• Wednesday, May 22, 2024
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BusinessDay

Kaduna ‘PTI’ brouhaha: Let the truth be told!

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Three major developments (apart from the incessant rate of militants’ attacks on oil production facilities) in the nation’s oil sector capacity-building framework seem to have generated some unnecessary controversy and distraction in the polity. The reference here is first, to the recent approvals given by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) for the take-over of the 15-year-old comatose College of Petroleum Studies Kaduna (CPSK) from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) – the original owners of the college.
Second, the FEC approval of the sum of N14.5 billion (i.e. not N19 billion as alleged by some media houses) for the resuscitation and upgrade of the dormant college; these are to be done under the auspices of the Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF). Third, on Tuesday, June 23, 2009, Muttaqha Rabe Darma, executive secretary and chief executive officer (CEO) of the PTDF performed the official foundation-laying ceremony of the newly acquired 90-hectare permanent site of the college. The land was graciously donated by the Kaduna State Government.
These events, rather than generate popular accolades for the Yar’Adua administration, generated a bandwagon of condemnations from some Nigerians. For example, a leading national newspaper wrote a rather provocative editorial on the subject. The editorial, laden with hysterical geopolitical/geo-ethnic emotional outbursts, created its own floodgate of comments from some members of the public; all directed against these FEC decisions.
Furthermore, several community and opinion leaders from a certain geopolitical/geo-ethnic zone of the country vented their anger and even threatened to wreak havoc if these decisions are not immediately rescinded by the FEC.
It is, therefore, not surprising that militants’ attacks are now occurring with brazen impunity, even beyond the boundaries of the troubled Niger Delta region. The recent attack of the oil facilities at the Atlas Cove – a petroleum products jetty on the outskirts of Lagos, claimed by the Niger Delta militants is an immediate example.

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However, before going any further, there is the need to make some factual clarifications regarding the wrong picture painted against the decisions of the FEC on the planned resuscitation of the CPSK.
To begin with, I wonder what the Presidential Spokesperson Segun Adeniyi, the Deputy Director of Information in the Presidency Salisu Na’inna Dambatta, the NNPC spokesperson Levi Ajunoma, and the PTDF spokesperson Kalu Otisi, want to achieve by keeping silent in the face of these allegations. Their failure to correct the falsehood being spread on this matter may give the impression that it is the absolute truth!
Having said that, I am voicing my opinion as a concerned member of the public; yearning for the truth at all times and opting for an informed analysis of the issues in question. The FEC was clear in its official statement released to the press and the general public on Wednesday June 3, 2009 regarding the CPSK situation as follows: “The Council also approved N14.5 billion for the upgrade of the 15-year-old College of Petroleum Studies in Kaduna, which is owned by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and endorsed the take-over of the school by the Federal Government.”
This statement received very wide national and international coverage in conventional, online/electronic and satellite-based media. Hence, it can be seen from the aforementioned statement, there is nowhere it mentions that the Yar’Adua administration “proposed a N19 billion Petroleum Training Institute (PTI) in Kaduna,” as alleged by some media houses in Nigeria.
Rather, the above statement is very specific on all the issues addressed by the FEC with respect to the college. In addition, Darma, the PTDF CEO, went to great lengths to provide additional information on the college and what the new dispensation regarding the college was all about. For example, he emphasized that the NNPC had hitherto used the CPSK for the training of its management personnel, especially those moving from senior level cadre to general manager grade. Also, that, with the take-over of the college by the Federal Government and its upgrade by the PTDF, the college would now “cater for the entire oil and gas industry” to the standards comparable to similar institutions, particularly in the United States of America.

Therefore, the assertion that the Yar’Adua administration is ‘minting’ a fresh PTI in Kaduna is only a figment of the imagination of mischief-makers.
As Nigerians coming from diverse ethnic and other considerations, it is legitimate that we see issues from diverse views, opinions and prisms, but we must always be guided by the truth and nothing but the truth. That was why Darma provided information regarding the existing PTI located in Effurun, near Warri in Delta State. He specifically mentioned that the sum of N17 billion had already been committed to its infrastructural upgrade, and another N10 billion committed for overseas staff training – making a total sum of N27 billion for the PTI located in Effurun alone.
In conclusion, rather than calling on the Yar’Adua administration to rescind its decision to upgrade the CPSK, those making the call should encourage the administration to improve the fast-crumbling federal universities and polytechnics. This is so that Nigerians will not have to travel over 5,000 kilometres to foreign lands to acquire basic or advanced education for sustainable national development.