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As Waziri Returns to NEITI…  by Olusegun Adeniyi

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I have always believed that reconstituting and re-invigorating the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) will be critical to President Muhammadu Buhari’s agenda to reform the oil and gas sector in our country. 

He took a giant step in that direction on Tuesday when he appointed Waziri Onibiyo Adio as the NEITI Executive Secretary. 

As a founding member of the organization under the leadership of Mrs Oby Ezekwesili, I am happy about Waziri’s choice not necessarily because he is my friend but rather because in terms of education, experience and temperament, there are only few people with his qualifications for the NEITI job.

First on education, Waziri graduated with a BSc. (Mass Communication) from the University of Lagos in 1992, and obtained his MSc. (Journalism) Degree from Columbia University in 1999. In 2009, he bagged his Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. 

Eight years earlier, he had spent the 2001/2002 academic session as a Neiman Fellow in Journalism at the same Harvard. In between this period, he had also attended the UNDP Virtual Development Academy in Bangkok, Thailand and in 2010, he was at the Public Administration International School, London.

As for experience, Waziri comes highly recommended for the NEITI job. As Director of Communication between 2007 and 2008, he played a major role in ensuring the last-minute passage and signing of the NEITI Act and was part of the team that led the institutionalisation of NEITI in the post-Act phase. 

He left to go to Harvard as a Mason Fellow in Public Policy Management and was in the same class with Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, the current Governor of Kaduna State.

Incidentally, without any inkling that he would one day return to head the place where he had served as Director of Communication, Waziri wrote his final paper in a course on Strategic Management in the Public Sector at Harvard University on “Reshaping and Repositioning NEITI: A Strategic Management Proposal”. 

That was seven years ago. Now, he must walk his talk. But he is fortunate to have the Solid Minerals Minister, Dr Kayode Fayemi as chairman with such other respected media persons as Mr. Gbenga Onayiga and my sister, Hanatu Musa Musawa also on the board. ​

Having worked at THISDAY, UNDP and office of the Senate President, Waziri has 23-year post-graduation experience in fields as varied as journalism, politics, international development, public administration and consultancy. 

With his passion for public service, a remarkable integrity and institutional memory, I have no doubt that Waziri has what it takes to drive NEITI in a way that will make Nigeria a leader in global EITI and advance the president’s reform agenda in this very important sector. I wish him all the best in his new assignment. 

My personal web portal

Following my recent enlistment on Twitter which has given me a better appreciation of the social media and its positive side, especially for this page, I will be launching my personal web portal (website) very soon, hopefully within the next one month. But it will not be to report news. Rather, it will be an online archive for all my past articles as well as the books I have written. 

The idea is to make the portal an online repository of my writings, public lectures and book reviews for easy access to interested readers and researchers alike. The web address and other details will be provided on this page as soon as I am ready. In addition, I will give a progress report on my coming book, “Against the Run of Play: How an Incumbent President Was Defeated in Nigeria”.

Please watch out!

The Verdict by Olusegun Adeniyi, Email: olusegun.adeniyi@thisdaylive.com


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