- Former President Olusegun Obasanjo praised President Muhammadu Buhari for awarding refinery operational licences to 22 firms
- One of the 22 firms granted the refinery operational licenses has successfully set up a private refinery, Azikel Refinery, in Bayelsa
- The former president said past administrations, including his, failed in this regard, adding that none of the 18 licenses earlier awarded by his administration was successful
There appears to be a twist of narrative as former President Olusegun Obasanjo at the weekend turned around and praised President Muhammad Buhari for achieving huge success in an area where previous administrations, including his, could not make headway.
Recall that Obasanjo had last month condemned the Buhari administration, saying he felt disappointed in Buhari, whom he supported during the 2015 presidential poll.
However, speaking at the weekend while performing the groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of Azikel Refinery, the first private modular refinery in the Niger Delta region, Obasanjo said the decision of the Buhari administration to award operational licences to 22 firms for the construction of modular refineries in the country is commendable.
Leadership reports that the former president noted that 18 of such licences were approved under his administration but that none of them was able to actualise it, unlike the Buhari administration.
NAIJ.com gathered that Obasanjo praised President Buhari for awarding modular refinery operational licences to 22 firms, including Azikel Petroleum.
Obasanjo noted that, out of the 22 licensed operators, Azikel Petroleum is the only company that had actualised its dream of establishing a modular refinery.
He stated that he was pleased with the commitment of Azikel Petroleum.
Obasanjo said: “I have been told that President Buhari and his government gave 22 licences and that Azikel Petroleum is the only license out of the 22 that is really actualised.
“Before then, we gave 18 and not one was actialised. They gave all manner of excuses, including insecurity and oil prices. But those excuses they gave are still there. But they were not genuine entrepreneurs. They were after collecting licences to get crude oil. And that is why on an occasion like this, we should pay special tribute to people like Eruani.
“I join you all in thanking President Buhari for giving four licences more than we gave. And he (Buhari) is lucky that he has a man like Eruani to be the only one to actualise.”
He also commended the Bayelsa state government under Governor Seriake Dickson for creating the enabling environment for the take-off of the modular refinery project.
In his remarks, Governor Dickson said Azikel Refinery was very important to Bayelsa as the government had shown its commitment to creating the conducive atmosphere for private sector investment to thrive.
Earlier in his welcome address, Azibapu Eruani, the president of Azikel Group, thanked President Buhari for issuing the licence and expressed hope that the refinery project would mitigate the frequent scarcity of petroleum products and curb youth restiveness in Bayelsa and in the entire Niger Delta region.
Eruani disclosed that some youths who would work at the facility were currently undergoing fabrication engineering training in the United States, and noted that construction and production phases of the refinery project would provide about 1,000 jobs.
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Eruani said: “Our journey is one with lots of interests and challenges. But our committed drive to industrialise the Nigeria Delta is unwavering. For the first time, we will refine crude oil at home. This is the beginning of reversing the incessant scarcity of petroleum products.
“But more importantly, this will bring several businesses in the state and in the Niger Delta. We will put youths to work and we will be engaging communities. This will largely curb youth restiveness.”
NAIJ.com previously reported that the Katsina State Elders Forum said it would soon reply former President Obasanjo’s letter asking President Buhari not to seek re-election in 2019.
“The elders forum will consider the possibility of replying the recent letter by President Olusegun Obasanjo to Buhari.
“We intend to place an advertorial in the national dailies to respond to the issues he raised,” Governor Aminu Masari told newsmen, shortly after he led the elders on a condolence visit to President Buhari in Daura.
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