Voice of One Delegate
I am a Delegate of the Africa International Region of AAPG. I live and work in the port and industrial city of Tema, near Accra in Ghana, as Lead Geologist of the State Oil Company, Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC).
Working as a delegate of AAPG has been very challenging, especially where it involves combining two sets of aspirations: advancing the science of geology from an international (AAPG) perspective and fulfilling the corporate mission of a state-owned employer company in Africa (GNPC). For me, the position has been one of honor and responsibility, having provided me an opportunity to represent AAPG members in my local region and to help make our Association alive and dynamic. I have loved the experience of getting exposed to the legislative work of our organization. With the benefit of hindsight, I wish I had contributed more to the success of AAPG. Indeed, many initiatives I had planned to undertake have not materialized, largely due to constraints from my work environment. But these constraints are not insurmountable! I am certain that in years ahead – once I have an opportunity to serve - I will be wiser in clearing the bottlenecks that have hampered my humble contributions towards the forward march of our great organization.
My duties and obligations as Member of the HoD include:
- The study and review of AAPG Constitution and Bylaws and of the Association’s policies, programs, customs and traditions
- Representing the Africa Region and its AAPG members in the HoD;
- Assisting in seeking new AAPG members in my Region and beyond, where possible. In this regard, I solicit applications from eligible geoscientists for AAPG membership.
- Assisting in processing requests from the Executive/Membership Committee concerning eligibility of candidates from my Region for AAPG membership – vetting or verifying new member applications.
- Exercising my voting rights during the selection of executives, officers and committee members at both Organization and Section/Region levels.
From the beginning of my term, I needed some time to let the ice thaw. But once I got started meeting some obligations, the rest became routine. Challenging aspects had to do with my inability to present myself physically with other Delegates of the House to deliberate on critical matters and decisions. Other challenges had to do with vetting procedures on new member applicants.
Since 2004, I have processed a minimum of one (1), and maximum four (4) membership applications annually. Applications usually get sent to me via Executive/Membership Committee requests. Beside that, I am personally able to recruit new AAPG members locally through peer group meetings and discussions, interactions with colleagues at work and during inter-organizational professional group meetings (even though, these do not occur too often).
I share the view of many in the House that not all the ~ 30,000 existing worldwide members of AAPG may be behaving themselves ethically as would have been expected. So, we need to apply stop-gaps to manage or minimize the leeway for bad nuts, especially at the level of new applicants during their vetting and screening process.
In the area of due diligence for an AAPG applicant’s qualifications, my investigations and related contacts are conducted mainly by e-mail, from the www (world wide web) and at times by regular mail through the post. Due to constraints of mobility and access, I do not normally meet with other AAPG Delegates to consider applicants and discuss their eligibility. However, I make personal contacts locally with colleagues in the geosciences community, who I believe to be knowledgeable about the applicants. In other cases, I consult through e-mail to help me make informed decisions on candidates I am not too sure about.
I usually receive applications from candidates, who live and work within the Africa Region – especially from southern African countries. Most of the candidates have, however, had work experiences in various other regions of the world. On one rare occasion, an application came from a geoscientist living and working in India at the time of application. Typical challenges I encounter when processing such applications have been related fundamentally to validating applicant credentials as to whether his or her work involved the application of petroleum geology (or geology) in a reasonable measure to meet the requirements and standards for Active AAPG membership, and whether the candidate lived and worked by the ethical and professional standards required by AAPG.
On a few occasions, I had responses in unfriendly tones from sponsors, who might have previously made supporting statements about their candidates (they did not expect to be requested again from other sources to confirm their assertions!). One specified sponsor disassociated himself from the candidate purporting to be referred by him. Still, others who had been contacted simply declined to respond. Such challenges led to further due diligence through other (longer) channels.
As a delegate, I recognize one clear responsibility – that of helping members and potential members become aware of services provided by AAPG, especially in areas of career development and continuing education to individuals and companies. Personal experience has shown me, that companies should encourage their staff to become active members of AAPG and of their local societies, and to reward those employees who are active in their profession. To bolster this idea, last year, I prepared a 47-slide PowerPoint recruitment drive presentation titled, “Why Join the AAPG?” I have so far shared a few thoughts on it with some of my colleagues and with the current Africa Region President. However, I have not yet been able to hold large, full-scale presentations as originally intended with professional meetings and student groupings, even though I have already shared these thoughts with of some of the leaders. This presentation can be made available on request, to fellow Delegates through my e-mail contact .
How did I come to be an AAPG Delegate? I was nominated in 2004 to join the HoD for the period July, 2004 – June, 2007 by then-serving executives (notably Mr. Kunle Adesida – ex-President, Dr. Kingsley Ojoh, Prof. Deborah Ajakaiye, and others) and with the support of other Active Members from the Africa Region. In those years (pre-2004), there were very few Active Members in my home country, Ghana. Thus, many of those who put my name forward or backed my nomination came from neighboring Nigeria, where the upstream petroleum industry is better developed and much more dynamic. Following a couple of contacts, my nomination was affirmed and I was welcomed to the fold by a letter (accompanied by the blue lapel pin!) from then-HoD Chair, Valary Schulz.
I have participated in the AAPG Annual Meeting of April 2003 in Salt Lake City, Utah. It was quite exciting and fun for me, as I had opportunity to meet and interact with fellow geoscientists from around the world and also to man the GNPC booth during the event.
Much as I would have liked to participate in all other AAPG events and meetings, such opportunities have been very rare - fundamentally due to the fact that the choice of AAPG events to be attended, as well as of GNPC nominees to participate in them has been purely by management decision, in which I am not involved. I usually forward incoming invitations (through e-mail) to my superiors for consideration but have not been really lucky yet. I hope to have better luck in future events.
I obtain most information regarding the AAPG House of Delegates from The Delegates’ Voice newsletter, from the AAPG website and from other AAPG notifications that get to me through the snail mail system. General information concerning AAPG governance and professional matters also come from the AAPG EXPLORER.
I have enjoyed being a Member of the HoD and I hope to build on my current strengths and experiences to reach higher ground in both my personal career goals and in contributing to the success of our great Association, the AAPG.