by Yemie ADEOYE
FOLLOWING the seeming interest and commitment of the Acting President, Dr Goodluck Jonathan in the power sector, the new Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Mallam Shehu Ladan has stated that he would give top priority to the issue of gas in order to enable the various power plants perform optimally.
Ladan who dropped the hint in Abuja during the formal handing over from his predecessor Mohammed Sanusi Barkindo in Abuja recently.
The new GMD stated further that he intends to learn from the experience and success of the ‘War Room’ in tackling the fuel supply and distribution challenge and adopt it for gas supply to ensure that gas gets to all the power plants within the shortest possible time.
On the issue of transformation Mallam Ladan shocked many when he disclosed that he would continue with the ongoing reforms and transformation program he met on ground. This according to many is contrary to the norm where new appointees discard initiatives they met on ground.
The new GMD made this pledge in order to continue with the ongoing transformation programme of the Corporation which is in line with the aspirations of the Acting President Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, for the oil, gas and power industry in Nigeria.
Ladan made this promise during his maiden meeting with staff at the NNPC Towers in Abuja where he unfolded his agenda for the Corporation and the entire oil and gas industry.
The new helmsman who said he was part of the management team that introduced the transformation agenda last year until he retired on 6th April, 2009, stated: â€œI still believe in the transformation. It is the only way to go if the Corporation is to survive. I will continue from where Barkindo has left off in the transformation project.â€
â€œThere may be shift in emphasis or in the way it will be delivered, but the objective of transforming the Corporation will remain the same. What is important is for us to keep our eyes on the ball,â€ Ladan told staff of the Corporation.
He also dispelled rumours of imminent sack of top management staff of the Corporation as reported in some newspapers, adding that there was no basis for such speculations as he has neither made any such recommendations to the Acting President nor received any instruction in that direction from any quarters.
The GMD listed other key agenda of his management to include the maintenance of the integrity of the Corporation’s pipelines across the country, stabilization of product supply, the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB, and adequate supply of gas to the nation’s power plants with a view to meeting the administration’s aspiration to provide constant electricity to Nigerians.
Ladan who called for maximum cooperation from staff and unions said he would work closely with the top management team made up of the Group Executive Directors and would not allow any crack.
It would be recalled that the situation in the power sector further deteriorated recently when the Anglo-Dutch oil giant Shell threaten to shut down the Oben and Sapele flow line if the NNPC fails to evacuate the condensate line for easy flow of gas. The NNPC under Dr.Barkindo had replied that it is not under compulsion to take up the responsibility. And as the controversy trails the nation’s power generation dropped to a little over 1000 megawatts. The then Minister of Power Dr. Lanre Babalola had confirmed to newsmen in Lagos that the standoff between the two oil giants is dealing a great blow to the power sector as no significant progress can be recorded if there is no easy flow of gas.
Analysts in the power sector are also of the opinion that for the Acting President to make an impact as the Minister of power and the NNPC must be made to understand that a collective effort of all government agencies in the energy chain is important for success to be recorded. â€œNNPC should understand the sensitive role it is expected to play and we should do away politics and bureaucracies for once so that Nigerians could heave a sigh of reliefâ€.