CSOs seek FG’s approval for Ogbanga as NEITI representative

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By Ella Anokam

Coalition of Civil Society Organisations working in natural resource governance has urged the Federal Government to approve the nomination of Prof. Margret Ogbanga as representative to NEITI National Stakeholders Working Group (NSWG).

Speaking on behalf of the coalition at a news conference in Abuja on Thursday, Chief Ezenwa Nwagwu, Executive Director, Peering Advocacy and Advancement Centre in Africa (PAACA), said that Ogbanga emerged through a transparent electoral process.

According to Nwagwu, 68 authentic CSO’s working in the various thematic and allied areas in the extractive sector participated in the process which duly elected Ogbanga to represent them in Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) working group.

“In an election concluded on Sunday March 5, 2023, scores recorded by the candidates were as follows: Prof. Ogbanga Margret 13 votes representing 52 per cent, Ms. Victoria Ohaeri, six votes, representing 24 per cent and Ms Emem okon scoring five votes representing 20 per cent.

“Celestine Odo one vote representing four per cent and Ibeh Gloria zero votes,” he said.

While urging the Federal Government to approve her nomination, Nwagwu decried efforts by non-members of the group to undermine the process that ensured Ogbanga’s emergence.

He said that those castigating the process were not in NEITI CSO data base which has information and data on CSOs working with NEITI in the extractive industries.

He said the coalition’s attention was drawn to the fact that people approached the election with self-entitlement mentality either for themselves or for their surrogates.

He said rather the painstaking process that was followed failed for them to realise this ambition and they now resorted to castigating the process.

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“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.

“The election was conducted and Prof. Ogbanga emerged, whatever may have been the issues encountered during the process may constitutes lessons we may have learnt.

“Prof Ogbanga is a reputable woman of substance and mix directly into our 3 Cs which stands for Capacity, Competence and Credibility.

“Above all, her election has also helped the civil society to have quality representation and address the issue of gender gap in the current NSWG Board which is made up of 15 Members with only one woman who is a government appointee.

“We 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,’’ Nwagwu said.

He, however, advised Ogbanga to initiate a reconciliation process to reunite the civil society constituency and harmonise the divergent groups. (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)

Edited by Isaac Aregbesola

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