The Women in Energy Network (WIEN) has applauded President Muhammadu Buhari on the reconstitution of the board of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) following the expiration of the term of the board members appointed in 2016.
President of WIEN, Mrs. Funmi Ogbue in a statement thanked the President for committing at several fora to ensure that more women are given opportunities within his government which 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 according to Mrs. Ogbue, are Folashade Yemi Esan, Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Abike Dabiri, Chairperson and CEO, National Diaspora Commission, among others.
She however, expresses the group concerns that of the six members of the new NNPC board, none of them is a woman despite the fact that there are many female executives in the oil industry with the requite experience, skill and competence.
Mrs.Ogbue also noted that among the 2016 board members whose three-year term just expired, none of the six of them was a woman.
She stressed that, 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 2nd largest oil producer and Angola’s state oil company Sonangol has at least a female in its seven-member board of directors”, she added.
According to WIEN, 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 sector is still ill-positioned to reap the gains that diversity can bring, adding that 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.”
The women group therefore called on President Buhari to consider more women for promotion to leadership in the energy sector by appointing more women as heads of agencies, parastatals and institutions.