 CSOs, some were dissatisfied with the process.
Briefing the Press on the development, Mr Nwagwu said, those that are complaining “approached the election with self-entitlement mentality either for themselves or for their surrogates but the painstaking process that was followed failed for them to realize this ambition and they now resorted to castigating the process.
“We reject their approach and we think it is shameful, distasteful and uncivil. We want to call on the international Secretariat and the civil society globally to ignore their insinuations because it is self-serving, misleading and their claims frivolous.
“It is on record that the notice given by government for the civil society to replace their representative has almost elapse, it took us over 40 days to conclude this because of the concentration for details given to ensure that this process is right at the end of the day, we still have people who are complaining in the Civil Society movement.
“Let me use this opportunity to inform all of us that the election was conducted and Prof Mina Obanga emerged, whatever may have been the issues encountered during the process may constitutes lessons we may have learnt.
“We therefore wish to use this opportunity to call on NEITI, the international EITI and the Civil Society Organisations in the EITI Process to ignore any insinuations against this process because it is lacking in merit.
“We want to use this opportunity to call on government to please approve our choice to represent the civil society in the NSWG.
“We also advise Professor Ogbanga to immediately initiate a reconciliatory process to immediately reunite the civil society constituency to harmonise the divergent groups”, he said.
Speaking further on the development, the CISLAC boss, Musa-Rafsanjani said, the CSOs castigating the process were those disqualified by the guidelines of the election.
He said, they were not found to have done anything on natural resource governance, consequently, their names were not found on the NEITI Data base as specified by the electoral guidelines.
“Some people from nowhere who have no any historical antecedents engaging and working in the extractive sector, simply because they want to to bring bad name to the civil society, they infiltrate and start making all sorts of trouble to make sure that the CSOs Representative who have the capacity, integrity, knowledge and competency to galvanise CSOs to be able to do what they need to do in the extractive sector in Nigeria is prevented.
“We want to call on the Media to please note that not everyone who calls himself or herself or themselves civil society are genuine civi society. Some of them are planted by government or even some of the companies that continue to destroy livelihood in this country”, he said.
Mina Ogbanga’s Profile
Prof. Mina Ogbanga is a Grassroots supporter, Ford Foundation LT Fellow, EADI Fellow, a Gender and a social inclusion expert amongst others. She is an Associate Professor with over 23 years of demonstrated experience in the oil and gas sector, specifically the extractive sector.
She is the founder and CEO of the Centre for Development Support Initiatives (CEDSI), that has been committed to supporting Community Rights, Stakeholder Engagement and social performance amongst others in the extractive industry.
Dr Ogbanga meritoriously served as steering committee member of the NEITI Civil Society Steering committee where she contributed immensely to several transformative measures in the sector.
She is a Graduate of several National and International Universities where she graduated Summa Cum Laude, examples: Harvard University, Executive Program, United States, Cambridge University, United Kingdom in Cross sector partnership now Sustainability Studies, University of Port Harcourt, Rivers State University of Science and Technology, just to mention a few, majorly in the areas of sustainable development studies.
She is a staunch believer in mainstreaming Gender and Social Inclusion. She has a strategic understanding of the dynamics of the extractive industry all activities evident in her over 23 years of experience working with directly several Multilateral organizations/IOCs.