HIS GRACE IS SUFFICIENT
To the glory of the almighty God, I am twenty years in retirement. I always looked forward to a quiet and happy retirement in the comfort of my home and the ambience of my loving family. By HIS grace, this has been a prayer
You can, therefore, understand when I say here that I never expected to be invited out for awards and honours twenty long years after retirement, especially in our clime. We thank God for our lives and longevity to see this time in aood health. We also thank Him as we are being reminded of the legacies we left behind through selfless service for the good of our nation, Nigeria.
If you don’t mind, let me crave your indulgence to follow me down memory lane, as they say. NNPC was a great experience for me. After twenty-eight years of intense development and service in the corporation, I was recruited from within, to lead the organization at a time when the solvency of the corporation was not only a public concern but a major discussion topic as a new government had come into power. This was in the year 1999.
I was christened a dark horse, an unlikely candidate of sorts as I showed absolutely no interest in competing for the role, especially since I was far down the corporate ladder at that time and had no sponsors or godfathers.
God be praised for the mode of my invitation. This clean slate allowed my boss and I craft a very simple and streamlined working relationship i.e, I remained strictly professional while he handled the politics. The mutual trust and accountability that this working model required were very crucial to delivering for Nigerians. Daunting as it seemed then (After-all my boss was a General. whom I’d never encountered before), His grace was sufficient for me.
My boss. Chief Olusegun Aremu Obasanjo. former President of the Federal Republic of Niaeria and who then also doubled as Minister for Petroleum Resources took this decision with a clear mandate: re-engineer the corporation and turn the performance around for the good of Nigeria and Nigerians.
It is often said that the man makes the office and not the other way round. I remain grateful to him for the trust and for availing, me the opportunity to show the country and the industry the difference God’s grace, channeled throuith one man. can make. Most importantly, I remain grateful to my boss for allowing inc to leave when the ovation was loudest.
I have much respect, admiration and honour for Chief Olusegun Obasanjo and would like to dedicate this award to You may say what you like about Chief Obasanjo but WV experience with him helped me draw one conclusion: He is a man who is very, very passionate about the present and future fortunes of Nigeria. I can say this confidently and without any fear because I worked very closely with him for nearly five years. By HIS grace, my boss is alive to witness this award. He appointed me based on adjudged competence. I am not from South west and never met him before the appointment. In the interest of our nation, we should always encourage mentorship rather than patronage Permit me to also share the joy of this award with my colleagues alive or posthumously in the NNPC management team I led.
It was my role to dream the dreams, articulate the vision, chart the course and provide frontal leadership. It was theirs to execute. The outcome showed that they played their part well. Every true accomplishment is a product of teamwork. Prior to my retirement, there were genuine concerns and fears in some quarters that our adjudged successes and policies would be reversed. But I assured them that it would be very difficult and almost impossible in some of the areas. I, therefore, must congratulate my successors and especially the current management for sustaining the policies despite the usual challenges that full implementation of any well-intended policies. I celebrate you all. By HIS grace you will succeed.
Let me express my appreciation to the media, especially the Vanguard newspaper group for this honour and award of recognition. Your message is very clear: Public office appointment is held in trust for the people and holders cannot afford to be oblivious to this. Public service must be discharged with full commitment. There should not be a culture of impunity in public service rather every officer should be guided by working rules and principles.
The summary of your message, Vanguard newspaper is: Public office holders must be accountable to the people and cannot afford to be self-serving. I charge everyone to give selfless service to the people and you would be, by HIS grace, be remembered, honoured and remain electable.
Ladies and gentlemen, on a passing, note, I would like to send a message to all Nigerians. It is my deep conviction that Nigeria can be re-engineered for better performance.
And this can be done by Nigerians in the driving seat. The present culture of running to foreign countries away from Nigeria is therefore not a good option. Every nation is built by dedicated, patient and passionate nationals. No one will build this nation for us. By HIS grace Nigeria will be successful
I am delighted to congratulate my fellow awardees. Goodluck has brought us all together. May we continue to work successfully to build our country Nigeria, Amen.
Finally, let me end by saying that without God, my family and real friends, some of whom are here today, I would not have done all that I succeeded in doing as a public servant in this country. Without them, especially Roxy – my wile and rock of 47 years who kept the home front, I would not be here being honoured as is the case today. I am grateful to God and you all. God bless us all. God bless Nigerians and God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
I thank you for your attention.