By Edith Ike-Eboh
The Federal Government has launched a book entitled “Nigeria and OPEC : 50 years of Partnership,” to mark the golden anniversary of its membership in the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).
The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, made the announcement while briefing newsmen on the anniversary, in Abuja, on Monday.
“Exactly 50 years ago, July 12, 1971, at the 24th meeting of the OPEC held in Vienna, Austria, Nigeria was admitted into the organisation at its 11th member country.
“OPEC at the time was in its 11th year of existence having being established on Sept. 14 1960, in Baghdad, Iraq, by five founding member countries Islamic Republic of Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela.
“This makes today July 12, 2021, the golden anniversary of a successful partnership between Nigeria and OPEC.
As part of this celebration, It is my pleasure to launch the book `Nigeria and OPEC: 50 years of Partnership, 1971-2021,’’ he said.
He said the book was an updated version of the one published in 2006 to mark the 35th anniversary.
According to him, it is a very important document that can adequately inform and inspire the future generation.
“The book gave great insights into our people, culture, diversity and relationship with OPEC over these 50 eventful years
“It also gives an insight into the landmark developments in the oil and gas sectors as well as their envisaged place in Nigeria’s energy transition commitments,’’ he said
The minister said that Nigeria as a key player in the industry would continue to lend full support to the efforts of the organisation to balance the oil market for the benefit of all.
He said Nigeria’s membership of OPEC was very important and had helped in strengthening shared values and protecting the group’s interest.
“Oil will continue to be important component of the energy mix into the foreseeable future. It will continue to be needed to power the global economic growth in order to eradicate poverty, which is still prevalent worldwide.
“OPEC’s role of stabilising the oil market for the benefits of all stakeholders will continue to be required in the years ahead,’’ Syvla added.
Commenting on the role of Nigeria in OPEC, he said that it had contributed enormously to the survival of OPEC during turbulent times by lending full support to the efforts of the organisation to balance and stabilise the oil market.
He quoted the OPEC Secretary General, Mohammad Barkindo, as saying that the organisation had benefited from the wisdom and expertise of dedicated public servants from Nigeria who had engaged with the organisation in different period.
“Nigeria has played a major role in driving the organisation focus on cooperation , goodwill, a sense of belonging and unity and in working toward achieving oil market stability,’’ he quoted Barkindo as saying.
Sylva further said that over the past 50 years Nigeria had produced six presidents of the OPEC conference.
He named the presidents to include Shetti Ali Monguno (1972/73), Malam Yahaya Dikko (1982/83), Dr Rilwanu Lukman (1986- 89, 2002), Prof. Jibril Aminu, (1991), Dr Edmund Daukoru (2006) and Dr Ibe Kachikwu (2015).
“They have in total, presided over 26 OPEC ministerial conferences held in several countries
“It is appropriate and important to mention that our president Muhammadu Buhari also served as head of Nigeria delegation to OPEC from 1976 to 1978 and has continued to engage with the organisation, lending his unflinching support to OPEC laudable endavours.
“It is on record that he played a crucial role in negotiating the Delacration of Cooperation (DoC) between OPEC and participating non-OPEC oil producing countries which has continued to be backbone for the survival of the oil industry during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic,’’ he said .
The minister added that Nigeria had also provided four OPEC Secretary Generals namely Chief MO Feyide 1975/1976, Dr Rilwanu Lukman (1986/88), Dr Edmund Daukoru (2006) and the incumbent Mohammad Barkindo.
“This amounts to a total of 15 years of managing the affairs of the secretariat on behalf of the members , Nigeria , has therefore played a vital role in the evolution of the secretariat and the development of the organisation,’’ he said (NAN). (www.nannewsng.com)