The Kaduna ‘PTI’ Brouhaha – Let the Truth Be Told!

2 Comments » July 30th, 2009 posted by // Categories: Energy Development Project



The Kaduna ‘PTI’ Brouhaha – Let the Truth Be Told!

Three major developments (apart from the incessant rate of militants’ attacks on the nation’s oil production facilities) in the nation’s oil sector capacity-building enhancing framework seem to have generated some unnecessary controversy and distraction in the polity a couple of weeks ago. The reference here is first, to the recent approvals given by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) for the take-over of the 15 year-old dormant/comatose Centre for/or College of Petroleum Studies Kaduna (CPSK) from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) – the original owners of the College.

Second, the FEC approval of the sum of N14.5 billion (i.e. not N19 billion as alleged by some media houses) for the resuscitation and upgrading of the dormant College; these are to be done under the auspices of the Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF).

Third, on Tuesday, June 23, 2009, Engineer Muttaqha Rabe Darma, the Executive Secretary and Chief Executive Officer (ES/CEO) of the PTDF performed the official ‘Groundbreaking’/Foundation Stone laying ceremony of the newly acquired 90 hectare permanent site of the College. The land was graciously donated by the Kaduna State Government.

These events, rather than generating popular accolades for the Yar’Adua’s administration, they instead generated a bandwagon of cynical, irritating, provocative and somewhat illogical barrage of condemnations from certain quarters of the Nigerian populace. For example, a leading national newspaper wrote a rather provocative, insulting and much unenlightened and maligned editorial on the subject.The distasteful editorial, full of inaccuracies and laden with hysterical geopolitical/geo-ethnic emotional outbursts created its own floodgate of sour comments and reactions from some members of the public; all directed against these decisions of the FEC.

For example, several community and opinion leaders from a certain geopolitical/geo-ethnic zone of the country vented their anger and even threatened to create havoc if these decisions are not immediately rescinded by the FEC. At the last count, these groups and individuals included former university professors, former ministers, student and market women unions’ leaders and even serving governors of the Niger delta region.

It is therefore not surprising that militants’ attacks are now occurring with brazing impunity even beyond the boundaries of the troubled Niger delta theatre of hostilities. The recent attack of the oil facilities at the Atlas Cove – a petroleum products jetty on the outskirt of Lagos, claimed by the Niger delta militants is an immediate example.

However, before going any further, there is the need to pose and make some factual clarifications regarding the wrong picture painted by those against the decisions of the FEC on the planned resuscitation of the CPSK.

To begin with, I must say that it is not my responsibility to response to the barrage of bizarre campaigns of disinformation coming from those who reacted in the negative against the FEC decisions on this matter. They have already achieved their aim of generating and fanning unnecessary geo-political/geo-ethnic rhetorics, emotions and tensions in the polity. It is however, the reponsibility of those public officials who are paid from the public purse to correct the deliberate wrong impressions created by these provocative campaigns stirred up by a misguided section of the polity.

For example, I wonder what the Presidential SpokespersonsMr. Segun Adeniyi, the Deputy Director of Information in the Presidency Mal. Salisu Na’inna Dambatta, the NNPC spokesperson Dr Levi Ajunoma (i.e. the Group General Manager, Public Affairs) and the PTDF spokesperson Mr. Kalu Otisi Esq (i.e. Head Press and External Relations) want to achieve by keeping silent and rather nonchalant on these outrageous lies and calumnious campaigns of misinformation/disinformation against the government from a certain segment of the polity!

Their not responding to correct the falsehood being spread on this matter may amount to ineptitude, dereliction of their duties and also give an impression that the falsehood being propagated on this matter is the absolute truth!!
Having said that, I am voicing my opinion as a concerned member of the public; yearning for the truth at all times and equally speaking, opting for an informed analysis of the issues in question.

The FEC was clear in its official statement released to the press and the general public on Wednesday June 3, 2009 regarding the CPSK situation as follows:

The Council also approved N14.5 billion for the upgrade of the 15-year-old College of Petroleum Studies in Kaduna, which is owned by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and endorsed the take-over of the school by the Federal Government”. [Italics mine].

This statement received very wide national and international coverage in conventional, online/electronic and satellite-based media. Hence, it can be seen from the aforementioned statement, there is no where in it, when it was mentioned that the Yar’Adua’s administration “proposed N19 billion Petroleum Training Institute (PTI) in Kaduna”, as alleged by some media houses in Nigeria. Rather, the above statement is very specific on all the issues addressed by the FEC with respect to the College.

In addition, Engr. Darma, the PTDF ES/CEO went to a great length to further provide additional information on the College and what the new dispensation regarding the College was all about. For example, he emphatically stated that the NNPC had hitherto used the CPSK for the training of its management personnel especially those moving from senior level cadre to general manager grade. Also, that, with the take-over of the College by the Federal Government and its upgrade by the PTDF, the College would now “cater for the entire oil and gas industry” to the standards comparable to similar institutions particularly in the United States of America, among other places.

Therefore, the falsehood that President Umaru Yar’Adua’s administration is ‘minting’ a fresh or new “Petroleum Training Institute” (PTI) in Kaduna is only a figment of imagination of those craving to create disharmony within the polity. As Nigerians coming from diverse ethnic and other considerations, it is legitimate that we see issues from diverse views, opinions and prisms, but we must always be guided by the truth and nothing but the truth.

That was why Engr. Darma specifically provided information regarding the existing Petroleum Training Institute (PTI) located in Effurun, near Warri in Delta oil producing state. He specifically mentioned that the sum of N17 billion had already been committed to its infrastructural upgrade and development and another N10 billion committed for overseas staff training and other capacity-building development programs and projects – making a total sum of N27 billion for the PTI located in Effurun alone.

Now to continue to say that the federal government should never spend a kobo elsewhere in Nigeria that “neither bears nor yields one drop of crude oil” is a preposterous proposition to say the least. It is only demagogues who profit from hatred, inflammatory statements against other Nigerians and destructive divide and rule situations that think and act in this manner. This divisive disinformation that is heaped on the polity by those who ought to know better is not helpful for the development of the nation.

Some facts about the CPSK are as follows: The CPSK is one of the arms (a Division) of the NNPC corporate structure as can be seen from its organogram attached to its official website. It has its serene administrative office complex located at number 2A Lamido Road, Unguwar Rimi, Kaduna, while its temporary training site is located within the premises of he National Teachers Institute (NTI) at Kilometer 12, along Kaduna-Zaria Road, Rigachukun, Kaduna. Its official website URL is as follows: http://cpskprograms.com/index.html

Therefore, anyone or group alleging that President Yar’Adua and/or Petroleum Minister Dr. Rilwanu Lukman are planning relocate the Petroleum Training Institute (PTI) or “University” from Effurun near Warri in Delta state to Kaduna in Kaduna state should better go and do additional background research. Such people or individuals are mischief makers who do not wish Nigeria well.

Also, to the best of my knowledge, Dr. Livi Ajuonuma who has been the Group General Manger (GGM), Corporate Affairs of the NNPC was the last Head of the CPSK that I am aware of. But Ajuonuma rightly refused his posting to the CPSK, which was done during the reign of the immediate former Group Managing Director (GMD) of the NNPC, Engr. Abubakar Lawal Yar’Adua.

It is a corporate knowledge that the CPSK is considered by NNPC Staffers as a dumping ground, where those not in the very good books of the NNPC top management are posted to rot; just as the CPSK has been allowed to rot for over 15 years running, It means your are better elsewhere than asked to head the CPSK; where the grass has never been green not think ever of it being greener or anything else you can think about!

On a personal note, I would like to share my personal association with the CPSK. It dates back to 1992, when to the best of my recollection, the idea of establishing the Centre began. This was in a far away North Carolina, USA at the Duke University located in the city of Durham; where I was doing my masters’ degree in public policy (with special emphasis on policy and management of oil, natural resources and environment in developing countries).

The idea of a special petroleum policy and management centre or college for Nigeria came up during one of the series of professional training programs on Management of State-owned Oil and Mining Companies in developing countries. These programs are usually organized during summer academic session under the auspice of the Duke University’s Center for International Development (DCID), Terry Sanford Institute of Public Policy. As usual, there was a fair number of senior level NNPC management staff who participated in the program that year. I usually serves as a participant/research assistant in the program.

The program prepares and equips participants with ideas and tools to come up with innovative solutions to problems facing their organizations and/or home governments. The NNPC team (none of them was a ‘northerner’or from the north where no drop of oil is produced) came up with a public policy memorandum (memo) in which they recommended that their organization (i.e. NNPC) should establish a top-rated corporate senior-level capacity-building and training outfit. A number of reasons were advanced to back-up their recommendation. One of which, was that Nigeria and the NNPC will save a lot of foreign exchange by so doing.

Therefore, by mid-1990s, the noble idea that was conceived through an academic eexercise made in 1992 started to become a reality and begin to bear fruits. For example, the famous Oxford College of Petroleum Studies (since renamed as Oxford College of Petroleum and Energy Studies) in England, United Kingdom was commissioned as Consultants by the management of the NNPC to mid-wife the recommended Nigerian Centre for  Petroleum Studies to be located in Kaduna. However, how the decision to locate Centre in Kaduna came about is only known to the NNPC management. It is my belief that some of those who developed that memo are still alive today; even though, retired from the services of the NNPC.

Some time around 1994/1995 or so, the Oxford College of Petroleum Studies, on behalf of the management of the NNPC placed advertisements in some major international magazines; including the Economists for recruitment of senior academic staff for the Centre. Luckily I saw the advertisements and I decided to apply for one of the positions advertised. Luckily again, I received a message from the NNPC that my name was among those recommended and forwarded to the NNPC management for final endorsement. I never heard anything again since then.

However, when Alhaji Umaru Dembo was made Minister of State in the petroleum ministry during the reign of General Sani Abacha, I renewed my interest in wanting to lecture at the CPSK. Hence, I approached the Technical Assistant (TA) of the then Hon. Minister Umaru Dembo to find out what was the situation regarding appointments at the CPSK (the TA is presently the Managing Director of one of the subsidiary companies of the NNPC). I was informed that only existing employed staff of the NNPC can be deployed to lecture at the Centre. I then left the matter to rest at that point but, albeit rather very disappointed.

Undeterred however, again, in 1998, I flew to Nigeria when I heard that the now defunct Petroleum (Special) Trust Fund (PTF) was planning to resuscitate the Centre by building a befitting permanent site for it and recruit staff to man it.  With the kind help of a friend, I was introduced to the former Head of State Major-General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd.) who was then the Chairman of the bubbling PTF. I met him in his Daura very modest country house, where I presented him my Curriculum Vitae (CV) and request to be part of the process of resuscitating this very important institution.

Satisfied with my CV, the General asked me to see him again but this time around in his Kaduna residence on June 8, 1998, after he must have discussed the issue with General Sani Abacha, then Nigeria’s Head of State, Commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces of Federal Republic of Nigeria. I made sure I spent the night of June 7, 1998 in Kaduna and was at the gate of General Buhari’s residence early enough in the morning of June 8, 1998 only to be informed that he left an apology for not being available as planned.

My friend and I were informed that the General travelled to Abuja very early in morning because there was a national emergency he had to attend to. That national emergency was the sudden death of General Sani Abacha. On our way back to the hotel we heard from the BBC Hausa and English radio services respectively, that General Sani Abacha might have died in the early hours of that fateful day. Hours later, the speculation turned to be true. May Almighty Allah have mercy upon his soul. Amen. And that was the end of the road also for my dream of wanting to be part of building such an important national oil and gas capacity-building centre.

I am sharing this my personal experiences and historical narrative about the evolution of the CPSK for the benefit of my fellow Nigerians that are ignorant of and/or choose to be ignorant of the fairly long history of the existence of the CPSK. That is to say, the CPSK has been in existence for about 15 years now; but has been left dormant/comatose at the moment (if in doubt, please browse the Centre’s official Website at: http://cpskprograms.com/index.html or go physically and visit its administrative building complex at the address provided above in this piece. ‘Seeing they say is believing,’ as the saying goes!).

Thus, I reiterate that the CPSK is not the creation of the present administration of President Umaru Yar’Adua but it will be one of the legacies that he will leave behind if and only if the Centre/College is fully resuscitated,upgraded and made functional. Furthermore, Kaduna is much nearer to Nigerians than far way cities like Dundee, Durham, N.C., Aberdeen, New Castle, Leeds and London and many more cities very away from Nigeria, where hundreds of Nigerians are trooping to study oil and gas engineering, law, economics, management and policy and other oil and gas related courses.

Yet, there is no single oil well in London or in Dundee, Durham, N.C., and New Castle etc. Yet, Nigerians are annually being sponsored both by the PTDF,  privately by their parents and other sources of sponsorships to attend oil and gas related courses in these cities. Yet, I have not heard or seen any damming and/or provocative newspaper editorial and/or scathing condemnations against the Nigerian Government/PTDF and private sponsors (i.e. Nigerian parents) for patronizing UK Universities located outside oil producing areas for oil and gas related courses. But for some diabolical reasons, some misguided individuals and groups of Nigerians are attacking the existence of the Centre/College of Petroleum Studies Kaduna (CPSK).

In conclusion, rather than calling on President Yar’Adua’s administration to rescind the decisions to resuscitate and upgrade the CPSK, those making the call should encourage the administration to go further and resuscitate and improve the fast crumbling federal universities and polytechnics so that Nigerians will not have to travel over 5,000 kilometres away in foreign lands to quench their excruciating hungers for acquiring basic and advanced education and knowledge for sustainable national development.This will help Nigeria to make use of more of its foreign reserves to provide more, improved and qualitative social, economic and physical amenities and infrastructures for its teeming population.

The existence of and/or not establishing an oil and gas training facility outside the Niger delta oil and gas rich region will not solve the lingering problem of the region. What is urgently required is the political will and sincerity of purpose from all stakeholders in finding lasting solutions to the problems besieging the region for that long. Resorting to intimidation, blackmail and other condemnable acts will only aggravate the situation. Let us all team up and give the Niger delta conundrum a national outlook rather than the present unhelpful geo-political posturing and ‘ethnicization’ of the issues.

Abubakar Atiku Nuhu-Koko

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2 Responses to “The Kaduna ‘PTI’ Brouhaha – Let the Truth Be Told!”

  1. Machiavelli says:

    Blah, blah, blah. This guy just went on and on without addressing the real issues. Sometimes I don’t understand these Northerners. The issue causing brouhaha, as you rightly called it, is that your College in Kaduna is to be upgraded to the status of a University while the PTI in Effurum is not good enough for such upgrade.

    You guys must think you are very smart. I don’t know why I even read such a shallow article.

    • Abdul Gambo says:

      There you go, as usual sentiments becloud good reasoning.
      Notice the stereotyping “these Northerners”. are we as Nigerians in competition or complementing each other?

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