Plans by some Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) to scuttle the proposed oil agreement between the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) and Aker Energy have been exposed by audio files in possession of the Daily Statesman.
The CSOs, in a Zoom meeting, chaired by the Co-ordinator of the Third World Network (TWN) Africa, Dr Yao Graham, put in place deliberate strategies to create a sense of fear and panic within the population over “climate change concerns”, as they spearhead an agenda to prevent Ghana from achieving its long-standing ambition of putting Ghanaians in charge of oil and gas resources.
For the CSOs who are determined to promote the interest of their foreign pay masters, instead of the national interest, Ghana should leave her oil resources on the sea bed and rather borrow to promote the climate change agenda of their pay masters.
The transaction will ensure that GNPC Explorco receives US$5 billion dollars in cash flow, with Ghana being the recipient of some US$18 billion in revenue, thereby having control over its oil resources and destiny. It has therefore become mind-boggling to many Ghanaians as to why some CSOs will scheme to have this all-important transaction scuttled.
Strategies discussed at the Zoom meeting, which had leaders of the various CSOs in attendance, include hijacking both social and traditional media, investing resources, silencing dissenting CSOs, among others.
An energy analyst, Samuel Bekoe, explained a strategy to get the media on their side, praising some leaders of IMANI-Africa for taking the lead in pushing the media agenda.
“I am quite happy that Bright [Simons] was on Citi, and now Citi has published Theo’s article as well, and more articles likely to be published to keep the thing trending, until we get to see the agreement that they are going have [sic] come out.”
He added: “I think we should be a bit worried with the way the media behave and, you know, the people we have been training, and all usually are reporters, and we don’t control the editors, but they are controlled by editors whom we don’t know whether they have any interest in publishing these things or not.”
Mr Bekoe’s strategy was endorsed by one of the participants, introduced by Dr Graham only as “Beauty”. Whilst Mr Bekoe focused on the traditional media, Beauty’s strategy was on how to use social media to sustain the pressure on the Akufo-Addo government.
This, she said, is the means by which their anti-government agenda can go viral.
“I appreciate the input made. Just to add something small in terms of the strategies we could adopt. I thought that we could consider doing short videos, [erm] that we could easily share through social media and especially WhatsApp. Because it seems people prefer videos to text, so if we could… some of the points of contention that we want to bring clarity on, we could have some of our experts speak to those issues to set the record straight, especially given the latest press statement from GNPC, so that we can set the record straight for people to get clarity on some of those issues aside from the written materials so that it…can go viral if possible…, she added.
Dr Yao Graham, for his part, expressed worry about dissenting views from other CSOs and actors, like Dr Steve Manteaw, who he accused of supporting GNPC to become an operator. He wondered why the media is giving a platform to the other dissenting views.
“… I was expecting something, and then I was presented with a different thing. The Minister who was interviewed actually picked it back on our divergent views to make his case in his argument because he was saying that even some of the…CSO reps were in support of what they were doing. So, have engagement on these matters that we believe have to represent in totality our common interest, and I think that can help us so that even if you disagree, it is only fair to disagree but should rather be quiet or make a statement to that effect,” he stated.
The West Africa Regional Manager (Anglophone) of Natural Resource Governance Institute, Nafi Chinery, also expressed worry about the seeming divisions among the CSOs.
“I want to speak to the issue and subsequent appearance on radio by our team. I was very worried about what I observed, and I think a number of us have shared the same on the platform… It looks like we don’t have the full information of the alliance. Some people have some information that others don’t have and so when we appear on radio and media platforms, we seem to be saying different things.
“I thought if we are an alliance, then we should have one voice and promoting one cause, but I found that there is a kind of division… and I think that we need to address this and find a way for the campaign, the alliance and what we are seeking to achieve,” she stated.
Chairman of the meeting, Dr Graham, further spoke about their opposition to GNPC’s decision to invest into oil exploration. Making reference to statements already made by Bright Simons, Dr Graham impressed on the CSOs to raise questions with every answer that would be given in order to achieve their aim.
Africa can easily be said to contribute the least to global warming. According to a publication by the Energy Commission of Canada, “if you look at the carbon footprint of the entire African continent, 48 African countries combined are responsible for less than one percent of accumulative carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.”
It added: “Even if every one of the one billion people in sub-Saharan Africa tripled their electricity consumption overnight, and if all of that new power came from natural gas-fired plants, we estimate that the additional CO2 that Africa would add would equal to just one percent of total global emissions.”