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Relationship Management in the Oil and Gas Organizations: The Niger Delta Experience

21. 10. 2021
Štítky

No organization anywhere in the world could derive sustainable development without imbibing clearly defined Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) plans and execution in absolute terms. This paper looks at the principles and practice behind (CRM) and (CSR) implementations in oil and gas organizations in general and how fair this is integrated into the oil and gas operations of the Niger Delta oil-rich areas of Nigeria by the Federal Government of Nigeria and International Oil Companies (IOC). This is especially about how these CSR policies affect the lives of the people of the Delta region and their economic and social developments.

Introduction

The definition of customer relationship management (CRM) has always not been universally the same all over the globe. This stems from the fact that different ways are adopted to deal with customers and sales information as expected. 

Focusing on the guiding marketing and sales management principles, Hair et al. (2010) defines CRM as follows: 

“It’s a systematic integration of information technology and human resources designed to provide maximum value to customers and to obtain maximum values from customers”.

Most businesses believe that when purposeful Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) strategy is initiated and executed they are in better stead to forging sustainable business and social development within them and the society where they operate their businesses. However, according to Ibe et al (2014) recent developments in the Nigerian oil and gas industry sector tend to negate this lofty position. They jumped to this conclusion as a result of the multi-national oil and gas companies such as Texaco, Total, Chevron and Exxon Mobil in Nigeria who have done a lot of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) projects to raise the welfare and social development of their host environments but, only resulted in the host community stakeholders pushing up actions that question their sustainability. This is shown by the rate at which the host community stakeholders entrench their grievances in the ways of violence and acrimonies, protests, banditry, equipment vandalism, and militancy insurgencies (Ibe, 2014). All these happen in the face of oil multi-national companies massively disbursing welfare and financial assistance to their host communities (Ibok&Mboho, 2011; Mbat, Ibok& Daniel, 2013) in Ibok et al (2014).

Since similarity abounds in the theories and practices of CRM and CSR it is possible to cross ventilate their relationships ideas and so this paper will be pursuing their relationship ideals interchangeably.

Literature Review

The Application of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Theories in Organizations

The theories of CRM help organizations to find out how best customers could be fitted into the use of a firm’s products. In this way, firms can rationalize the use of their resources to obtain optimum business achievements. 

According to Hair (2010), through different strategies business design responsible means that is coordinated to attract varied customers to their products in the highly heterogeneously differentiated markets; the market niches; and individualized markets. Williams (1985) in his thought argues that customers can only be properly managed satisfactorily and profitably when their dignity is preserved by adopting the concepts, theories, and principles that are in line with humanity and dignity. 

Large aspects of behavioral theories are therefore applied to create a credible business environment by cleverly harnessing objective and scientific analysis with empirical observations. This will set the organization clean from business errors.

In the view of Vangie Beal (online undated), CRM observations involve all business activities that relate to the company and its customers, either sales or non-sales (services) involvements. Beal, however, specifies that CRM as a business concept is more of the time used in business to consumer (B2C) interactions, but it is also required to operate Business to Business (B2B) interactions. 

In B2B operations, CRM concepts are mostly used in winning contracts, contacting clients, and opening bargains. To further elaborate on the activities of CRM, the investigations of other relationship researchers could also throw more lime-light into its conceptual usefulness in business practices. 

In their social psychology research, “the almost customer: a missed opportunity to enhance corporate success” Barnes et al. (2004) investigate the fundamental knowledge of the ‘relationships’ concept to elucidate on the social psychologist’s aspects and find out what causes “fledging relationships to fail”.

Barnes et al (2004) reveal the works of the respective researchers as follows: 

“Duck (1991) found out that individuals who are experts in the art of creating relationships are aware of the importance of the environmental setting under which meeting takes place. 

“A situation whereby an individual likes another person and wishes to continue with the relationship, they will always prefer to meet as partners in a more intimate setting”. 

“But otherwise, however, an individual will want to meet the o, the person in a sterile environment in order to make sure that the relationship woutoampered.“ Fehr (1996) who studied the influence of ‘proximity’ admonished that individuals who live nearer to each other are most likely to find relationships easily than those who are far away from one another. 

This opinion he buttresses from the point of view of closeness to one another will furthermore; often encouraging associations that furthermore lead to encouragingionships. 

“In the same vein, Ebbesen et al. (1976) stress that quality in the relationship will also spring up when individuals are closer to each other. 

“Also, according to Barnes et al. (2004), web-based merchants will more likely develop “almost customers” than the locally-based merchants. 

“Fehr (1996) opines that physical attractions are aids to marriages as well as, they are to building friendships.

“Brehm (1985) and Patzer (1985) agreed that individuals who look attractive to one another have inner feelings of being alike and so find it interesting and easy to exchange pleasantries.”

The summary of these researches suggests that attractiveness is sine-qua-non to making marketing employments, especially when it requires meeting with customers as well as relationships building where proper dressing, in fitting appearance could also enhance relationship formation. Since, it is quite agreed by psychologists that, “first impression” is always important for relationship building (Fehr, 1996).

Duck (1991), however, qualifies physical attractiveness with the necessary acquisition of skills are needed at a particular point in time. He opined that the essentials of interpersonal skills are in addition, important in building relationships (Duck, 1991).

He further posited that skills factors may well include personal knowledge in specific knowledge areas in particular and specific business operations which are needed at various steps in building relationships (Duck, 1991). 

Also, according to Duck (1991), it should not be expected that the first step in building a relationship would start while attending the funeral or unpalatable events. Duck later on, however, agrees that it sometimes happens (Duck, 1991).

In another development, Fehr (1996) and Duck (1991) observed that “responsiveness” or “attractiveness” as a distinctive phenomenon that is noticed in others is a reliable skill in cultivating relationships.

To buttress this observation, Dale Camegie (1936, p. 36) in his work, “the almost customer: a missed opportunity….”, makes the following declaration - “You will make more friends in two months by showing interest in others than you will in two years while trying to make people interested in you”.

In short, there cannot be any single factor that could be assumed to be responsible in totality in building successful relationships. Be it in business or social settings; but rather a combination of several cues such as person’s appearance, reliability of purpose, individual interest and disposition, situational settings such as nearness to one another, and more importantly a meeting that is devoid of bad occurrence (i.e. death, accidents, tragedy, rancor or bad news of any kind, etc) would likely promote healthy relationships.

The Development of More Interests in Relationships Studies

Relationships development is a day-to-day occurrence in human existence and of course in every society, this makes social psychology researchers develop an enormous interest in its investigations. Further discussions on this, will show how this topic is so important to our normal life. According to Fehr (1996), if we have the notion of meeting each other again, we will somehow trigger our need to develop relationships.

Relationship building cut across almost all aspects of our normal life as many social psychologists continue to pick interest in its study. As we are going to understand this further while looking through the investigations of others. It has also been revealed that the mindset of meeting each other again will likely foster our perception of building friendships (Fehr, 1996). Also, if we feel our dealings with some individuals are unending, the tendency is to endeavor to picture more of our positive encounters than the negatives so that our next encounter will be as pleasurable as possible (Miller and Marks, 1982; Knight and Vallacher, 1981). 

Situations, whereby individuals are positively being frequently exposed, affect other person’s thinking even if only to catch a glance of them without interaction (Fehr, 1996). Such is evidenced when popular footballers, musicians, and other stars are being frequently shown. As a further example from the popular study of Zajonc (1998) reveals, our frequent exposure to others cultivates greater awareness of us in them, even if it is only our pictures that are being viewed. 

The organizational implication here is in the example of frequent staff turnover of customer-facing persons such as the salespeople. The organization faces the danger of missing both potential and existing customers. Research has also proved that cultivating relationships through familiarity helps to tidy up negative feedback in a transaction. This is proved by Snap and Leary (2001) whose investigation shows taking some minutes to familiarize oneself with another later negates negative feedback into positive results than not getting acquainted before meeting each other before a transaction. In this instance, the necessity for interactions between an organization’s personnel and customers is buttressed far before even transmitting bad news affecting the company’s position regarding a transaction. Say, a situation of the company’s stock out, product defects, disruption of distribution channels, product (oil) spillage, facility vandalism, or otherwise. Another situational factor in social research is the one done by Fehr (1996) communicating an outcome or relying on relationship partners on one another for incentives. This shows that persons authorized to award incentives or even to apportion blame are always appreciated more than anyone without such authority. Therefore, a retail trader, who does not allow his salesmen some measure of discretional authority in dealing with retail customers, stands the risk of losing prospects.

Dyadic influence is another way of developing relationships. According to Blackman and Secord (1959), it is possible to prefer someone who shows interest in us. If someone felt he or she is liked by a particular individual, it is likely to succumb to the interest of that individual in question.

Curtis and Mille (1986) assert in their research survey that participants that felt at home with those they were interacting with during the investigation had an interest in them, embrace them, and therefore feel relaxed to reveal their intimacy with them. It is therefore important for an organization to show friendliness in their dealings with customers or else risk the development and retention of customers who are likely to be loyal and helpful to them.

Oil and gas organizations

Altman and Taylor (1973) also reveal that at first meetings with persons they release little information about themselves, and they wait till when the situation allows them to release more important data on a bit by bit requirements. And again, if negative development occurs along the line, they resort to reducing the giving out of more important information.

This agrees with the investigation opinion of Fehr (1996) who reveals that individuals will get closer to people who reveal more about themselves. However, Archer and Berg (1978); Rubin (1975); Cosby (1972) saw it differently when they discovered that some persons restrict disclosures when they are first meeting with new acquaintances especially when it involves revealing information that is quite personal. They may even stop further relationship building if they feel uncomfortable forging ahead with their new acquaintances disclosing very personally involving data.

The need for this elaborate discussion on relationship building is to give organizations (especially the business) the chance to know their customers better for good relationship development. This will ensure long-lasting customer satisfaction and a more productive customer retention atmosphere. 

According to “Coyles and Gokey (2005), “every company knows that it costs far less, to hold on to a customer than to acquire a new one. That is why customer retention has become the ’Holy Grail’ in industries from airline to wireless”.

To understand the purpose of clearly formed customer relationship policy, ‘webopedia.com’ (undated, retrieved 23/01/2021) made a brief online summary of the need for customer relationship management which would assist to enhance a better understanding of CRM Strategy. The needs for Customer Relationship Management are therefore outlined below according to “webopedia.com”: 

  • “Understand the customer;
  • Retain customers through better customer experience;
  • Attract new customers; 
  • Win new clients and contracts;
  • Increase profitability; and
  • Decrease customer management costs“

To remove ambiguity between Customer Relationship Management and Customer Relationship Marketing, Laura Aberle (on-line, undated, retrieved, 14/05/2016) explains: “a facet of customer relationship management (CRM) that focuses on customer loyalty and long-term customer engagement rather than short-term goals like customer acquisition and individual sales. The goal of relationship marketing (or customer relationship marketing) is to create strong, even emotional, customer connections to a brand that can lead to ongoing business, free-word- of mouth promotion, and information from customers that can generate leads.”

Figure 1: Effective Relationship Marketing Showing Variety of Overlapping Strategies and Technologies Below

“Figure 1: Effective relationship marketing involves a variety of overlapping strategies and technologies that help foster a deeper, long-term relationship with current and prospective customers.” - Laura Aberle (on-line, undated, retrieved, 14/05/2016).

Variety of Overlapping Strategies and Technologies

Laural Aberle asserts that Customer Experience Management (CEM) is what relationship marketing is all about; it must be well implemented to pave ways for adequate understanding between the firm and its client for healthy brand loyalty. To achieve this, interaction at personal levels is important (LauralAberle, asserts that Customer Experience Management (CEM) is what relationship personal communication) or some other related strategies which may include phoning, visits, and website information processes. 

Retailing Petroleum Products and CRM in Nigeria

At this juncture, it is important to note that, gasoline retailing in Nigeria does not embrace the awareness of the dividends of relationship marketing as seen from the propounded theories of CRM as reviewed earlier in this paper. It is thought that the reasons for this are not so strange. Research observations show that Nigerian gasoline vendors are noted for exhibiting what marketers refer to as “sellers’ market”. In this type of market, the supply of the product to retail service outlets is most of the time always done crudely. It takes an unorthodox way of doing petroleum business in Nigeria, such as smuggling, pipeline banditry, hoarding, price escalations, pirating, and a host of other vagaries(Akpoghome, O.S, and Badejo, D., 2006).

That being so, it looks awkward sometimes when there is a glut in the supply chain system. One will see gasoline merchants running retail filling stations, dishing out incentives to their customers for filling up their vehicle tanks in full in their retail outlets. This in a way, however, promotes customer loyalty; but when the glut period is over, they revert to their status quo, and abandon anything they know of CRM to their customers – including the very loyal ones. They abandon the tenet of Snap and Leary (2001) which emphasizes the importance of “organization’s personnel and customer interactions even before any bad news of transactions could occur.” These may be incidences of company product shortage; defects in production; spillage, vandalism of equipment and facilities; channels disruptions, and many others.

These also remind us of the investigation of Fahr (1996) which agrees with comments on “the power of incentives at the retail trade level that proves that an organization that denies its salespeople of their discretion to appreciate the worth of its retail (in terms of administering incentives) customers risks the chance of losing prospects.”

Recent Relationship Management Practice

Perhaps, we take our initial cue from the work of Handfield, Primo, and Oliveira (2015). Their investigation concentrated on how successful large oil and gas companies approach their relationship management practice. They display the fact that successful companies working across international borders work towards satisfying the interest of concerned stakeholders in oil projects such as the clients, sponsors, contractors, investors, subcontractors, users, and affected communities as a result of the project involvement along the supply chain.

In their view, effective procurement strategy and supply chain management are responsible for project success. They also concluded that the role played by relationship management is crucial to the overall achievements of oil and gas projects. 

Relationship Management and Community Development

In his work, Cummins (2015) reveals that in the difficult situation and overbearing conditions of today's business environment, new procedures are needed to boost relationship practices and management.

It is sad to note that Corporate - Community - Relation (CCR) and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) principles and practices by oil companies in establishing healthy relations with communities where oil production takes place in the Niger Delta zones of Nigeria is disastrous (Idemudia and Ite, 2005); recording different conflicting clashes in the area every day hampers development. They further discovered that the root course of relationship breakdown is a neglect of harmonizing community feelings with their CSR policies. 

They equally pointed out that the lack of government assistance in developing the needed conducive atmosphere that would breed essential understanding within the host community created their adamant mood in asking for the adequate benefit for exploiting their lands. This line of argument by Idemudia and Ite (2005) aligns with the position of Handfield, Primo, and Oliveira (2015) in terms of properly accommodating the interest of stakeholders for a business project to fester. 

In the view of Wilson (2008), many of the multinational oil and gas business project operators operating in Nigeria are directly implementing their organization’s inimical CSR policies as presented by their home offices hence the constantly prevailing hostility that develops violent movements.

Stakeholder’s Concerns and Relationship Management in Nigeria’s Oil   

Exploration Activities

Handfield, Primo, and Oliveira (2015), Cummins (2015), and Wilson (2008) assert that current investigations concerning CRM are majorly centered on companies whose agendas are fashioned along with the interest of the host communities where their explorations and other mining activities are pursued along with other stakeholders (e.g. employees, users, consumers, suppliers, etc.) whose activities or otherwise affect the interest or business activities of the firms.

In the same manner, it is important to identify Nigeria’s CRM environment and practices, especially in the oil and gas industry. The virility and interplay of the numerous players within the context of the oil exploitation; the relations involved between the state and the community on one hand; and the Multi-national Oil Companies (MOC) in another hand; the involvements of the rights activists; the environmentalist's involvements in the juxtaposition of the interest of the state, the MOC and the host community – how they are fairing with each other in the Delta regions which form the nucleus of the theatre of oil exploitation areas (Umejesi and Thompson, 2015).

Still, on this concern, Umejesi and Thompson (2015) draw attention to certain theoretical assumptions and the interplay of the relationship. They concluded by classifying the relations between such stakeholders like the state, the MOC, and the Community as being dangerously complex. The Oil companies are assumed to be playing the role of “individualism”; they see the State (Nigeria) cribbed in a position described as “hierarchy”; and seeing the host community as being subservient, tagged their role as “fatalism” or “egalitarianism” not being carried along into the main operational project scheme of the partnership of the two described before.

While elaborating on these descriptions, the authors posited that elephants (the state and the MOCs) are always in disunity with egalitarianism/ fatalism and similarly, egalitarianism/ fatalism are always not in unity. But as would be expected the egalitarianism/ fatalism category always suffers the brunt in the hands of state security operatives.

Umejesi and Thompson (2015); Wilson, (2008) however contended that, the recognition of the host community now as peers is however arguable, and that with the empowerment of the host community as partners with active involvement in establishing the oil prosperity, acrimony will reduce and the various “solidarity groups” will be obliterated out automatically. 

It is however a note of sorrow for Oviasuyi and Uwadiae (2010) in their expression of difficulties faced by the host community of the Niger Delta oil-rich zone comprising Abia, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Edo, Imo, Ondo, and Rivers states. According to the authors they have been unwittingly abandoned for too long by the federal authorities. They posited that “oil discovery, exploration and exploitation in Nigeria since 1956 have turned to be a curse in these regions rather than a blessing.”

Corroborating the stands of Oviasuyi and Uwadiae (2010), Idemudia and Ite (2005) accused the government that it was “only making disguised attempts to relieve the regions of the burden created by oil exploration and exploitation of the regions as the local dwellers of the oil-rich zone are merely subjected to severe difficulties from the harmful effect of pollution, environmental destructions and displacement of their aquatic life”. 

Oviasuyi and Uwadiae (2010) recapitulated their observation and emphasized that the government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria acting along with their multinational oil firm’s partners relegated their CSR roles into playing politics with the lives of the oil communities instead of going into a reasonable arrangement that will boost Community – MNC - Government and other stakeholder’s relationships for better co-existence. This has worsened the observed relationships to the extent that most of the rightful demands from the local community are always considered as being outrageous because of lack of trust amongst the stakeholders and so clampdown actions are resorted to by the government using the state security services.

There have been reported cases where state security forces had descended heavily on local youths asking for their natural right as stakeholders by crushing them with live bullets living hundreds dead and raping defenseless women (Oviasuyi and Uwadiae, 2010; Nisirimovu, 2000; Onduku, 2001). The villages of Odi, Opia-Ikenyan, Okerenkoko, and Ogoniland massacre are cases in point.

According to Iyayi (2006), the Nigerian military high handedness against the right agitators in the oil regions only explains the political tactic of the federal authorities that the incessant acrimony in the oil exploration and exploitation regions is the direct result of the distrusting habit of the people against the government, and even the members of the Bayelsa State (one of the states that comprise the Niger Delta acronym) government operators, including the state governor. 

Unfortunately, this criminal view ascribed by the federal government of Nigeria to the people of the oil exploration areas has set the local dwellers of the Niger Delta against the oil multinational corporations operating in this zone. “Thus, compounding the already sour relationships created by the federal government as observed by Iyayi (2006). 

Umejesi and Thompson (2015); Oviasuyi and Uwadiae (2010); Iyayi (2006) also gave credence to the interview granted the managing director of Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) by ‘Friends of the Earth International’ in South Africa, pointing accusing fingers at local stakeholder’s “inimical attitude” as being responsible for the problems they face in the process of their oil production functions. 

According to the authors, this discouraged the SPDC from “taking appropriate actions to address the ecological devastation of several areas of Ogoni land in the Niger Delta.

As a direct outcome of the Federal Government of Nigeria’s conspiracy theory with the multinational oil corporations, the foreign governments of the multinational oil corporations also agreed with the seemingly acrimonious habits of the people of the oil-rich areas (Umejesi and Thompson, 2015; Oviasuyi and Uwadiae, 2010; Iyayi, 2006).

This acrimonious view of the host community made the United States government extend a proposal of assistance to train the Nigerian military and other security men in charge, on how to curb militancy aggressions within the swampy forest where explorations are carried out (Umejesi and Thompson, 2015; Oviasuyi and Uwadiae, 2010; Iyayi,2006).

Thus, the indigenous stakeholders became “suspicious of the collaborative moves of the federal government and the oil companies to rid them of their natural resources and disorganized them by applying the erstwhile “divide and rule” strategy to disintegrate their might and will” (Oviasuyi and Uwadiae, 2010).

Suggested Research on Relationship Management in the Oil Rich Delta Region of Nigeria

Though the tripartite relationships between the major stakeholders in the oil exploration regions persist – that is, the seemingly uncompromising relationships between the Federal Government of Nigeria and the host communities on one side; the giant oil companies operating in the areas on another side; and the host community on the other side, the central government resolve to fight the danger posed by the continuous devastating environment as a result of oil exploration activities and constant oil explosions is welcome, but not enough has been done.

Therefore, the skirmishes of the militancy groups sabotaging production effort and their intentional destructions of oil installations in the area, as well as criminal vandalism of oil pipeline networks (Nwilo and Badejo, 2005), are the signals to show local dwellers dissatisfaction which calls for transparency amongst all the major stakeholders in their dealings with one another. This author, therefore, suggests that further related research be conducted to investigate measures put in place by all the concerned stakeholders that could create healthy harmony amongst them apart from the ones highlighted by Nwilo and Badejo (2005) below.

As investigated by Nwilo and Badejo (2005), the central authorities put in place the establishment of different governmental organizations to take charge of different measures. These include the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA); Niger Delta Environmental Survey; Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC); Generation of standards for the development of environmental sensitivity index maps for the Nigerian coasts; Niger Delta Environmental Survey; and putting in place oil trajectory and fate models into the country’s oil spill management. 

The multinational oil corporations also faced the provision of basic services to the local inhabitants in form of establishing educational institutions, drainages, medical provisions, tap-water infrastructures, and sponsorship of children of the local communities in form of scholarships and above all providing job opportunities to the qualified members of the indigenous communities (Nwilo and Badejo, 2005).

But despite all these provisions, vandalism of pipeline and other oil installation types of equipment continue sporadically. The government had put in place amnesty measures in the past, kinetic operations have been initiated by the government, but it seems they are not all that working fine as resource control agitations are daily springing up in the areas. It is suggested that research could be conducted to find out the likely effect of a non-kinetic approach in resolving the problems through round table conferences. If research proves that the non-kinetic approach would best suit the situation, it should be also extended to all such trouble zones of insurgencies and militia operations where agitations amongst various stakeholders are rife all over the country.

Conclusively, it is also suggested that the two-factor theory (Frederick Herzberg et.al, 1957) research approach could be modified and conducted to find out what are the real interest (motivations) of these agitators and make it available based on the findings of the research conducted as the theory has proved so much beneficial in workplace agitation and other settings of social crisis and economic agitations.

Methodology

The main method adopted in this research paper is that of an intensive literature review procedure via desk research (Kotler, 2003; Dan, 2005; Joel et. al, 2005). In doing this, relevant and accurate research papers are consulted which cut across the review of secondary research materials. Sources are therefore through records obtained regarding the oil-producing zones of the Niger delta of Nigeria. This also includes peer reviews, previous researches on relationship management, the Federal Government of Nigeria, and some states’ records along with records of the operations of the multinational oil corporations operating in the area. Appropriate and relevant textbooks; relevant journals in soft and hard copies; the internet websites are particularly helpful to this work along with opinions, expressions, and views of various stakeholders.

Analysis of Data

The analysis section of this paper takes care of the responses gathered in this short research survey using an email platform to reach randomly selected respondents comprising men and ladies across the spectrum of business and economic observers/ analysts, public relations practitioners, oil marketers, government officials/ civil servants and NNPC officials who will want to remain anonymous. 

A simple percentage (%) of analysis is adopted because of its easiness to comprehend in general terms both by the researcher and the intended beneficiary of the research (Aaker, D. et.al, 2003),  

A total of 85 email questionnaires were sent out and 60 of which were returned and carefully completed with each question answered to the best opinion of each respondent.

Table 1: Can an organization survive meaningful development without a clear-cut relationship management program (CRM/CSR) policies implementation? 

Decision

No. of respondents (60)

Percentage (%)

Yes

0

0%

No

60

100%

Total

100

100%

SOURCE: Research Survey, 2021  

Table 1 above shows that no respondent, 0% did support organizations to survive a meaningful development without a clear-cut relationship management program (CRM/CSR) policies implementation. On the contrary, respondents strongly support organizations surviving meaningful development by implementing a meaningful and clear-cut relationship management program. This is indicated by the support of 100% of respondents.

Table 2: Have the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) and Multi-National Oil Companies (MOCs) done well in the implementations of their respective corporate social responsibility to the Delta Oil-rich host communities of Nigeria? 

Decision

No. of respondents

60

Percentage (%)

Yes

20

33%

No

40

67%

Total

60

100%

SOURCE: Research Survey, 2021 

The above table 2 also shows that 33% of the respondents feel that both the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) and the Multi-National Oil Companies (MOCs) did well in the implementations of their respective corporate social responsibility to the Delta Oil-rich host communities of Nigeria. While 67% of the respondents disagree that both organizations did well in the implementations of their respective corporate social responsibility to the Delta Oil-rich host communities of Nigeria.

Table 3: Do you support the militia group actions of the Niger Delta host community of their agitation for resource control implementation policy? 

Decision

No. of respondents

60

Percentage (%)

Yes

60

100%

No

0

0%

Total

60

100%

SOURCE: Research Survey, 2021  

The above table 3 shows that 60% of the respondents are not in support of militia group actions of the Niger Delta host community of their agitation for resource control implementation policy, while zero 0% is in support of militia agitation.

Table 4: Good business / social relationships associations can easily be formed if:

Decision

No. of respondents

60

Percentage (%)

Parties live close to one another

15

25%

Parties live far away from one another

0

0%

Parties are web-based customers  

 

75

75%

Parties are locally based customers

0

0%

Total

60

100%

SOURCE: Research Survey, 2021 

Table 4: The above table shows that 15% think that parties living close to one another will easily form good business / social relationships associations; 0% is of the respondents believe that Parties living far away from one another will easily form good business / social relationships associations; while 75% of respondents demonstrated that Parties who are web-based customers will easily form good business / social relationships associations and lastly no (0%) respondent think that good business / social relationships associations could be formed if parties are locally based customers.

Table 5: To actualize business /communal peace in the Niger Delta Oil-rich zones, the Federal Government must:

Decision

No. of respondents

60

Percentage (%)

Embrace force

 

0

0%

Embrace dialogue

45

75%

Embrace Both   

15

25%

Total

60

100%

Source: Research Survey, 2021

Table 5 above shows that, to actualize business /communal peace in the Niger Delta Oil-rich zones, none (0%) of the respondents feel that the Federal Government must embrace or apply force, 75% is in support of dialogue, and 25% canvasses for FGN to embrace both force and dialogue to actualize business /communal peace in the Niger Delta Oil-rich zones.

Results and Discussion

This research into the “Relationship Management in the Oil and Gas Organizations with specific reference to Nigeria’s Niger Delta Experience” has given rise to several findings for discussion.

Let’s begin with the first table. Table 1 has proved that without a clear-cut relationship program in place in the oil-rich areas of Niger Delta, no meaningful development can be established to ensure the survival and development of organizations operating in such zones. Particularly, the oil companies. This corroborates the assertions of Handfield et al, (2015). It has also been proved that the Federal Government of Nigeria along with the Multi-National Oil companies operating in the Niger Delta are not doing enough to socio-economically elevate the wellbeing of the oil-rich community going by the overwhelming declaration of 67% of the research participants under table 2. It is high time for the militia groups of the Niger Delta host communities to completely sheath their sword and embrace subtle means of presenting their grievances to the FGN. This is clear from the outcome of the research (table 3) showing 100% of respondents not supporting militia approach to achieve their demands from the government for their resource control policy agitation. 

Findings also show that business peace and good social relationships could be achieved if businesses are conducted via the webspace and a little towards parties who live close to one another. For example, research findings based on table 4 reveal that 75% of the respondents are in favor of businesses being conducted around the web facilities while at the same time 25% of respondents accommodate business practices among parties who live close to one another. 

To round up, this discussion is to also reveal from the findings that business will thrive well, and will be supported by communal peace in the Niger Delta if FGN embraces dialogue more than the use of force to reach compromises among stakeholders. To support these findings is the revelation of 75% of the respondents in favor of dialogue while 25% declared their interest in a blend of ‘dialogue’ and ‘force’ to deal with the occurrence of stubborn incidents.

Research Implications

The major take from this research as seen from the above research discussions is that the implementation of these findings will clear off the apparent obstacles in the ways of organizations, especially the MOCs operating in the Niger Delta oil-rich zone of Nigeria but this cannot happen without sacrifices from all the parties involved. It is a measure of ‘give and take’. The FGN should listen and address the grievances of the host communities; assess their yearnings and do the needful. The MOCs should embrace the modern-day practices on relationship management by augmenting the welfare packages of the concerned stakeholders. This is by being more socially responsible, proactive, and generous to the course of the wellbeing of their host community. The wholesale social responsibility policies of their home countries should not be singularly implemented in the Niger Delta in as environmental differences should be taken into consideration while operating in their locations of exploration and exploitation. 

A good blend of their home relationship practice must be adopted with the reasonable needs of their host communities in Nigeria. Above all the host communities must stop their aggressive postures in dealing with both the FGN and MOCs to forge a good communal life together. 

Careful implementations of these research findings will therefore bring about peace and meaningful development, not only in the theatre of operations but also ‘healthy fresh air’ will dominate the national wealth acquisition as oil revenue is still the cash cow for the Nigerian project.

Conclusions

It is important here to conclude by showing how far the CRM scorecard of the various stakeholders are when compared to normal standards of handling the relationship management of oil and gas exploration in the communities of the Niger Delta. 

To this effect, the central government of Nigeria on one side and the multinational oil companies on a different side; and also their joint effort to improve or undermine the interest of their host communities should take a separate view while implementing their CRM and Social Responsibility policies.

They concluded that successful international projects aim at equitably fulfilling the interests of their host communities and all other interdependent parties and partners. This includes investors, sponsors, users, clients, contractors, subcontractors, and not the least, is the concerned communities as a result of the project. 

Are the CRM policies of the FGN and MOCs on the Niger Delta communities, acceptable enough and agree with the investigation and findings of Handfield, Primo, and Oliveira (2015) studies titled, “Effective relationship management in successful large oil and gas projects”.

Just like Handfield et al, (2015), Cummins (2015) similarly stressed the importance of effective relationship policies to be agreed upon, pursued, and promoted. While elaborating on the need for effective implementation of CRM policies in an oil and gas project, Handfield, Primo and Oliveira (2015); Cummins (2015); Wilson (2008) all agreed that the need for effective CRM is to enhance the organization to have good operational inter-relationships with host communities where they establish their projects; and also carrying along with other stakeholders’ interests. These will also accommodate the fair treatment of suppliers, consumers, users, and project employees. Successor failure in the future lies in the hands of the three major stakeholders – the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN), the Multi-National Oil Companies (MOCs), and the Host Communities of the Delta Region of Nigeria.

Author: Bankole Aderemi Razaaq

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