Dieziani: Nigeria’s Oil Czar and Masquerade,By Christian Ogodo

diezaninewSome persons are born great, some achieve greatness by dint of hard work, commitment and dedication, and some others by share providence combine both. Diezani Kogbani Alison-Madueke nee Agama, fits into the third category of people. That makes her a woman of substance, a masquerade of grace, candour and elegance whom you are compelled to watch even after the dance may have long been over wherever the arena is situated.
Born of royalty, she has an enviable family background, with very decent education, unequalled professional travelogue and rich administrative experience and all of these give her the Midas touch in everything she has ever done.
Diezani was born December 6, 1960 in the garden city of Port-Harcourt to His Royal Highness Fredrick Abiye Agama, now late, and Chief Mrs Beatrice Agama, but of Bayelsa parentage.
After a thorough educational footstool in Nigeria and the Unsited Kingdom, the pretty Diezani proceeded to Howard University, Washington DC, the United States for a Degree in Architecture. In 1998, her professional career shot into the sky when she picked a job with Szorah Arcirects and she later moved to American Interior Builders Inc as project engineer.
In the US, Diezani became an itinerant worker, parading elite professional qualification. She joined Furman Construction Management Inc, Rochville, Maryland as design coordinator, only to return to her alma mater , Howard University as an in-house Project Manager and a member of the Planning and Development Team for the design and implementation of a comprehensive Master Building and renovation plan of the University.
This woman maintained an upward swing when she joined Shell Petroleum Development Company [Nigeria] in 1992 as Head of the Project Unit of the Estate Development Division of SPDC in Lagos. That began her professional development in Nigeria after a highly rewarding travelogue in the United States.
In Shell she was trusted with a supervisory role, indeed as a very qualified and rich experience as an Architect. She supervised the refurbishing and maintenance of Shell’s real estate in Lagos, Abuja and Jos. Diezani distinguished herself and it should be clearly noted that she was by that singular feet re-writing the historical profile of SPDC whose conservative disposition especially towards women leaves much to be desired.
Riding higher she was moved to the External Affairs Directorate of Shell as Head of the newly created Corporate Issues Identification and Management Department. She remained the first female to be so elevated by Shell Petroleum Development Company.
That is a record that cannot be erased, thus making her ‘like a goldfish that has no hiding place.’ In 2002, the delectable and high flying Diezani was awarded with the prestigious British Chevening Scholarship for Commonwealth citizens which she elected to defer. Rather, she proceeded to the prestigious Cambridge Judge Business School which was then called Judge Institute of Management, University of Cambridge, Hughes Hall, United Kingdom. She obtained an MBA in 2003.
Diezani returned to Shell to assume a higher responsibility having indeed accumulated very superior professional qualification and experience. She became SPDC’s Senior Joint Venture [JV} Relations Adviser for Strategy and Planning. She moved up as Head Ventures Relations Adviser, managing the company’s relations and reputations among the JV partners.
Shooting beyond the skies, Diezani was made a member of the board of Shell Petroleum Development Company Nigeria, as Executive Director, External Affairs , making her the first female to be so elevated in the history of Shell. Aeon ago, women have made history in different fields and they will still continue to do things that are historic and their achievement will go ahead of them.
After a successful foray into the delicately known technicalities and oil politics at the top level, it was time for Diezani to serve her father land, Nigeria, applying copiously the experience she had harvested as she reached for the top. She was brought into the federal cabinet first as minister of Transport in 2007 where she set the framework for Nigeria’s Inter-Model transport system which today has seen the rejuvenation of our rail system, waterways and land transportation systems all working again.
She was again reassigned in 2008 as minister of Mines and Steel Development where she set out the redevelopment of the mining sector with unrivalled incentives to both local and foreign investors.
Where Diezani Alison-Madueke has been most effective as a cabinet minister is the petroleum resources ministry which is a familiar turf to her. She has been in and out of this terrain building a rich basket of experience. Diezani no doubt went into the ministry with the pedigree required for that office, and notably she became the first minister of petroleum under the present dispensation and of course the first female to occupy that position. Hitherto, the President beginning with Chief Olusegun Obasanjo had established himself as the petroleum minister.
She broke that jinx with her deserved appointment in 2010. Deserved it was, because her footprint is boldly stamped in the history book of Nigeria’s oil and gas industry. Diezani’s giant stride in facilitating the signing into law of the Nigerian Oil and Gas Content Development Act [ 2010] by President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan is an indication her acumen in the sector and her penchant to see Nigerians play more active role in the industry.
The revolutionary touch that this Oil Czar has brought to bear on our monolithic economy is attested to with her conception and drafting of the Petroleum Industry Bill [PIB] which is widely seen as the catalyst that will bring equity and sanity into the sector. Again this is the product of her management acumen and experience in the industry.
Of particular interest is the fact that with the provisions of the PIB if eventually enacted by the legislature, the ecological problems in the oil producing states including states of the opposing legislators where oil has just been discovered in commercial quantity, will be resolved satisfactorily.
Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke no doubt stands tall among her peers, particularly in the community of Petroleum Products Producers and Marketers. She has in her collection very intimidating credentials and achievements. A quick mention is the disappearance of the perennial long queues for petrol and kerosene at filling stations. Even her critics are quick to admit and acknowledge her competence and expertise.
It is a common adage in Nigerian folklore that ‘ If my masquerade dances very well, why won’t I be happy? .’ In the world of Oil and Gas, Diezani is our masquerade, our Oil Czar, why won’t we be happy? We are indeed very happy, Nigerians are, for her outstanding and exemplary courage in driving to greater heights the Nation’s Oil and Gas industry.

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