The history of the Petroleum Industry in Nigeria cannot be fully told without recourse to the contributions of one man-Alhaji Rilwanu Lukman. The former Petroleum Minister passed away in Vienna Austria on 21st July 2014, but left his indelible footprints on the sands of the petroleum sector.
His achievements and contributions to the growth of the sector cannot be over emphasized.
His track record was overwhelmingly successful even to cynics that sought to tarnish his image. He was the Minister of Mines and Power(1984-1985),Minister of Petroleum Resources and Chairman, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation,NNPC(1986), Minister of Foreign Affairs( January to September 1990) and Chairman Board of Directors, National Electricity Power Authority(1993-1994), all under military rule.
With the return of democratic regime in 1999, Alhaji Lukman became President Olusegun Obasanjo’s Special Adviser on Petroleum and Energy Matters. He was also the Adviser on Energy and Strategic Matters to President Umaru Yar’Adua(August 2007);Minister of Petroleum Resources(2008-2010).He left the office when the cabinet was reshuffled by the then Acting President Goodluck Jonathan.
His record on the international scene was quite intimidating too. He was at one time the President and the Secretary-General of Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries(OPEC) between 1995 to 2000. He founded Afren Oil which quickly became Nigeria’s premier oil and gas exploration and production company. He was the first African to receive a fellowship award at the Imperial College, London.
All these achievements were by dint of hard work. Alhaji Lukman was a stickler for excellence; he never allowed the vicissitudes of life to slow him down. He was a good family man who devoted ample time for his family in spite of his busy schedules. Though, he had a few things going for him, he had his first degree as a
at the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, and later schooled at the Imperial College, London, before earning a higher degree in Mining Engineering at the University of Mining and Metallurgy, Leoben Austria. He also earned a degree in Mineral Economics in McGill University, Montreal, Canada.
He had basic competence of the sector of the economy in which he played. He never allowed his qualifications and achievements get into his head. He was regarded as a humble man who played by the rules. He was a team player as many who worked with him can testify to. His legacies on both the local and international petroleum scenes are still being felt. Nigeria has really lost an irreplaceable petroleum icon.
Go well Lukman, just know that your contributions and legacies can never be forgotten. His remains were interred Tuesday, last week in Zaria, his home town in Kaduna State. He was aged 75.
The incontrovertible take away in Lukman’s life is dedication to service and patriotism of enviable nature. While he rests in peace, how many Nigerians have these virtues?