Bamanga Usman Jada is one of the young top-notch technocrats appointed by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu into key positions to drive his Renewed Hope Agenda. At just 41, Jada has emerged as a beacon of hope and a harbinger of change in Nigeria’s dynamic oil and gas industry. His appointment as the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Oil and Gas Free Zones Authority (OGFZA) in October 2023, has heralded a new era of innovation, sustainability, and inclusive growth. His visionary leadership, coupled with a profound understanding of the industry’s challenges and opportunities, have instilled a renewed sense of optimism and dynamism within the sector.

Jada’s relentless pursuit of excellence and his unwavering commitment to fostering a culture of transparency and accountability have laid the groundwork for a transformative journey that promises to redefine Nigeria’s position in the global energy landscape.

On assumption of office about eight months ago, Jada immediately hit the ground running. He rolled out a 7-point agenda with which to govern and administer the Authority, drawing from his wealth of knowledge in civil service administration, financial procedures, international financial reporting standards (IFR) and public sector accounting with determination to fulfil the mandate of the Authority. The 7-point agenda was designed to foster economic growth and development as well as job creation, focusing on Efficiency and Trust, Infrastructure Excellence, Regulatory Modernization, Local Content Empowerment, Sustainability and Resilience, Investor-focus and Welfare. This agenda aims to propel OGFZA and Nigeria at large into a new era of prosperity and opportunities. Within the short period of steering the ship of OGFZA, Jada has exhibited exemplary foresight that is capable of rapidly bringing into reality the revitalization of the nation’s economy, thus fast-tracking the achievement of the Renewed Hope Agenda of President Tinubu.

Under Jada’s leadership, the Oil and Gas Free Zones Authority has witnessed notable achievements such as the establishment of new oil and gas Free Zones and attraction of investments. One of the new Free Zones is the Secured Bunkering Anchorage (SBA), Lagos. Established in 2023, SBA is the OGFZA initiative involving the declaration of a specific offshore location as an Oil and Gas Free Zone Safe Bunkering Anchorage (SBA) where ships of various sizes that transport crude, refined petroleum products, drilling and ancillary equipment/tools from various offshore project locations within the Gulf of Guinea and sub-Sahara Africa sub- region, can berth to replenish their fuel stock and carryout other STS transfer activities under Free Zone regulatory framework.

Another new free zone established by OGFZA under Jada’s leadership is the Orasi Special Energy Zone in Oguta Local Govt Area of Imo State. It was declared open by President Tinubu in January 2024. It is the largest Oil and Gas Free Zone sitting on a parcel of land measuring over 140,000 hectares with a huge gas which cuts across Ohaji/Egbema and Oguta areas of Imo state. The Zone will operate as international gas centre for downstream investment in gas-based manufacturing and power sub-sectors of the Nigerian economy. It brings to eight the number of free zones under OGFZA regulation.

The OGFZA helmsman, Jada, has been actively working towards mobilizing its free zones to achieve a turnaround and development of the Nigeria’s economy.

Under his leadership, OGFZA has attracted investment value of over $30bn and capable of securing 3 million jobs into the country through the Special Economic Zones.

The Brass Oil and Gas Free Zone in Bayelsa, has secured a $3.6bn investment commitment through the Brass Fertilizer and Petrochemical Company. The proposed project, will include building a dedicated gas processing facility with a capacity to produce 340 million scuffs per day, 36km of 28 inches pipeline, a methanol plant, an SBA export jetty, a construction jetty, and a residential area. Between the commencement and completion of the project, over 20,000 jobs will be generated.

OGFZA’s newest Zone ORASHI Special Energy Free Zone in Imo State, houses the Egbema Power plant with the capacity to generate 112.8mw of electricity. This power hub is expected to generate $1,97billion annually in revenue for the Nigerian Government. Orashi Special Energy Free Zone has potential of attracting investment worth $8bn Foreign Direct Investment.

Recently, NESGAS Producing Nigeria Ltd, a gas producing company, launched a 50,000mt LPG storage facility worth $200m at the Onne/Ikpokiri Oil and Gas Free Zone in Rivers State. The LPG depot project has the capacity to generate over a million jobs.

APM Terminals, Nigeria’s largest container terminal, has recently completed a state-of-the art project in Onne worth over $100m, which has the capacity of creating over 300,000 direct jobs.

The Alternative Petroleum and Power Limited (APPL) is a green company which is bringing green/alternative fuel to mitigate carbon emission with an investment value of over €8bn.

Additionally, APPL is expected to export 520,000 MT/Y of Blue and Green Methanol; and 1,120,000 MT/Y of Green Ammonia in a span of 4 years. This investment will generate about 300,000 jobs directly and indirectly. Aligning with global trends towards sustainable energy solutions, this program taps into Nigeria’s enormous natural gas reserves.

It is interesting to note that the Oil and Gas Free Zones (OGFZs) have attracted all major International Oil Companies (IOCs) which use the Free Zones as hubs for their business transactions covering the entire Gulf of Guinea up to Angola and South Africa.

The attraction of these investments has also led to the transfer of skills and technology to the nation through manpower, training and value-added technical processes, positioning Nigeria as the preferred investment destination in Africa.

A native of Adamawa State, Jada attended Jada 1 Primary School and General Murtala Mohammed College, Yola, for his primary and secondary education, respectively, obtaining his SSCE Certificate in 1999.

He pursued his university education at the prestigious Federal University of Technology Yola, where his exceptional academic performance garnered him recognition and numerous accolades. Here, he obtained a Diploma in Business Administration (2004) and subsequently a Bachelor’s Degree (B.Sc) in Economics (2008).

He proceeded to the University of Central Lancanshire, Preston United Kingdom, where he acquired a Master’s Degree (M.Sc) in Oil and Gas Operations Management (2013) as well as an MBA in Marketing, solidifying his expertise in the intricate economic dynamics of the energy sector.

With an impressive educational background, Jada embarked on a professional journey that propelled him to the forefront of the Nigerian oil and gas industry. He began his career with Ecobank PLC in 2009 where he developed acute corporate financial management skills. These attributes were of great benefit to the Energy Commission of Nigeria, where he served in the Finance, Projects and Procurement Departments, respectively, from 2010 to 2023.

As a result of his dedication to service, meticulous nature, problem-solving ability and versatility, Jada was sought after to take on another role as the Personal Assistant to the Director General/CEO of the Commission. He has also served as Personal Assistant to the Chairman of the Board of Directors at Kano Electricity Distribution Company (KEDCO); roles that further equipped him with hands on administrative know-how and leadership experience.

Jada, is an affiliate of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport, United Kingdom. He is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Diplomacy and Management, Nigeria.

Jada’s credentials exemplify his comprehensive understanding of the complex interplay between economic, technological and environmental factors within the oil and gas sector. His strategic insights and in-depth knowledge have equipped him to take the proper steps in navigating the intricate challenges facing the industry, fostering a culture of continuous improvement and collaboration among key stakeholders. His leadership philosophy, characterized by a combination of pragmatism and forward-thinking vision, has positioned him as a beacon of change in an ever-evolving energy landscape.

As he continues to make significant strides in the field, his prospects for transforming the oil and gas industry in Nigeria remain exceedingly promising. With his exceptional leadership acumen, extensive industry knowledge, and unwavering commitment to innovation, Jada is poised to drive substantial advancements that not only elevate the sector’s global competitiveness but also contribute to the socioeconomic development of Nigeria. His vision for a more diversified, environmentally conscious, and technologically adept energy landscape is set to pave the way for a thriving and sustainable future for Nigeria’s oil and gas industry, ensuring a more robust and interconnected landscape that is better equipped to navigate the complexities of the global energy market.

As Nigeria embraces this new dawn in its oil and gas sector, Jada’s transformative leadership stands as a testament to the country’s unwavering commitment to sustainable development, technological advancement, and global competitiveness. With his visionary leadership and unwavering dedication to excellence, Jada continues to inspire a sense of purpose and optimism, setting the stage for a more prosperous and resilient future for Nigeria’s oil and gas industry.