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Utomi: Nigerian politicians need special training to understand consequences of public service choices

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POLITICAL Economist Pat Utomi has called for a special training school for Nigerian politicians to deepen their understanding of public service choices.

He emphasised that the country was hugely performing below its potential despite being blessed with human and natural resources.

Utomi, who is the Founder of  Centre for Values in Leadership, spoke on Sunday at Nigeria History Series with a focus on oil and gas, calling for periodic review of various government policies to drive Nigeria’s socio-economic development.

“The country’s situation is as a result of the choices we made over time. We need a special school that brings in leaders of industry, stakeholders together with a special focus for those vying for public life to enable them to understand the consequences of the leadership choices they make in managing our collective destinies. Oby Ezekwesili has been doing something great in that regard and she needs all our support,” Utomi said.

Utomi, while speaking on developments in Nigeria’s oil and gas sector, regretted that the Industry was yet to perform optimally for the benefit of Nigerians. He further made a case for long-term policies that would impact Nigeria’s overall economy, irrespective of the political party in power.

Oil sector governance expert Bans Omotowa regretted that Nigeria’s oil and gas sector often punched below its weight as a result of wrong choices and distorted policies that were less attractive to investors.

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“We’ve come up with the Gas Master Plan and the gas policies. Even the Gas Flare Commercialisation plan is not driving us fast in stopping gas flare in the country. The International Energy Association has hinted at plans to shift focus to clean energy.  How is our policy adjusting to global energy demands? How is our long-term plan aligning to global energy demands.” Omotowa said.

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He noted that the Nigerian government had benefitted from the Nigerian Liquified Natural Gas(NLNG) because the Act provided stability for operations with undue government interference, unlike the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation,(NNPC).

“Stable economy, stable environment, incentives are some of the factors that made NLNG successful. Disruption on policies scares investors and it is not good for our economic development.”

Oil sector analyst Charles Osezua, also a participant at the session, said there must be continuity in Nigeria’s plans, which must be leveraged upon to drive economic growth and development.

He regretted that brilliant plans that yielded good results in the pasts were aborted, noting that this singular act was often investors’ nightmare in operating their oil and gas business in the country.

“Recently we had the oil majors in a long discussion with the government to get assurances on their investments in Nigeria’s oil and gas sector for a probable transition to a new legal government governing the oil sector.

“This is the bane of our industry operations, which is why consistency in policy is key to driving socio-economic development,” he further said.

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