Tuesday, 16 August 2011

A book review by Bayo Ogunmupe


Minimizing Political Risk for Sustainable Investment: Ikenna Nwosu: Mooregate Ltd; Lagos 2008
 
The Book, Minimizing Political Risk for Sustainable Investment has an interesting rider; Global Paradigm Shifts and Nigeria’s Niger Delta. It is a product of the doctoral degree thesis of Dr. Ikenna Nwosu, a solicitor and advocate of the Supreme Court of Nigeria.
 
It however appears timely more so when the Niger Delta imbroglio has attained a dangerous dimension. The volume deals with the risk involved in mining oil from the crises ridden Niger Delta region.
 
Also, the book highlights the future of private political risk or indeed catastrophic risk in searching for oil in Nigeria. For those who operate in these quicksand of political intrigue, it is pertinent to ask why the transnational corporations are so embroiled or focused their portfolio investments in these risky terrains?
 
This book gives some insights into the beginning conundrums, bringing into sharp focus those intriguing features of political risk and investment. In its general outlook, the volume cuts a picture of a reformist and a pragmatic exposition of the depreciation theory of oil resources in its revolting reality.
 
In all, the book has six chapters, 342 pages, two pages of acknowledgements, six pages of abbreviations and a page of cases and arbitral awards. There are also 24 pages of references, four pages of appendices and an index of 16 pages. In fact the book is too voluminous and would be too expensive for an ordinarily reader.
 
Chapters are and two treat the risks in transnational resources investment and the political risk. These chapters highlight the risks; geological, political, commercial as well as the legal factors shaping investment.
 
Chapters three and four deal with managing risks and analyzing the evoluting global order expanding the frontiers of political risk.
 
Chapters five and six regale us with the expanding frontiers of political risk, the tread in the global management of the dilemma of resources control. The concluding chapter six offered a preliminary assessment of political risk and the findings and conclusions of researchers of peaceable means of solving the clamour for resources control in the Niger Delta Region.
 
As readers plough through the book page after page, one will, but notice its scholastic depth which rubs off on it as a magnificent piece of literary undertaking. It displays the technical virtuosity that is as breathtaking as it is fulfilling. Despite their occasional language barriers, that is to say that they are sometimes incomprehensible, the chapters still come through with erudition and profound effort at learning. It is sympathetic to the Niger Delta Resources Control Militants.

At all events, one finds Nwosu’s epilogue a fascinating reading. In it, he proposes that the solution to the Niger Delta crises will be found through a multi-skateholder engagement process, which he has outlined in the book. Such an engagement process that allows all the interested parties, government, organized private sector, labour, religious groups, environmentalists and others to sit together and solution to the crises.
 
The ideal way to organize such a forum would be through a public-private partnership that is jointly staffed, organized and funded. An organization such as the World Council of Indigenous Peoples could be asked to organize to maximize its benefits.
 
However, it is critical that the process be seen as neutral, one in which the government and the oil industry act as participants, not leaders or promoters. To ensure this independence, a secretariat should be created with wherewithal to effectively resist external pressure.
 
The organizers should focus on developing a policy and institutional support that is consistent with the terms of the conference.
 
No only that, they should facilitate full public participation in the decision making regarding sustainable petroleum and non-oil development projects.
 
Moreover, the organizers should facilitate communication between the host communities and the organized private sector tour, the conveners should provide training and capacity building for the militants, the communities, the OPS and all tiers of government.
 
Five, the organizers should develop a transparent and effective system to measure and report on system performaces.
 
It will profit the stakeholders too to develop a conflict resolution mechanism whose decision would be acceptable to all and sundry.
 
The author, Dr. Ikenna Nwosu holds a Ph.D in Law from University of Dundee, United Kingdom. He was called to Nigerian Bar in 1990 and practices law as member of the International Bar Association. He did not divulge his age, and the number of his wives, and children for polygamy is unusual in Nigeria.
 
Apart from legal practice, Dr. Nwosu is also engaged in consultancy in the energy, natural resources and the investment sectors. His 15 – years research on the Niger Delta crises is reflected in this book. It is resource material for all who are involved in the search for lasting solution to Niger Delta impasse.
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