The Centre for Democracy and Development [CDD] is set to engage the All Progressives Congress [APC] and the Peoples Democratic Party [PDP] in a debate on oil and gas sector in the next inter-party debate series scheduled for Thursday, January 8, 2015, at Sheraton Hotel and Towers, Abuja.
The debate is part of the Nigerian Political Parties Discussion Series (NPPDS) organized by CDD to strengthen issued-based politics during elections in Nigeria.
The idea behind this edition of the inter-party debate series is to seek for the parties’ plans and programs to tackle seemingly intractable governance deficit in the oil and gas sector, which is central to the development challenges in Nigeria.
Recall that in 2012, the Natural Resource Governance Institute (formerly the Revenue Watch Institute) conducted a study in 12 national oil companies and revealed that comparatively, the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) is the most poorly governed of them all. In a similar direction, Nigeria was ranked 40th with “WEAK” overall composite score of 42 percent in the 2013 Resource Governance Index (RGI). The research measured the quality of natural resource governance in 58 countries which produce 85 percent of the world’s petroleum, 90 percent of diamond and 80 percent of copper against four key variables including institutional and legal setting, reporting practices, safeguards and quality controls and enabling environment.
CDD Director, Idayat Hassan, said in a statement that the “free money mentality” created by oil has precipitated a reckless quest for political power, given the significant relationship between access to political power and state resources.
“The result has been high level corruption, lack of transparency and accountability, coups and counter-coups, electoral fraud and prebendal behavior among past and present military and civilian rulers,” she said.
As Nigeria organizes its fifth set of general elections since 1999 to consolidate its democracy, CDD, through the debate platform would focus questions around the link between democracy and oil resource governance in Nigeria. A major issue in this debate is how development in the oil and gas sector would reflect in the 2015 general elections and how government can restore citizens’ confidence in natural resource management.
The debate will also interrogate the electoral promises the political parties are putting forward for the reform of the oil and gas sector and stabilization of long term investment climate in the country.
In addition, the debate will look closely at what the electorate should expect in terms of the full disclosure of information on the governance of the oil and gas sector from the competing political parties. Furthermore, the debate will discuss how the political party that is eventually elected will be held accountable after the elections.
The APC would be represented by Lai Mohammed, the party’s National Publicity Secretary while the PDP would be represented by Katchi Ononuju,a chieftain of the party.