Governor Udom Emmanuel (right) receiving a souvenir from the Managing Director ExxonMobil’s companies in Nigeria, Mr Paul MacGrath.

By Ubong Sampson

Dating back to 1964, the League of Developing Countries (LCDs) had converged at the first session of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) to agitate for a New International Economic Order (NIEO).

Lying underneath this demand for a NIEO was a dissatisfaction on the part of the LDCs as it concerns trading, financial, technological and other (selfish) policies pursued by the developed countries towards the LDCs. And it is on record that since inception, the developed countries have oppressed the LDCs, discriminated against them, as well as denied them access to advanced technology.

How does this concern Mobil and the gift?

Simple. The NIEO proposal as was drafted and pushed by the LDCs had five standing objectives. And for the sake of or the lack of time, the demand for the regulation and control of the activities of multi – national Corporations/Trans-National Corporations (MNCs/TCs) in their host states, relates with the issue in context.

READ : Akwa Ibom oil communities tell ExxonMobil to name contributions to fight against COVID-19

In this view, the NIEO declaration emphasized on the formulation, adoption and implementation of an international code of conduct to regulate the activities of MNCs in host countries with the aim of removing restrictive business practices in the LDCs, regulating expatriate domination and repatriation of profits (capital flight), re – investment of capital in host countries to help develop their economies, among others.

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Till date, I can’t understand why my mind went negatively to ExxonMobil the very first time I learnt this in class. Why? As simple as understanding the fact that when it comes to the afore listed, ExxonMobil scores positive where the effects on Nigeria, nay Akwa Ibom as its host country and state are negative, while scoring negative where the effects are positive on us. For instance, on repatriation of profits, ExxonMobil scores highly positive, and negative on reinvestment of capital. Meanwhile, the experiences of developed countries with ExxonMobil are near totally opposite. For instance, in the ExxonMobil 2018 Worldwide Report on Contributions and Community Investments, United States alone had a total of 112.4% on social and internal welfare contributions from the company while the whole of Africa and the Middle East got 23.3. In the areas of education and arts&culture, the US got 46.8% and 2.0%, while the entirety of Africa and the M.E got 3.9% and nil respectively. The attached photo shows examples of ExxonMobil’s kind of social investment projects in the US, while in Nigeria is only good to them for mosquitoes nets and other bread and butter donations, like the refurbished rickety cars donated to Akwa Ibom state government to support the fight against COVID-19. Akwa Ibom state government has rejected the donation from ExxonMobil.

The cause of this can simply be drawn from a common saying that the things one tolerates or refuses to, teaches people how to treat them. From the ones the governments at state levels tolerate from indigenous staff, why won’t the company find a suiting template from there to draw a generally workable plan to undermine the country and her citizenry? The MNCs such as ExxonMobil have been having filled days with their exploitative acts because the governments of their host states have been reacting to these issues with pernicious leniency and kid gloves. Overtime, the results have shown and still showing in full glare.

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Fact is, if we had long treated their petty gifts like the Akwa Ibom state govt just did, and if our authorities have been giving support to the protesting acts by citizens, there would have been a remarkable change in ExxonMobil’s attitude towards us before now. But rather than show solidarity to its citizens, the Nigerian leadership has been attaching security escorts to expatriates and who turn to beat and maltreat their own compatriots. Why won’t they see and treat us like the third world?

  • Ubong Sampson (08021419939) writes from an oil community in Mkpat Enin, Akwa Ibom state.
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