Things are no longer at ease at the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) as the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachiukwu and the Group Managing Director of the corporation, Dr. Maikanti Baru, are currently engaged in a fierce battle for control of the nation’s cash cow.
The battle has moved to the Presidential Villa, Abuja as Dr. Kachiukwu has written to President Muhammadu Buhari to complain about his humiliation in the hands of Dr. Baru.
Dr. Kachiukwu also informed the President of Dr. Baru’s penchant for sidestepping due process in running the NNPC.
The complaints of the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources were contained in a memo addressed to President Buhari and obtained by SaharaReporters.
Dated 30 August and titled “Matters of Insubordination and Lack of Adherence To Due Process Perpetuated by GMD NNPC-Dr. Baru, the memo (HMS/MPR/001/Vol.1/100) opened with a complaint by Dr. Kachiukwu’s complaint to the President about postings within the corporation done without his knowledge.
“Mr. President, yesterday, like many other Nigerians, I resumed work confronted by many changes within NNPC. Like many reorganization and reposting are done since Dr. Baru resumed as GMD, I was never given the opportunity before the announcements to discuss these appointments. This is so despite being Minister of State Petroleum and Chairman, NNPC Board,” Dr. Kachiukwu wrote.
The Minister of State (Petroleum Resources) also complained that the NNPC Board, which has met monthly since inauguration by the President, was never briefed of the postings and appointments. The Board, he added, has statutory duty to review the appointments. Its members, said Dr. Kachiukwu, got to know of the appointments via the social media and NNPC press release.
“At a minimum and like other parastatals supervised by me at the Ministry have continued to do and in compliance with proper governance standards expected of a multinational oil sector organization,” Dr. Kachiukwu stated.
He added that he came into the job with a lot of desire to make positive changes and has succeeded in making some of the envisaged transformation. However, he claimed that he would have been more successful, but for the alleged misbehavior by Dr. Baru.
“I have been on a race to stabilize and move the industry to the next phase. Timing is critical. The sector is also in a critical state where only innovative ideas can stop the alarming impact of the fall of oil prices on national income. The innovations that we have developed and started implementing in the downstream, upstream, policy generation and Niger Delta security have enabled the sector to aggressively pursue out of the box ideas of rejuvenating this sector, getting the best yield and increasing our earnings from Oil and Gas. What this means is that parastatals in the Ministry and all CEOs of these parastatals must be aligned with the policy drive of the supervising ministry to allow the sector register the growth that has eluded it for years. To do otherwise or to exempt any of the parastatals would be to emplace a stunted growth in the industry,” complained Dr. Kachiukwu.
In addition to his complaints, the NNPC Board Chairman asked the President to, among other things, save the NNPC and the oil industry from collapse arising from lack of transparency instituted by Dr. Baru. The minister also begged the President to save his office from further humiliation and disrespect by compelling all parastatals under it to submit to oversight mandate and proper supervision, which he was appointed to manage on the President’s behalf. He equally urged President Buhari to instruct Dr. Baru to allow NNPC run properly and report along due process lines to the Board.
Dr. Kachiukwu called on President Buhari to set the right examples by suspending the recently made appointments in the NNPC and encourage joint presentation meetings between heads of parastatals and the Minister of State to him (President) as a way of encouraging better work ethic and ensuring discipline.