Updated: March 6, 2021
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It is rather unfortunate that President Muhammadu Buhari has rejected the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB) that the National Assembly in conjunction with the oil majors and host communities put in so much work to come up with. I am of the opinion that this is a monumental mistake.
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The reason given by the President for rejecting the bill also betrays the fact that the current administration is out of tandem with global best practices. Saying that the Bill will “whittle down” the President’s powers is most unfortunate.
A leader must be secure in himself before he can secure his or her people. A President is not powerful because he holds the Presidency. Neither is he only powerful because laws confer powers on him. In truth, a secure leader brings power and influence to the office he occupies instead of taking power from that office. He also gives laws the force of power by obeying and implementing them.
The Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB) will be a great catalyst for Nigeria’s oil and gas sector and has the capacity of stabilising our host communities, boosting our reserves and creating the enabling environment that attracts the type of investment that will make Nigeria a world leader in the petroleum industry.
In recent months, Nigeria became the world headquarters for extreme poverty, having overtaken India as the nation with the most people living under $2 a day (81 million people). If we are to change the situation and bring our people out of poverty, we must support legislation such as the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill.
As the late great President Ronald Reagan once said, the greatest leader “gets the people to do the greatest things”. The Petroleum Industry Governance Bill will help Nigeria to do great things and I urge President Buhari to put aside his insecurities over the loss of his power and let the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill be.
This opinion article was sent to Today News Africa in Washington DC by Atiku Abubakar, a former Vice President in Nigeria who is seeking to replace President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019, and who has business interests in the Nigerian oil industry.