The South-south Emerging Leaders’ Forum (SELF) has said that it was not by accident that the long awaited Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) was passed into law few days to the birthday anniversary of Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva.
The minister will be 57 on Wednesday July 7, 2021.
The Forum said Sylva’s name has come to occupy a chapter in the contemporary history of Nigeria based on the empirical indices of his nationalistic, patriotic and detribalised values and contributions to national cohesion and development in general.
For over 20 years, the PIB has witnessed a lot of setbacks but was unanimously passed into law by the two chambers of the National Assembly last week, barely a week to the minister’s birthday.
In a statement signed on Tuesday in Abuja, by national coordinator of SELF, Comrade Benjamin Kolowei, he said the Forum was proud of Sylva’s achievements as a public officeholder since he joined politics.
Kolowei said specifically that the minister is being celebrated because passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill into law is one of the 9-point agenda Sylva rolled out to achieve when he took over as Minister of State for Petroleum.
While commending the minister’s advocacy role on the Bill, the group said the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) under Timipre Sylva will now be more accountable with the passage of the Bill, even as its profits would be accrued to the country and subsequently moved to the Federation Account.
“The Ministry of Petroleum Resources under the supervision of Chief Timipre Slyva has become a formidable front driver in the process of diversifying the country’s mono cultural economy by exploring and promoting the midstream sector of huge gas production, for both local consumption and export purposes.
“As a forum, we are particularly happy because apart from nipping in the bud the perennial problem of scarcity of petroleum products and long queue for fuel, the completion and commissioning of the 17 storey Headquarters building of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) and commissioning of the Walter Smith Modular Refinery, developed with 30 percent equity from the NCDMB are sterling success story for the Timipre Sylva led Ministry of Petroleum Resources.
“We are also celebrating the 57th birthday anniversary of our amiable ambassador because of the on-going diversification under his watch through gas which will create lots of jobs to stimulate the nation’s economy. This is an addition to creating the National Gas Expansion Programme basically to exploit the country’s comparative advantage in the abundance of natural gas reserves,” he said.
The Forum said it will not forget in a hurry “the heroic exploits of Timipre Sylva in the wake of militancy in the Niger Delta when he was governor when he traversed the most dreaded militant camps in the region in search of peace and tranquility. The singular action which yielded fruits with multiplier impact.”
The statement, however, called on Nigerians home and abroad not only to celebrate Sylva’s 57th birthday anniversary but to give him all the needed support to transform the petroleum industry for the benefit of all Nigerians.