ALISON DIEZANI’s INAUGURAL SPEECH: IJAW WOMEN CONNECT BLOWS HOT, VOWS TO RESIST FURTHER VICTIMIZATION OF THEIR DAUGHTER OVER HER SPEECH

COASTAL NEWSThe attention of the Ijaw-Women Connect (IWC) has been drawn to the several articles and coverage of our beloved and dear sister, Dr. 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 mis-quoted 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.IWC-WORLDWIDE HAS CATEGORICALLY RESOLVED TO STAND WITH OUR SISTER. 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.This action encapsulates the essence of our 5-week inaugural conference themed “Creating a cohesive platform for nurturing the seed of Ijaw National Self-Determined Development Vision”, which we intend will culminate in the professional Re-Emergence of the Ijaw Nation. This event is by the Ijaw people; for the Ijaw people, to address Ijaw issues. It is by no means set-out to be a platform for national discourse, bearing in mind that the outcome will also affect the nation positively. All guests are proud sons and daughters of Ijaw land, passionate about building a strong, vibrant and successful community. We respectfully, therefore, ask that according to the laws of the land, we are given the space to have our discourse without malicious anecdotes and interference.The event was the first ever gathering of Ijaw professionals from across the world featuring His Excellency Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan GCFR as Chairman and Special Guest of Honour, as well as Chief (Sen) Edwin Kiagbodo Clark as keynote speaker. Like all Ijaw legends of the past, both men have braved the turbulent tides of adversarial socio-economic and political obstacles. They have stood against imperial and internal hegemonic forces mounted against the Ijaw Peoples. And they have proven the un-breaking strength of the Ijaw spirit. In their deeply stirring messages, they solidly empowered the house by their profound wisdom, and commitment to the development of the Ijaw Nation.Dr. Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke a true daughter of Ijaw-land led an inspirational and spirited lecture. The title of her talk was “The Void of Fatherhood: Where are the Ijaw Men”. She took time to address a growing global trend that affects not just Ijaw men, or Nigerians but young black men around the world. Her highly emotional talk demonstrated, using global statistics and examples, 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. She made a rallying call for Ijaw-men to be cognizant of this trend and become the moral-compass for their youth of today and end the decline. Her lecture was neither on, or about, Yahoo boys.She also 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.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 nay-sayers 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. She was the first and still is the only woman to have become President of the global oil cartel the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Country (OPEC). And first and only female President of the Ministerial Meeting, of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF). She was also three times Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, becoming the first and only female Minister in the highly challenged and controversy-ridden Ministry of Petroleum Resources. It was here, that her reformist audacity as a female in a male dominated society came into the public gaze. 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. After all, she was told (face to face) in April 2015, that she would be made the ‘whipping girl’ (main target) for the administration that she had served in.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 its statutes were fully implemented. Giving Nigerians from all walks of life the Right of First Refusal in the Downstream Service sector of the nation’s vast oil and gas resources. To the great economic benefit of the Nigerian Nation and its 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 its newly commissioned complex in Yenagoa, 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 nation’s 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.The resolve by Ijaw-Women Connect (IWC) to make clear their support for Diezani and to utilize her in demonstrating the character of strength in the Ijaw-woman is a strategic move. It is also to challenge the Ijaw-Nation to concern themselves more with the internal refocusing of the Ijaw people.The travails of Dr. Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, are a metaphor for the Ijaw experience. We are teaching Ijaw women to focus on Ijaw self-driven development and to ensure that we seek out our own and stand firmly with them.We shall never again, allow any brand of vindictive anti-corruption, sustain this type of all-encompassing vilification against any Ijaw-woman.Our own dear Dr. Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, we welcome you home. We are stoutly proud of your great recovery story. We are inspired by your leadership. You represent the true spirit of Ijaw-Womanhood. Nothing shall make us detract from supporting you as you climb up the rungs of further great accomplishment with your refreshed and replenished soul.You are our daughter and we stand in one accord to say that we will continue to defend and protect you.IWC-Worldwide say to you, welcome home.SignedRosemary John-Oduone
President IWC-Worldwide

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