Uche Usim, Abuja
The Women in Energy Network (WIEN), has picked holes in the recent reconstitution of the board of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) by President Muhammadu Buhari as no woman was included.
WIEN President, Mrs Funmi Ogbue, in a statement expressed worry that both the board constituted in 2016 and the recently cobbled one did not have a woman member, despite the fact that there are many female executives in the oil industry with the requite experience, skill and competence to sit on such boards.
She said: “It is instructive to note that even among the 2016 board members whose three-year term just expired, none of the six of them was a woman.
“Many national oil companies and even in the most conservative climes now understand the need to increase the number of women in leadership positions in the energy sector.
“For instance, Saudi Aramco the world’s largest oil company, recently appointed its first female board member, an appointment considered a milestone for Saudi Arabia where custom in some cases limit women opportunities to work.
“In South America, two women make up Petrobras nine member Executive Board while in Europe four of the eleven member-board of Equinor (Statoil) Norway’s state-owned multinational energy company, are women. Africa’s second largest oil producer and Angola’s state oil company Sonangol has at least a female in its seven-member board of directors.
“However, in Nigeria the share of women on boards or leadership of parastatals in the ministries of petroleum and power, shows that the country’s energy the sector is still ill-positioned to reap the gains that diversity can bring. Several researches have established that institutions with women in the boardroom tend to perform better than those that have less gender-diverse boards.
“What we have found is that one of the anticipated impact of COVID-19 is the demand for new kinds of skills in areas such as advanced analytics, machine learning and robotics. Therefore it is critical for the government to deepen and diversify the oil and gas industry skills pool and one way to do that is to bring in and retain more talented women.
“We would like to call on the President to consider more women for promotion to leadership in the energy sector by appointing more women as heads of agencies, parastatals and institutions”.
Ogbue, however, thanked the President for committing at several fora to ensure that more women were given opportunities within his government.
This, she noted, is evident in the number of high-profile female appointees in the current administration since the start of the first year in the second term of the administration.
“Some of the notable appointments include: Hajiya Zainab Ahmed as Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning; Dame Pauline Tallen, Women Affairs and Social Development; Hajia Sadiya Umar-Farouk, Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management; Minister of State for Transport Senator Gbemisola Saraki; Sharon Ikeazu, Environment; Hajiya Maryam Katagun Industry, Trade and Investment and Minister of State for the FCT, Rahmatu Tijjani.
Other appointments worthy of mention are Folashade Yemi Esan, Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Abike Dabiri, Chairperson and CEO, National Diaspora Commission, among others”, she added.