By Obas Esiedesa
Stakeholders in the global Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative process have hailed the appointment of Dr. Orji Ogbonnaya Orji as the Executive Secretary of the Nigeria Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative, NEITI.
Dr. Orji, a former journalist and broadcaster, was on Thursday appointed NEITI boss by President Muhammadu Buhari following the exit of Mr. Waziri Adio whose 5-year non-renewable term at NEITI ended same day.
Orji was until his appointment, the Director of Communication and Advocacy at NEITI.
Reacting to the appointment, Public What You Pay (PWYP) Nigeria, a leading civil society advocate on extractive industries transparency, said it “welcomed with satisfaction, the choice Orji as the Executive Secretary of NEITI”.
The National Coordinator of PWYP Nigeria, Mr. Peter Egbule in a statement described Dr. Orji’s appointment as “a sound judgment by President Buhari, which is driven by merit, competence and integrity”.
The organization noted that Dr. Orji has been like an engine room of NEITI, who has been involved in the implementation of global principles and standards of Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) in Nigeria from its inception.
“As key partners to NEITI, we are delighted that Dr. Orji, an excellent personality, seasoned technocrat, and a resource-governance professional has been appointed by President Buhari to lead NEITI at this time. Our organization, and coalition of civil societies in our network will work with him and his team to broaden the base of stakeholders’ engagement in the nation’s extractive industries.
“We however wish to appeal to the President to support this laudable decision of Dr. Orji’s appointment by constituting the NEITI National Stakeholders Working Group (NSWG) in no distant future. The constitution of the NSWG (NEITI Board) has become very necessary to ensure that Nigeria’s good standing in the global EITI is further strengthened”.
PWYP while congratulating Dr. Orji on the appointment, urged him to use his new position as NEITI Executive Secretary to deepen the agency’s interventions in the oil, gas and mining sectors through wider stakeholders’ engagement and outreach.
Also speaking on the appointment, the Executive Director, Women in Extractives, Faith Nwadishi said she was particularly happy that President Buhari acted promptly to appoint a replacement for the position, describing Dr Orji’s choice as excellent.
“Dr Orji is well and able. He is qualified and he has been in the EITI process from the beginning and so he brings a lot of experience to bear on the job”, she stated.
Nwadishi also urged the Federal Government to reconstitute the board of NEITI which has been vacant for almost year.
She explained that this would ensure that the job of sustaining transparency in the oil and gas, and the solid mineral sector would carry on unhindered.
She charged Dr Orji to make the EITI process in Nigeria exemplary because he “is not one that will be learning the ropes anymore, you are not going to spend time to teach him the EITI process. I expect that he will hit the ground running”, she added.