CSOs Laud Emergence Of Mina Ogbanga As Rep On NEITI Board

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By Stephanie Odiase

A coalition of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) working in various thematic areas of the Nigerian extractives industry has lauded the emergence of Dr. Mina Ogbanga as the newly elected representative of CSOs on the board of the Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI).

The Coalition called on the Federal Government to approve her nomination without delay, to ensure the seamless contribution of civil society in the EITI process in Nigeria.

The NEITI Board known as the National Stakeholders Working Group (NSWG) is a 15-member board, composed of representatives from relevant government agencies, trade unions, academia, International Oil Companies, Nigeria oil companies, the six geo-political zones and the civil society. The present Board was appointed in July 2021, and is headed by Mr. Olusegun Adeyemi Adekunle.

Extractive360 reports that Dr. Ogbanga was elected to the position following the resignation of Mr. Peter Egbule, the former CSO rep on the NEITI board, in a voting process held between March 2 and March 5, 2023, following a stringent guideline procedure.

Speaking on behalf of the coalition at a press briefing in Abuja on Thursday, Mr. Ezenwa Nwagwu, Executive Director of Peering Advocacy and Advancement Centre in Africa (PAACA) explianed that the election process began with a meeting of all CSOs held on January 25, 2023, where an election committee was set up with clear guidelines.

He explained further that the call for nomination process opened on March 1, 2023, with the 4th of March 2023, as deadline. Nine nominations were received out of which five names were shortlisted for the election as four failed to meet the required criteria according to the laid down guidelines.

“I am delighted to announce that, after this painstaking process, Professor Mina Ogbanga, a well-known environmental activist and education-for-all advocate, from the oil-rich Niger Delta was elected to represent the civil society on the NEITI NSWG,” Nwagwu said.   “The lady standing elected to represent the civil society on the NSWG is an outstanding intellectual, renowned environmentalist and a women ready for the job,” he added.

He however, disclosed that the coalition was aware that some persons who were disqualified from the election having failed to meet the set guidelines have resorted to castigating the process. “We reject their approach and we think it is shameful, distasteful and uncivil. We want to call on the NEITI, the EITI International Secretariat, and the civil society globally to ignore their insinuations because it is self-serving, misleading and their claims frivolous,” Nwagwu said.

Also speaking, the Executive Director of Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) Mr. Auwal Musa Rafsanjani, called on the public to ignore those causing trouble following the elections, saying some of them are sponsored to cause distraction and confusion.

“Serious minded civil society organizations are more interested in addressing environmental injustice and the myriad of issues in the extractive sector and not fighting for a seat on a government board for the purpose of sitting allowances,” he said.

About Dr. Mina Ogbanga

Dr. Mina Ogbanga is a grassroots supporter, Ford Foundation LT Fellow, EADI Fellow, a gender and a social inclusion expert amongst others. She is an Associate Professor with over 23 years of demonstrated experience in the oil and gas sector, specifically the extractive sector.

Dr. Mina Ogbanga

Dr. Mina Ogbanga

She is the founder and CEO of the Centre for Development Support Initiatives (CEDSI), that has been committed to supporting community rights, stakeholder engagement and social performance amongst others in the extractive industry.

Dr. Ogbanga meritoriously served as steering committee member of the NEITI Civil Society Steering committee where she contributed immensely to several transformative measures in the sector.

She is a Graduate of several National and International Universities where she graduated Summa Cum Laude, examples: Harvard University, Executive Program, United States, Cambridge University, United Kingdom in Cross sector partnership now Sustainability Studies, University of Port Harcourt, Rivers State University of Science and Technology, to mention a few, majorly in the areas of sustainable development studies.

She is a staunch believer in mainstreaming gender and social inclusion. She has a strategic understanding of the dynamics of the extractive industry activities evident in her over 23 years of experience working directly with several multilateral organizations/IOCs.

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