...Speaks On God's Benevolence @ 52.
Mrs. Diezani Alison-Maduekwe is Nigeria's Minister of Petroleum Resources. In this compelling conversation with State House Correspondents, she bares mind her mind on efforts by her office to remove emerging queues on the nation's gas/petrol stations, particularly throughout the yuletide and beyond. On her 52 Birthday, she concluded by saying that her little contribution to national development was made possible by grace of God upon her life.
Why The Continuous Fuel Scarcity?
Well we had a slight union issue over the last few days which we are also trying to handle that created the upsurge again in the fuel queues but that is well on it's way to being sorted out and so it will go down again.
How Is The Journey So Far In The Past 52 Years?
First of all we thank God for having lived to see 52 years, it's been a very interesting journey, it has it's ups and downs like everybody else's life. It's been extremely challenging at other times, extremely rewarding at other times. We thank God for his grace, dignity, we thank him for the support of family and friends and also we thank God for the opportunity to serve one's country. I don't think that I have overtaken it lightly, it is a great privilege and I am extremely humbled to have been chosen over so many worthy nigerians to serve my country.
And despite all the battles and the challenges I am trying to do it at the very best of my understanding, experience, professionalism and unction as we will say spiritual to ensure that at the end of all this we would have actually supported President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan to leave behind a positive heritage for Nigerians to stand on in the years to come.
It is usually difficult to see what people are doing, we work night and day. I have many times finish meetings like many of my colleagues in the early hours of the morning, I still have a husband and a family to take care of as well. We try to do so many things and it is difficult when you are actually in the middle of the fray for the country to usually see the full benefits of what you are actually doing in terms of transformation and reform. It is very difficult, very challenging period we are going through. It is usually afterwards that people are able to look back and see what has happened but I can assure all nigerians we are working night and day to try and ensure that what we leave behind is far better than what we met on ground.
There Is This Pessimism That The Yuletide Is Likely Going To Be Celebrated With Fuel Queues?
We are doing everything possible to ensure that that does not happen. Initially, the queues came out of the whole fuel subsidy issue and the fact of course that verification of certain amounts and certain marketers claims were being made very stringently and this had tone done. We cannot eat our cakes and have it. We cannot keep calling out for transparency and accountability and pointing at corruption if we are not prepared to bear some of the hardship that will obviously come when you are trying to clean up a sector. The verification were being done, payments could not be made by finance and I think they have said that severally, but the verification have been done, payments are now being made and like I said the queues are actually beginning to go down.
We too on the NNPC side, we had pushed out a lot of our strategic reserve in a bid to ensure that people were not overtly put out in terms of fuel scarcity. And if not for this recent union issue I think it could have been completely alienated but I am sure over the next few days it will die down completely. We are doing everything we can on ground to ensure that this Christmas will not be like last Christmas.
What efforts are you making to give other oil marketers level playing field to own tank farms instead of an individual owning many thereby holding the nation to ransom when it comes to offloading fuel at the ports?
I think that the NNPC is doing everything it can to ensure that there is a level playing field for all interested marketers and operators. You will bear in mind that these are private sector operators and marketers, who actually set up their facilities to make a profit and what we do on government side is to support them in terms of the allocations etc. So is a holistic approach but it comes in both ways and I think that for the first time in history I must say, government has supported a much greater echelon of indigenous marketers and operators in terms of setting up and also allowing them access into the sector, which is what we intend to continue doing aggressively as we go over the next couple of years.