…. As company seeks robust partnership with lawmaker
By Aniekan Udofia
The member representing Etinan/Nsit Ibom/Nsit Ubium Federal Constituency in the National Assembly, Hon. Onofiok Luke, has urged ExxonMobil to improve the local content component of its operations in Akwa Ibom and in Nigeria.
The lawmaker said the company should make a deliberate effort to make indigenous companies understand the processes and steps to take to be eligible to handle major projects in the country.
“Let our people have a piece of the pie; let our people know what it takes to play big”, he charged ExxonMobil on Monday while receiving some top management staff of the company who paid him a courtesy visit in his office at the National Assembly Complex, Abuja.
Among other issues raised, the Lawmaker called on ExxonMobil to meet the agitation of the people of the state by relocating its administrative headquarters from Lagos to Akwa Ibom and also get the jetty to be functional again. He said all these will contribute to boosting the economy of the state and make for better welfare of host communities.
Speaking on the essence of the visit, General Manager (Venture Relations) at ExxonMobil, and leader of the delegation, Mrs Eme Udom, said the company was on a mission to partner the lawmaker for effective representation.
“We are here on behalf of ExxonMobil to wish you well as our own here in the National Assembly. We consider it very important to reach out to legislators whose representation have bearing on our operational areas. It is important we start up well with you so we can continue to work together”
She said “it is our interest for you to represent us well. ExxonMobil is part of your constituency”.
Mrs Udom noted that there are pending bills that may have direct impacts on the company’s operations and Akwa Ibom State. She said familiarizing with the bills will help determine the lawmaker’s angle of debate.
She promised the lawmaker that the company will furnish him with adequate information and documents that will help him to initiate debate from position of authority.
The General Manager Venture Relations assured Hon. Luke that ExxonMobil is committed to executing the three major projects proposed for the Akwa Ibom state. She assured him that advertisement for bids for the projects will be out soon.
Also speaking, the General Manager Public & Government Affairs Mr Nigel Cookey-Gam described Hon. Luke as a forward looking politician whom they can sit down and talk with for progress. He commended him for the support he gave the company when he was the Speaker of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly.
Responding, the Member representing Etinan/ Nsit Ibom/ Nsit Ubium Federal Constituency said the visit was a welcome development that is going to help bridge the gap and proffer a lasting solution to some of the issues which have caused antagonism between some host communities in Akwa Ibom and the company.
“Now that we are engaging, we are communicating, we are talking, we are listening to each other, I believe we are equally going to translate it into something concrete and at the end of it all, we are going to be happy”.
Hon. Luke said that racking resources from derivation is paramount for our state.
The former speaker said that Governor Udom Emmanuel has created an enabling environment for investors and urged the company to partner with the government especially in the area of aviation where the state – owned airline Ibom Air operates. He appealed that they get the Air Strip working optimally again.
On the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill, PIB, Hon. Luke said he would look at the clauses in the bill to see what will be beneficial to the state and the country and the clauses to kick against. He drew the attention of the company to issues of gas flaring which is of paramount concern to him.
Hon. Luke used the opportunity to congratulate those from the State and the Niger Delta region who have risen to managerial positions of ExxonMobil and to also call for more inclusiveness for the people of the area at the echelon of the company.
The ExxonMobil team was led by Eme Udom GM , Venture Relations/ National Content Upstream and Mr Nigel Cookey-Gam, GM, Public & Government Affairs, while Mr Ozemoya Okordion, Government Relations Advisor and Mrs Omawumi Gomwalk, Community Relations Advisor were also among those who visited.