“It is love for my people.”- Engr (Dr) Chris Ogiemwonyi
“After Ogbemudia, I see Oshiomhole as the best governor.”- Engr. (Dr) Chris Ogiemwonyi
“As head of NAPIMS my annual budget was over 1.8 billion US dollars”.- Engr.(Dr) Chris Ogiemwonyi
“As a Federal Minister under the PDP. I took the risk of leaving a ruling party that time to join a regional party in 2014. I took that risk because of Oshiomhole”- Engr (Dr) Chris Ogiemwonyi
The long awaited Edo 2020, has finally come, the governorship race in Edo State, will be a hot contest given the potpourri of political dynamics in the state right now .To start from the very immediate known factor, is the benchmark for governance and performance already set by the former Governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, now National Chairman of the All Progressive Congress (APC) , is one striking dynamic that may guide the choice of candidate and the pattern of voting by party members and residents of the state.
In electing Obaseki successor after the completion of his four-year term at Dennis Osadebey Avenue come September 19, 2020, the issue of who can sustain the legacy and possibly beat the records of the former Governor, will be of interest to many stakeholders.
Why answering questions from journalist over the weekend one of the top most contender for the governorship race Engr. Chris Ogiemwonyi made this submission when he was asked, How will you assess the performances of Obaseki and Oshiomhole as governors?
“I have tried not to do this comparative analysis because the two of them are my friends. It is the performance of Oshiomhole that dragged me into the APC. I was Federal Minister under the PDP. I left the PDP when Jonathan was in power. I took the risk of leaving a ruling party that time to join a regional party in 2014. Four former Ministers called me to ask what I was doing. I took that risk because of Oshiomhole. I love that man because of his courage. I joined APC because of the things Oshiomhole was doing in this state vis a vis the one before him.
The Federal Government tried to probe me when I join the APC. Oshiomhole really transformed Edo State. The Benin Storm Water is not just a three-year programme. There should have been a continuation of the red roof revolution in the education sector. I cried that day when I saw the Benin Central hospital when it was raining and rain was beating patients. I also went to a primary school where rain was beating pupils in the classrooms. If such places are in Benin, what happened to schools and hospitals in the rural areas. I score Oshiomhole eight over ten in terms of performance in infrastructure. See the highway that was built. I believe in competence and not about tribalism.
After Ogbemudia, I see Oshiomhole as the best governor. Obaseki has the capacity to perform but he is tackling too many things at the same time. There are too many MOUs. Industrial park, Gelegele and others. He has become a master of none. That is why I score him low in performance. He should engage strong people who are project consultants and not these small, small boys. If he consults me and pay the price, I know what to tell him. Oshiomhole did very well while Godwin is still below 50 percent.”
When also asked, What is giving you strength to carry on after the 2016 governorship race?
“It is love for my people”. He said, “If you are doing what you love, nothing stresses you. I see the pains of the people. If we don’t come to assist them, you will see a pregnant woman with a baby flirting. It is painful. People will go out of their way to do what they never imagined, just to feed. What is making me strong is that I have empathy, I have passion for the people.The level of poverty in Edo State will cause you to support them. I want to see how I can bring them out of their present level to a comfortable level and make them happy. I believe in sharing.”
Also on the table is the case for a full bloodied Benin indigene of the state as governor. The proponents of these lines of argument are very persistent and no doubt pushing the sentiments into the centre of new political awakening. Certainly the Edo people and observers of development in the state are not likely to expect a tea party succession programme next year.
Already the political landscape has begun to witness lots of surprises and heightened expectations as the number of prospective candidates jostling for the office of the governor across political parties, grows by the day. This is a perfect fit in democracy when people are allowed to exercise their constitutional right to seek election and be voted for, within the limit of established regulations.
The implication, therefore, is that political parties should in their preparation for 2020 adhere to the constitutional and electoral guidelines on internal democracy when picking their flag bearers for the governorship election.
But more importantly, two factors are coming out strongly in the entire mix. This border on the role which experience will play on who becomes the next governor and people’s freedom to vote for the right candidate. Since the continuity and sustainability of a lofty height which former Governor Oshiomhole has taken Edo development to, is the main focus of the ruling party (APC) in looking for a replacement for Obaseki, it save to say EXPERIENCE, INTEGRITY and PERFORMANCE shouldn’t and cannot be compromised at this time.
Equally weighty is people’s freedom of choice to determine their next governor, right from the party congress/party primaries to the actual election. What this implies is that political parties must allow a free and fair process that will enable the electorate to elect someone they can trust. Such trust is largely based on their experience and interaction with such candidate over a period of time.
At this juncture, permit me to crave the indulgence of you my reader as I appraise one of the All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship aspirants, Engr. (Dr) Chris Ogiemwonyi, making him my focus is based on his peculiar candidature vis a vis his kind of person and the perception for which majority of the Edo people have for him,
A charismatic and highly accomplished Petroleum Engineer, former Group Executive Director, Exploration and Production of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation NNPC; A former Minister of State for Works, Federal Ministry of works, a successful private businessman and philanthropist.
Engineer Chris Ogiemwonyi began his career as a Petroleum Engineer II in 1975 with the Conservation Department, in February 1977, Ogiemwonyi was seconded to SPDC (Shell Petroleum Development Company) Warri. This secondment was enriched by a four and half month Advance Petroleum Engineering Programme in SPDC Training Centre in the Hague, Netherlands.
In 1982, Chris Ogiemwonyi resumed work at the Exploration & Exploitation (E&E) Division of NNPC and in 1985 he was transferred to the National Reserves Evaluation as a Project Leader. While in office as a project leader, Ogiemwonyi coordinated all efforts in Dallas, USA in establishing a strong data Base for the Oil and gas Industry.
In 1988, he was moved back to the Exploration Division of the Exploration& Exploitation (E&E) as Head, Petroleum Engineering Department Company to nurture the newly created Petroleum Engineering Department.
In 1988, Chris Ogiemwonyi became the project leader (Petroleum Engineer) of the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) in Benin City. The NPDC, incorporated in1988 had as its main objective the mission to compete as an indigenous Oil and Gas producing Company. NPDC was assigned four acreages including OML – 65 containing Abura Field then producing at 980 bopd.
Ogiemwonyi championed the takeover of NPDC and he kept an up-to-date reserves position of the company.He was the field project leader in Abuja as his company had the major takeover asset from defunct TENNECO. Ogiemwonyi raised the production level from 980 bopd to over 4,000 bopd in 1990. In 1992, he served as Oredo Field Project Leader which was a Greenfield project that involved KELT ENERGY,UK and IP CONSTRUCTION, Calgary. The project was an engineering, procurement, construction as well as operations of 10,000 bopd early production facility which has now being expanded to process 30mmscf/d.
Ogiemwonyi also served as Oziengbe field Leader. This is another 10,000 bopd EPC facility at Oziengbe field.In the year 1999, Chris Ogiemwonyi was promoted to the post of the General Manager, operations and was moved to National Petroleum Investments Management Services (NAPIMS) to oversee the Operations Division. He also championed several projects as a general manager most especially the Local content initiative of the Federal Government, due to the hardworking service; Ogiemwonyi got appointed as the Group General Manager NAPIMS in 2001.
While serving as the Group General Manager NAPIMS, Ogiemwonyi supervised the whole industry including the Joint Ventures (JV) and the Production Sharing Companies (PSCs).During his days in NAPIMS, During his time as head of NAPIMS his annual budget was over 1.8 billion US dollars. Ogiemwonyi served as Chairman, Nigeria OTC Committee between 2003 and 2004. Notably, he also championed and surpervised several key projects which includes the EA field, Erha field, Bonga field, Agbami field amongst others.During his term, NAPIMS achieved zero cash call arrears by October, 2003. As GGM NAPIMS, the Oil Industry was encouraged on joint utilization of assets such as offshore swamp rigs.
In November, 2003, Ogiemwonyi was reassigned to NPDC as Managing Director and his expertise helped in increasing NPDC production from 20,000 bopd to 70,000bopd. He served as chairman, Project Monitoring Committee (PMC) of Okono/Okpho Development Project, a strategic alliance between NPDC and Agip Energy Limited (AENR). He also served as Chairman, PMC of OMLs 64 and 66 Project, another strategic alliance between NPDC and SINOPEC of China.
Managing Director – National Gas Company, Ogiemwonyi was again reassigned to National Gas Company Limited as Managing Director in March, 2005. He was determined to increase gas supply to major customers like; PHCN, SNG, GSLINK, WAPCO, SHAGAMU, and EWEKORO, NOTORE FERTILIZER PH,OBAJANA CEMENT COMPANY etc NGC is coordinating 130mmscf/d gas supply (WAGP – West Africa gas Supply Project) to Benin, Togo, Ghana and hopefully to Ivory Coast.
TSGP – Trans- Sahara Gas Project, the 2 billion scf/d supply from Nigeria through Algeria to Europe was another portfolio under his supervision as NGC’s helmsman.Group Executive Director – In September, 2007, Ogiemwonyi became the Group Executive Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC, Exploration & Production Directorate).
While he served as GED Exploration and Production, Engr. Chris Ogiemwonyi was in charge of seven NNPC Companies and Subsidiaries which included National Petroleum Investment Management Services NAPIMS), Nigerian Gas Company (NGC), LNG & Power Division, Integrated Data Services Limited (IDSL), Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) Crude Oil, Marketing Division and Local Content Division.
President – EETCLTD Ogiemwonyi is currently the President of Energy and Engineering Technology Consulting Group, a position he has occupied since May 2011.
In light of the above, it is clearly a matter of stating the obvious that the post Obaseki – era which the Edo people are expecting is where experience and people would be the centre of governance. This is where Engr. (Dr) Chris Ogiemwonyi who has “Commitment with Integrity”, who has stood with the party despite all odd should not be over looked.