BY GABRIEL OKECHUKWU, FRCN PORT HARCOURT
President Muhammadu Buhari says establishment of Oloibiri Museum and Research Center will create jobs opportunities, attract investment and improve the economic well-being of Niger Delta region and Nigeria in general.
President Buhari who gave the assurance during the groundbreaking ceremony of the Project at Oloibiri Community Otuabagi, Ogbia Local government Area, Bayelsa State, told the people that it was part of the determination of the present administration to preserve the heritage of oil production in the country.
The history of oil production in Nigeria is not complete without mentioning Olaibiri Community in Bayelsa State, where oil was first discovered in commercial quantity on the fifteenth January Nineteen fifty-six.
From then on, Nigeria’s economic growth became realistic with initial export of about five thousand barrels of oil per day in nineteen fifty-eight and has increased to two million barrels of crude oil per day, hence placing Nigeria among top oil producing countries in the world.
Though efforts were made during Olusegun Obasanjo and Shehu Shagari’s administrations to establish a national museum, but it did not see the light of the day.
Thanks however, to the development agenda of President Muhammadu Buhari, which revisited the Oloibiri Museum plan and the subsequent approval by the Federal Executive Council on the eight of February, twenty twenty three.
While performing the groundbreaking ceremony, President Muhammadu Buhari said that the Federal Government is committed to bring to fruition, the Oloibiri Museum and Research Center to recognize the contribution of the community and give them a sense of belonging.
President Buhari stated that the plan to revisit the project has been on the offing since twenty-twenty, but due to COVID19 challenge, it did not see the light of the day.
The President who was represented by the Minister of State for petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Silver stated that with the project, Bayelsa State has taken its rightful place as the pace setter in oil production in Nigeria.
He expressed optimism that the project would create job opportunities, serve the academia, Hospitality as well as oil and gas industry.
While charging the construction companies to build capacities among the communities and include them in the construction value chain, the President also pleaded with the community to provide a peaceful environment for the successful completion of the project.
Similarly, Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri who regretted that the community and the state have suffered the adverse effects of oil exploration over the years, noted that equitable distribution of oil benefits would be a solace to the people.
Represented by the Deputy Governor, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, Governor Diri said that there is need to make a correction on the name of the community from Oloibiri to Otuabagi.
He suggested that the name be changed to “Oloibiri Museum and research Center Otuabagi.”
Also speaking, the Managing Director Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, Dr. Samuel Ogbuku while applauding President Muhammadu Buhari for bringing the planned museum to reality, asked for collaboration with other partners to construct a befitting access road leading to the museum.
Dr. Ogbuku who insisted on the commitment of NDDC to develop the Niger Delta region, stressed the importance of synergy among stakeholders to be able to deliver regional project that will have positive impact on the residents.
In his presentation, the Group Chief Executive Officer, NNPC LIMITED, Mele Kyari gave assurance that NNPC will support the project and make it come true.
Kyari maintained that the contribution of Oloibiri to the economy cannot be over emphasized.
He promised that NNPC will provide fifty percent and will drive other partners.
In the same vein, the Managing Director and Country Chair, SPDC Osagie Okunbo who described the discovery of oil as historic pledged their commitment towards the realization of the project.
He stated that expectations are for the people to own and protect the facility while taking advantage of the museum.