ABUJA, May 28 (WNM staff/REUTERS) - Francis Olabode Johnson, President of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria ( PENGASSAN) has died. Johnson died at midnight, after a brief illness in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital.
A source who confirmed the news to SaharaReporters on Friday said that the PENGASSAN President complained of having a headache before he gave up the ghost. "He (Johnson) died at midnight in Port Harcourt after he complained of a sudden headache," he said. "We tried to battle his life but before we knew it what happened, he had given up the ghost". Different people from the Trade Union Congress (TUC) in Lagos also confirmed the death of the PENGASSAN President as they expressed great shock. "Yes, i just confirmed his death now. I am in great shock. I will be meeting with the TUC president soon" one them said.
Mr Johnson was first elected as the President of Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) on June 30, 2014. He was later re-elected in 2017 at the association's fifth Triennial Delegates Conference, TDC, held in Abuja after defeating two other contestants; Mohammed Saleh and Emmanuel Eze. Johnson, an employee of the NNPC was re-elected for a second term of 3 years that will have terminated in 2020.
Johnson had led the members of PENGASSAN against the privatisation of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and led the struggle for the reform of the Nigerian oil sector.
The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) has confirmed the death of its President, Comrade Francis Olabode Johnson, who died in the early hours of Friday.
Johnson's death was confirmed in a statement issued by the Association's National Executive Council (NEC), Central Working Committee (CWC).
Lumumba Okugbawa, the Deputy President and Frank Esanubi General Secretary of PENGASSAN jointly signed the statement reads: "We announce the untimely and painful death of Comrade Francis Olabode Johnson, President PENGASSAN in the early hours of Friday 31st May 2019 at National Hospital Abuja, after a brief illness.
"Late Comrade F. O. Johnson until his passing on was a staff of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and was on the final lap of his eventful and transformational six years tenure as President PENGASSAN, having been elected to that position in June 2014 and re-elected in 2017.
"Comrade Johnson will be remembered by his comrades, co-workers, family, and friends for being thoughtful, humorous, compassionate and transparent as he touched the lives of so many and was the very embodiment of strength, patience, and perseverance.
"These attributes propelled him to develop a deep connection with nature, zest for life and the total transformation of PENGASSAN National Secretariat and initiating the e-library and Events Resources Centres in all of our Zonal offices.
"His joyous laughter and giving spirit will forever be ingrained in our memories. Burial rites will be communicated to the general public as soon as we receive information from the family."
NNPC to sell assets
Nigeria's president Muhammadu Buhari has ordered the government to reduce all shares in joint venture oil assets to 40 percent in the 2019 fiscal year, according to budget documents released on Tuesday.
State oil company NNPC owns a 55 percent stake in its joint venture with Royal Dutch Shell and 60 percent stakes in others.
Other oil majors including Chevron and ExxonMobil also operate joint ventures with the NNPC.
Muhammadu Buhari sworn in
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari was sworn in on Wednesday for a second term at a low-key inauguration ceremony in which he surprised many by not delivering a speech.
The 76-year-old former military leader faces a long list of challenges, including combating a sluggish economy, high unemployment and a decade-old Islamic insurgency.
His four-year first term, in which he rarely gave public addresses, was overshadowed by speculation about his health and marked by a long absence abroad for medical treatment. But he won a clear endorsement in February's election with 56% of the vote.
Standing beside his wife, he took the presidential oath at an open-air ceremony in the capital Abuja that the government had previously said would be low-key to cut costs.
It was mostly attended by officials linked to the government, military or ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) party. Foreign dignitaries will be invited to celebrations on June 12, a national holiday, commemorating the 1999 return to civilian rule.
Buhari will need to create jobs if he is to turn around the country's fortunes over the next four years. Nearly a quarter of the workforce is unemployed and most of its 190 million people live on less than $2 a day.
"Our expectation is that Mr President will now focus more on the issue of security, employment and agriculture because these are the core areas," said Basil Ejidike, who chairs the APC in southern Anambra state.
Some social media users were critical of the absence of a speech. Software developer Tosin Olugbenga called it was a "missed opportunity".
"It is an opportunity for the president to speak to Nigerians and give further assurance of his commitment to a better Nigeria," he said in a tweet.
Buhari refused to disclose details of an ailment that caused him to seek treatment in Britain for five months in 2017.
Critics said that meant he was largely absent at a time when Africa's biggest economy was reeling from the recession it sank in to in 2016 - its first in 25 years - after prices of its main export oil fell. His supporters said he ran an effective administration and delegated to his deputy when overseas.
Buhari now has a second chance to turn campaign promises into policies aimed at stimulating economic growth.
Nigeria's economy grew by 1.93% last year, its fastest pace since the recession. Growth of 2.1% is forecast by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for this year, though that would be among the slowest rates in Africa.
Tackling insecurity across much of the country is already a priority. The military is fighting jihadist group Boko Haram and an offshoot linked to Islamic State in the northeast, while contending with communal violence over grazing land in central states.
A separate surge of bandit attacks and other violence in the northwest has forced 20,000 to flee to neighbouring Niger since April, the U.N. refugee agency said on Tuesday.