By Toby Prince
One of the thriving industries in Nigeria today is hypocrisy, and leaders who walk on that path are seen as heroes. In this clime, refusal to compromise standard and firm embrace of tenets of integrity by being brutal with the truth, firm in honesty and courageous in justice always attract opposition and in some cases violent attack by the ill guided groups and individuals.
Leaders who demonstrate strength of character or refusal to be compromised often run into troubles of different forms, shapes and kinds. A little wonder, many leaders drag foot when it comes to taking drastic actions that will bring about reforms in our institutions and establishments.
Unfortunately, fewer Nigerians take their time study and understand a problem or phenomenon before embarking on agitation or protest against and for. Painfully, unfounded noisemaking has become an entrenched culture for most Nigerians. Majority of Nigerians freely surf trouble for themselves and others for underserved pecuniary benefits.
It is this inclination which compels majority of Nigerians to resist and attack leaders who are innovators, transformers and reformers.
The Executive Secretary of the Petroleum Equalization Fund Management Board (PEF-M), Alhaji Ahmed A. Bobboi is in the eyes of storm at the moment essentially because of his uncompromising posture. Bobboi was first appointed PEF-M boss in October 2016 by President Muhammadu Buhari. He had served in PEF for over 20 years before his elevation to head the management board.
Bobboi’s first appointment for a tenure of four years understandably attracted loud ovation and commendations because of his vast experience as an insider staff of PEF. Those who trumpeted his competence and knowledge knew he acquired it from the decades of service in PEF. And those who sounded loudest were top players in the oil industry, the organized private sector and other relevant stakeholders intricately linked to the statutory mandate of PEF.
His evidential stewardship records in four years prompted President Buhari’s endorsement of his reappointment for a second term of another four years. The euphoria of a renewed mandate is yet to subside before the charlatans and street activists are up in arms against him with unfounded slights and fictitious tales to destabilize or distract him from the purposeful service he has rendered to Nigerians in PEF.
Being the first Executive Secretary to be appointed within the ranks, Bobboi has over the years, encouraged self development and capacity building for staff towards acquisition of skill, knowledge, discipline, accountability, efficiency and etiquette for improved job performance which has added value to the organisation.
Within this period of his stewardship, apart from ensuring that the entire value chain of operations at PEF(M)B is automated, the Bobboi-led Board has secured approval of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) for the procurement of Automated Fuel Management System and Sensor Network Solution to enhance delivery, monitoring, and management of downstream petroleum products nationwide which is geared at ensuring credibility in reporting for the Federation Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC) by eliminating discrepancies in daily consumption volumes of petroleum products. This will also serve as a data repository for other organisations, national planning and economic development of the nation.
In line with the HMoS’s initiative for deepening gas penetration, domestication, utilisation and consumption, PEFMB under his leadership has commenced the evaluation of the provision of administrative support for infrastructural development in the downstream sector. The Board also advanced progressively in pursuing and implementing programs that align with the focus of the Oil and Gas industry passage of the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB) and the deepening of domestic gas utilisation & consumption and overall monetization of the gas resource.
While the Board under his leadership has continued to explore and establish programmes to support the Federal Government’s drive for job creation and establishment of small and medium scale businesses, it has been collaborating with other government agencies such as the National Information Technology Development (NITDA) for required technology standards and regulations, human capital development for Interns/NYSC and National Bureau of Statistics on petroleum products statistics and data management.
Other key achievements under his leadership is the continued mutual and beneficial industrial harmony with all Unions in the industry, improved collection and remittance of outstanding bridging allowances; uninterrupted payment of marketers claims to ensure efficient distribution and availability of petroleum products; uninterrupted operations even with COVID-19 pandemic;
In recognition of his various achievements, Alhaji Ahmed A. Bobboi has won numerous awards to include; Commendable Leadership in the Public Sector in 2018 by Texem-UK, Arewa Journalists Award, Business Day Award for Outstanding Leadership, Sardauna Azikiwe National Unity Award, National Hydrocarbon Award by the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Friend of the Union Award by PENGASSAN, NITDA Governmental Digital Service Award: eGov Award, Best MDA (Recognition for compliance to NITDA clearance policy) and many others.
PEF’s Executive Secretary, Ahmed Bobboi has exhibited an exemplary leadership throughout his over 20 years sojourn at the agency. His knack for transparency, accountability and probity in the conduct of the affairs of PEF is legendary. He is a stickler to fairness and equality all these years. It is therefore, absurd reasoning for any group to wake up overnight and attempt to destroy these enviable records by accusing him of largely concocted and unsubstantiated allegations of nepotism.
It is the quality leadership offered by Ahmed Bobboi at PEF which earned him a renewal of mandate by President Buhari.
PEF’s management team and co-workers have attested to Bobboi’s professionalism, tenacity to transparency and fairness on the job. He is overly focused and detribalized. In the workplace, he only befriends dedicated and hardworking staff who have dispensed themselves as planks in achieving the mandate of the agency.
It explains why, quite early in his first tenure, Bobboi enunciated a policy which stipulated that every staff of PEF must have a taste of fieldworks and garner experiences in various internal departments to qualify for elevation to managerial positions. The reform has paid off handsomely with the successes of PEF’s operations and organizational efficiency in managing the diverse challenges of the oil downstream sector. Bobboi supported it with mandatory local and internal staff training and work development skills in strategic areas.
Ahmed Bobboi is a non-conformist and avowed stickler to standards or laid down procedures. Within four years, he has uplifted the agency and entrenched transparency in the activities of PEF-M. The truth remains that Bobboi has manifestly dispensed and demonstrated himself as a round peg in a round hole.
Can Nigerians beat the fact that Bobboi did not only accept, but modified and improved the electronic mechanism in PEF known as “Project Aquila,” which he inherited? It has smoothened the operations of PEF in accordance with the e-governance policy of the FGN.
If today Nigerians are witnessing near zero incidents of diversion of petroleum products, it’s because the modified and strictly implemented the “Project Aquila,” effectively monitors from the boardroom, the movements of petrol from depot to depots, serves as a major instrument of gathering data for business intelligence, processing timely payments, minimization of transactional human errors and elimination of fraudulent claims from operators in the oil industry.
And the PEF management under Bobboi has already activated and completed modalities for more intense deployment of information technology innovations to enhance data processing of petrol movements in the country in Nigeria to filling stations, which are the last designated destinations of the PMS.
And what would finally stamp enduringly, on the operations of PEF management under the chief supervisor, Bobboi is its synergy with the National Information Technology Development Agency, in another innovative super technology called the ‘Downstream Automated Fuel Management Information System’ (DAFMIS). It is a unique Fuel Monitoring System (FMS), which electronically gathers and tracks operational data on ships, tank farms, depots, pipelines, trucks and filling stations.
DAFMIS is meticulously primed among other beneficial advantages to improve efficiency, plug loopholes and effectively checkmate wastes in the petrol distribution chain across the country. There are many other innovations and transformations which Ahmed Bobboi has imposed in PEF to curtail sharp practices and enthrone transparency in the operational processes of the agency.
Prince is a journalist and wrote from Abuja.