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Clean Energy Transition In Africa:Five Takeaways From The SPE Lagos Technical Symposium



Haruna Muhammad


The clean energy transition has been a trendy topic from Lagos to Los Angeles, Davos to Darussalam, and Abu-Dhabi down to Aukland. Industry captains and leading state actors champion campaigns and roll out strategic plans to accelerate the clean energy transition. Today, this is not breaking news: leading multinational oil and gas companies have expanded their portfolios to accommodate non-fossil fuels and enable the clean energy transition. For instance, in Paris, on May 28, 2021, Total switched to TotalEnergies. While giving out why Total changed its name to TotalEnergies, the Chairman and CEO of TotalEnergies, Patrick Pouyanne, said, our ambition is to be a world-class player in the energy transition [1].

In Nigeria, in line with the Federal Government’s ‘decade of gas’ initiative, a global leading energy company, Shell, in November 2021, unveiled Shell Energy Nigeria with the sole aim to increase natural gas marketing and sales to meet up with ever-growing energy demands and, of course, accelerate the energy transition in the country and world at large [2]. An article by McKinsey, “The big choices for oil and gas in navigating the energy transition,” provided an insight into how companies are responding to the low-carbon emission transition [3].

Without much rhetoric, one can deduce how the big players in the energy industry are committed to reducing carbon emissions and accelerating the energy transition. This is in line with the UN Paris Agreement 2016, which aims to limit global warming to 1.5 to 2.0 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. To fulfill this, all global economy functions must be committed and will be required to reduce emissions in the next ten years (10) years coming.

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While the rest of the world’s continents are rolling out plans to meet up the UN Paris Agreement, the story of energy transition in Africa wears a different systemic symbol. This is because of the continent’s long-term quest to address energy poverty. Stakeholders and business heads are caught between the devil and the deep blue sea. It is a confusing story for Africa because people don’t know where they are transiting to, all courtesy of ravaging poverty, insecurity, and energy crisis. For Africa, energy transition is a story on papers, while the reality of the situation is near unattainable.

The SPE Lagos Technical Symposium, on the other hand, provided an intellectual discourse to bring together energy professionals and stakeholders to discuss energy transition. In Africa, Nigeria is known for notorious gas flaring. Nigeria joins nine other countries that account for 75% of the global gas flaring, as stated by the World Bank during the Global Gas Flaring Tracker Report 2022 published on the bank’s website [4]. Thankfully, the stakeholders are taking impressive actions to address that to save the planet from the dangers of climate injustice.

The symposium, graced by seasoned oil and gas professionals, was held on the 18th and 19th May 2022 in hybrid formation. Based on over two (2) hours long panel discussions of Africa’s energy transition, here are the five takeaways from the panelists:

1. Hon. N.J. Ayuk, Executive Chairman, African Energy Chamber
Mr. Ayuk, a strong advocate for African entrepreneurship and the indigenous energy sector, spoke passionately about Africa’s possible ways to the energy transition. From the way he started the conversation, you would be amazed by his depth of knowledge and experience. He said: You cannot decarbonize something that is not even carbonized. Mr. Ayuk centered his argument on the need for strong financial institutions and funding within to drive changes in the African energy sector. In his closing remarks, he added that stakeholders should look inwards and invest in gas because it is the future. He also called for a change of policies and more gas to power projects that will create jobs and address climate injustice in the African region. Africa should be on the supply side of the global economy not otherwise, he noted.

2. Victor Bandele, Deputy Manager, Deep Water Assets, TotalEnergies, Nigeria
Mr. Victor, an industry leader, intelligently talked about challenges in the policy framework in Nigeria and how oil and gas wells are being mismanaged. Riding on that point, he added that, in the early days of oil and gas exploration, most gas wells were left untapped by only focusing on oil-major wells. This act of mismanagement is hunting the energy sector in some countries in Africa. He said we need to deliberate on what we want to do. Africa should champion big projects that will attract investors. The seasoned professional further highlighted the need to expand energy access in Africa via exploring gas wells and solidifying transformational agendas by the stakeholders in what he termed a balanced approach. To achieve this, gas infrastructure will network across the African region, which will be utilized for domestic purposes. He also noted that you could not build on the future energy unless you’ve initial energy. The only way to reduce carbon footprint in Africa is by significantly drilling more gas wells over oil wells. This way, he exclaimed that Africa’s quest for ending energy poverty is attainable.

3. Mr. Kamel Ben – Naceur, the President, Society of Petroleum Engineers International
Mr. Kamel, as an international authority, spoke about SPE’s goals to complement the sustainable development goals of the UN by pointing out that energy transition policies vary from developed economies to developing economies. Moreover, Kamel talked about the SPEi’s plan to collaborate with sister organizations to create a CO2 Assessment tool for CO2 storage. Despite experiencing low investment in six years due to sensitivity of the global market concerning the political events, he said, the oil and gas industry has now witnessed a significant increment in investment by 20%. Finally, Mr. Kamel admitted that Africa has a vital role to play when it comes to the energy transition.

4. Proscovia NABBANJA, Chief Executive Office, Ugandan National Oil Company
The CEO shared her country’s mission to explore opportunities and investments in the Ugandan energy sector. Through strategic project planning, the government has attracted suitable investments. Mrs. Proscovia further discussed the country’s goals in exploring opportunities in non-fossil fuels.

5. Cany Jobe, Director of Exploration, Gambia National Oil Company
Cany Jobe, who carries over 14 years of work in energy projects in West Africa, shared her views on balancing the energy mix. She spoke passionately about Africa should drive her energy transition framework. She rhetorically asked, what we are transitioning from (?). The discussion should be around solving energy poverty in Africa rather than energy transition. In her final remarks, she said that Africa’s energy sector faces financial constraints, and it is not feasible to achieve energy transition without optimizing energy production. If you haven’t gone through it (energy poverty), she said you have no right to talk about it.

In Africa, energy poverty reigns. This is the only continent of the world with a massive gap between modern energy access in the rural and urban areas. According to a report [5], “A clean energy revolution in sub-Saharan Africa is urgently needed to win the fight against energy poverty. Clean energy provides a golden thread to deliver on the promise of Agenda 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Agreement”.

While the Sub-Saharan African region becomes a hub of energy poverty, efforts are underway by both states and federal governments at different levels to address the problem. In all, relevant stakeholders must work extra-hard towards addressing the energy crisis because there is ample opportunity in solar and power, which are cheaper than coal in some countries. This will generate more job opportunities and accelerate the energy transition.

Written by Haruna Inuwa, Energy Professional from Lagos state, Nigeria.

[1] https://www.vanguardngr.com/2021/09/total-nigeria-plc-changes-name-to-totalenergies-marketing-nigeria-plc-official/#:~:text=Energy%20transition%3A%20Total%20changes%20name,five%20in%20renewables%20by%202030.

[2] https://www.shell.com.ng/media/2021-media-releases/shell-unveils-shell-energy-business-in-nigeria.html

[3] https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/oil-and-gas/our-insights/the-big-choices-for-oil-and-gas-in-navigating-the-energy-transition#:~:text=The%20primary%20technologies%E2%80%94renewable%20power,all%20represent%20potential%20growth%20markets.

[4] https://punchng.com/nigeria-nine-others-account-for-75-global-gas-flaring-world-bank/

[5] https://www.oecd.org/environment/cc/climate-futures/Achieving-clean-energy-access-Sub-Saharan-Africa.pdf


Nigeria Independence And The Boldness Of Buhari To Blow The Trumpet



President Muhammad Buhari


By Bala Ibrahim.

It was late Sir Ahmadu Bello, the Sardauna of Sakkwato, the former Premier of northern Nigeria, and the supreme political leader of the region that said, “You should blow your trumpet, because if you don’t, no one is going to blow it for you, as everyone is busy blowing his own”. Undoubtedly, the ambition of the Sardauna statement is to encourage people to tell their own success stories, particularly people that are vested with responsibilities. But for some people, perhaps because of modesty, or that behaviour of being relatively moderate, they don’t subscribe to the idea of blowing their trumpet. To do that they argue, is like being boastful about one’s achievements. Until recently, one of the people with such belief is Gen.Muhammadu Buhari rtd, and now President Muhammadu Buhari, PMB.

In the days when I was a reporter with the BBC, and prior to his transformation from a soldier to a politician, I was a regular visitor to him in Kaduna. Time without number, we had discussions on the sacrifices he made as a soldier, and the successes he recorded as a Governor, Minister and Head of state. Every time he mentions them, my instinct as a journalist, was to spur him to talk on the radio. I would say sir, why don’t you narrate these to me on the microphone. And his response was always NO. He would blushingly decline to speak by way of a formal interview, because according to him, some may think you are exaggerating your sense of importance, or your abilities for accomplishment.

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After countless abortive attempts, in one instance, I sought and succeeded in getting a note from him, to travel to Ilorin, and speak to his deputy at the Supreme Military Council then, late Gen.Tunde Idiagbon rtd. Lo and behold, I met him, but the situation wasn’t any different. In fact, Gen.Idiagbon issued me a threat, that if I insist on him blowing his trumpet, he would instruct for my immediate arrest, regardless of the introduction letter from his boss. I said take it easy sir, my intention is honourable. Like his boss, talking about your achievements, is akin to exaggerating your sense of importance, or your abilities for accomplishment.

But I am particularly happy with today, because, years after the death of Gen. Tunde Idiagbon, and on the occasion of the celebration of the 2022 Independence anniversary of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari has reversed his position on the issue of the blowing of the trumpet.

In an address to the nation this morning, PMB took time to score himself high, alongside his political party, the All Progressives Congress, APC, because as he said, in addition to the many achievements of his administration, and pursuant to the effective public financial management system put in place by his government, Nigeria succeeded in exiting two economic recessions. Sure, this was achieved because of the very practical and realistic monetary and fiscal measures employed by the government.

Not only had his administration given the desired priority to the agricultural sector through a series of incentives to micro, small and medium-scale enterprises that resulted in creating millions of jobs, as he mentioned, PMB was quick to blow his trumpet more, thus:

“Leading this initiative, the Central Bank of Nigeria’s intervention in a number of areas as well as the Anchor Borrowers Programme had created the required leverages for Nigerians towards self-sufficiency in food and the necessary attraction for farming as a business”.

After a detailed examination of some of the challenges facing the country, and the efforts of the Government at addressing them, including the thorny issue of the strike of the University lecturers, PMB returned his mouth to the trumpet, thus:

“In the past few years, we have witnessed and overcome a good number of challenges that would ordinarily have destroyed our nation. However, the indefatigable spirit of the Nigerian people has ensured that we overcome our challenges. It is in this spirit that I call on all of us to individually and collectively bring to the fore in dealing with all our development issues. I was called to serve, along with my team, I saw an opportunity to create a better Nigeria which we have done with the support of Nigerians. Almighty God and the good people of Nigeria supported us in laying a solid foundation for the Nigeria of our dreams.”

As a spin doctor, who is interested in projecting favourable interpretations of the activities of the government and the party in power, especially in the media, by this boldness, to blow the trumpet of his achievements, PMB had simply given me the best of the gifts that any President can give his people at a trying time like now.

Yes, although this is his last independence anniversary speech as an elected President, the speech would help in correcting some of the distortions, and the negative perceptions about his performance.

Hip Hip Hip! Hurrah Nigeria at 62. And Hurrah PMB, for changing your stance, on the issue of the blowing of the trumpet.

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APC : The Time To Tame The Fanning Out Of Fake News



Senator Abdullahi Adamu,APC National Chairman


By Bala Ibrahim.

For the best part of last night, and the early part of this morning, my phones were ringing non stop, and virtually all the calls were coming with questions for clarification. As one heading the bureaucratic arm in charge of media management of the party in power, where important decisions taken by the elected representatives of the party are passed to you to process, for onwards transmission to the public, as directed, such calls can come under the classification of the normal call of duty. But not when they emanate out of the intent to install in the media, an insolent and impudent information, by the friends of fake news. Yes, the friends of fake news.

I did my best addressing the media last night, mostly my colleagues in the Hausa service of the electronic media, but by the morning time, the queries have skyrocketed to something like a quiz of scepticism. Everyone is asking, some with doubts, about a letter sighted by the media, to the effect that the National Working Committee, NWC, of the ruling All Progressive Congress, APC, under the leadership of Sen. Abdullahi Adamu, as the chairman, had written, in an unpleasant language, to the Presidential candidate of the party, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. As expected, in the eagerness to be the first to break news, some of my colleagues were quick to release the story, some, with nasty captions.

One of the moderate caption reads thus, APC Campaign Council List: Adamu Accuses Tinubu Of Side-lining NWC. It went on to say, “The chairman of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Abdullahi Adamu has accused the party’s presidential candidate Bola Tinubu of appointing members of the Presidential Campaign Council without the approval of APC National Working Committee. Tinubu had on Friday unveiled a 422-man committee comprising political heavyweights and other notable members of the party to pilot the various sub-committees of the campaign council. However, days after releasing the list, Tinubu’s campaign council postponed its inauguration to accommodate other interests and stakeholders within the party”.

Some media houses went as far as releasing the purported nasty letter, which by implication means, the party has arrived at the junction of the rumoured rift, and the anticipated rupture.

A paragraph from the said wordings of the chairman reads, “It is against this background that the NWC received with astonishment and regret, the press release by the PCC on 23rd September, 2022, in which a purported list of appointees was announced, which effectively served as the approved roster of participants in the Party’s Presidential Campaign Council. The purported list not only came as a complete surprise to the NWC and the Party’s leadership, but also contravened the principles and purposes of the arrangements that you and I had led towards the adoption of the Organogram of the PCC, and its principal officials”- Sen. Abdullahi Adamu.

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My first quarrel is not with the content of the letter, but it’s qualification for authenticity, which ought to lie on the genuineness of the signature on it. And that gave way to my second, and most painful quarrel, because the letter in circulation, has not even been signed by anyone. It is a draft.

The last time I checked the dictionary, on the meaning of draft, it said, a preliminary version of a piece of writing. And my English teacher used to say, preliminary is the beginning, not the tentative, or fixed. It can change. Which means, even if there was the intention to fight, if there is a change of mind, the intention to fight can not be published as a fight.

No sooner than these agents of fake news had finished their work, than a release came from the Party, duly signed by the National Publicity Secretary, Bar. Felix Morka, viz:


“Our attention has been drawn to a “DRAFT” letter in circulation purportedly written by His Excellency, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, the National Chairman of our great Party, addressed to His Excellency, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the Presidential Candidate of our great Party, expressing dissatisfaction over the recently released list of the Presidential Campaign Council (PCC). To be clear, the “DRAFT” letter did not emanate from the Party. An UNSIGNED letter that marks itself as a ‘DRAFT’ cannot and should not be attributed to its purported author. The National Chairman of our Party and our Presidential Candidate maintain cordial and effective communication channels, and enjoy full liberty of open and frank conversations on matters of interest to the Party and our Presidential Campaign. As such, an unsigned “DRAFT” letter of the kind in circulation is patently unnecessary and of no qualitative value to engagement between the Party and the PCC. We will not be distracted by the wishes and actions of detractors that wait gleefully but in vain for some kind of crisis to erupt between the Party and the PCC. We stand united, as a Party, in our resolve and commitment to execute a focused and issue-driven campaign to persuade Nigerians to renew our mandate in next year’s general election”.

As if acting with the instinct of a premonition, at the occasion of the signing of a peace accord today, which had in attendance virtually all the Presidential candidates for the 2023 elections, alongside their party chairmen or representatives, the chairman of the National Peace Committee and former Head of state, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar, took time to address the issue of fake news, saying unlike in previous elections, where thuggery and violence were the major threats, in 2023, fake news is the major challenge. He said and I quote, “According to the latest fake news, the name of the winner of the Presidential election of 2023 has already been released, long before the ballots are cast”.

In my elementary days of training on Basic Journalism, one phrase that was repeatedly used, and made to resonate like a religious verse was, DONT BE THE FIRST TO GET IT WRONG.

My colleagues and I can do justice to the mission of the National peace committee, by refusing to be amongst the first to get it wrong, through the taming of the fanning out of fake news. And the best time to do it, is NOW.

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What You Need To Know About Professor Iya Abubakar



Professor Iya Abubakar


Sadiq Mohammed Mubi

Prof. Iya Abubakar, is from Adamawa state of Northeastern Nigeria, the first-rated Mathematician Of Africa who  became Professor Of Mathematics at the Age Of 28.

Iya Abubakar had his first class in mathematics at London University (University College Ibadan) in the ’50s,  and completed a Doctorate Degree at Cambridge University, England in the 60s.

Professor Iya Abubakar was the only Nigerian appointed as a Professor in the Department of Mathematics, ABU Zaria, at the age of 28 in 1963.

A first class graduate of Mathematics at the University of Ibadan, he is the first Northerner to earn a PhD in any field when he earned it at the University of Cambridge.

He became Head of Department, Mathematics and Computer Science, ABU Zaria, at the age of 32 (a record in the Nigerian University system).

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Second indigenous Vice Chancellor of ABU Zaria, at the age of 40 and retired from academics at the age of 44.

His academic productivity suffered a lot when he became Vice Chancellor (President) of the University.

Biography and Academic Carrier

Iya Abubakar was born on 14 December 1934 at Boloko, Belel District, Maiha Local Government Area of Adamawa state. He attended Barewa College Zaria, University College Ibadan (later  became the University of Ibadan) and earned a PhD at the University of Cambridge in England.

He worked as a visiting Professor at the University of Michigan in 1965 – 1966, before being appointed as Professor of Mathematics at Ahmadu Bello University Zaria at the age of 28, in 1967.

He held this position until 1975, as well as a visiting professorship at the City University of New York from 1971-72. In 1975, he was appointed the Vice-Chancellor of Ahmadu Bello University  Zaria, a position he held until 1978.

Prof. Iya Abubakar is exceptionally gifted, genius, talented, an industry of knowledge, the best of the best  and second to none.

Prof. Iya Abubakar is no doubt one of the finest brains to have come out of the North, whose legacies in academia are worth celebrating.

The people of “SABONDALE” comprised of Madagali, Michika, Mubi North/  South and Maiha Local Government Areas are indeed proud of their son ( Iya Abubakar) who is an elder statesman.

Youth of the 21st century may find it difficult to refill the vacuum created by GOD’s wishes, when death comes, only GOD knows.    “Allah ya bashi lafiya da  cikawa da imani”.  “Esteemed is better than silver or gold”.

Prof. Iya Abubakar was a director of the Central Bank of Nigeria from 1972 to 1975.

Later career

After the regime of Lt-Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo handed power back to an elected Government in 1979, Iya Abubakar was appointed as the Federal Minister of Defence, holding this office until 1982. From 1993 – 2005, he was the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Council of the

University of Ibadan.

In the late 1990s, he served as the Director of  National Mathematical Centre at Abuja, and chaired both the National Manpower Commission of Nigeria and the non-governmental Africa International Foundation for Science and Technology.

Iya Abubakar was elected Senator for the Adamawa North constituency of Adamawa State, Nigeria at the start of the Nigerian Fourth Republic, running on the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) platform.

He took office on 29 May 1999.

He was re-elected in April 2003. After taking his seat in the Senate in June 1999 – 2007. He was appointed to committees on Public Accounts, Banking & Currency (chairman), Commerce and Finance & Appropriation.

Iya Abubakar has also chaired the Senate Committee on Finance and Appropriation [6] and the Senate Committee on Science and Technology.

Prof. Iya Abubakar, holds a traditional title in Mubi Emirate Council, Adamawa state, as the Galadima of Mubi.

The great Professor, has since retired from active participation in public office and is now living a quiet private life

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