There was a send-off party for Chima at the Atlantic Hall of Hotel Presidential. The organizers of the event forgot to invite the local press. NLNG must learn quickly. Coming to live in Port Harcourt means that it is now a very major stake-holder in Niger Delta’s biggest city and if its relocation to Port Harcourt truly reflects its corporate conscience then it must begin to show as much regard for the Port Harcourt media as it did for the Lagos media houses when its head office was still in Lagos. It is expected that the move of NLNG to Port Harcourt should translate among other gains to a close and mutually beneficial collaboration with the Port Harcourt media. It makes common good sense. There can be no other reason for the Port Harcourt media to be excited about having NLNG on its turf.
NLNG under Babs Jolayemi Omotowo must work with the Port Harcourt media. Chima Ibeneche was an MD who lived and worked in Lagos but endeared himself to the Niger Delta with his last task in office. Babs is expected to live and work in Port Harcourt everyday. Far much more is expected of him in this city. Already the Port Harcourt press waits to hear from him. It has been suggested in quite a few media circles that the Lagos advertising agency holding NLNG’s advertising account should open an office in Port Harcourt to give media houses in the host communities a piece of the advert revenue. That would only be fair. It would certainly be provocative to have NLNG shipping in correspondents from Lagos to do media work that many reporters can do here. NLNG’s move to Port Harcourt must not be reduced to mere symbols. By making the great move to Port Harcourt NLNG has opened its conscience to the yearning of the Niger Delta people for a greater role in the oil business in their region. NLNG’s increase of its stake in the region should build capacity for other industries.
Babs may not know it from a distance but apart from pleasing the board of directors by building on the prosperity which Chima left behind, he must also become a Niger Delta hero by making NLNG a true driver of economic development in the state. Why else did Governor Amaechi lobby so hard to see this relocation to Port Harcourt happen at the end of last year ? Babs now has the opportunity to write a glorious future for an NLNG that is no longer in exile.