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NNPC appointments tear Kachikwu, Baru apart

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…Minister writes presidency, accuses NNPC boss of insubordination
By Michael Eboh
The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Mr. Ibe Kachikwu, has accused the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Mr. Maikanti Baru of insubordination, while he called for the cancellation of the recent appointments in the NNPC.

Baru and Kachikwu

In a letter purportedly written by Kachikwu to President Muhammadu Buhari, the Minister of State said for over one year, he had tolerated the disrespectful and humiliating conducts by the Group Managing Director on its office, and had decided to bring the issue to the attention of the President.

He said, “Mr. President, yesterday, like many other Nigerians, l resumed work confronted by many publications of massive changes within NNPC. Like the previous reorganizations and reposting 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.

“The Board of NNPC which you appointed and, which has met every month since its inauguration and, which by the statutes of NNPC is meant to review these planned appointments and postings was never briefed. Members at the Board learnt of these appointments from the pages of social media and the press release of NNPC.”

The letter was dated August 30, 2017, with the title, ‘Re: Matters of insubordination and lack of adherence to due process perpetuated by the GMD NNPC, Dr. Baru,’ and was signed by Kachikwu.

However, effort to get additional input from the Minister and his aides was unsuccessful, as several phone calls and text messages to the Kachikwu; his technical Assistant on Media, Mr. Uche Adighibe; and Director of Media of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Mr. Idang Alibi, were ignored..

On the other hand, Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division of the NNPC, Mr. Ndu Ughamadu, said he had not seen the letter and would be available to comment on the issue after perusing the content of the letter.

In the letter, Kachikwu said he has been on a race to stabilize and move the petroleum industry to the next phase, noting that timing is critical.

He argued that the sector was also in a critical state where only innovative ideas can stop the alarming impact of the fall of oil prices on the National Income., adding that the innovations that he and his team had developed and started implementing in the downstream, upstream, policy generation, and Niger Delta security had enabled the sector to stabilize slightly.

“However, truth is that given global challenge in this sector, we must aggressively pursue out of the box ideas on 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 many years.

To do otherwise or to exempt any of the Parastatals would be to emplace a stunted growth for the industry.,” he averred.

To this end, Kachikwu appealed to Buhari to move in and save the NNPC and the oil industry from collapse arising from the non-transparent practices in the NNPC, and empower the NNPC to take the needed actions when needed.

His other prayers to Buhari include, “That you save, the office of the Minister of State from further humiliation and disrespect by compelling all parastatals to submit to oversight regulatory mandate and proper supervision which I am supposed to manage on your behalf.

“You kindly instruct the GMD to effectively leave NNPC to run as a proper institution and report out along due process lines to the Board and that Your Excellency Instructs that all reviews be done with the Minister of State prior to your decision.

“ That to set the right examples, you approve that the recently announced reorganization changes be suspended until the GMD, myself and the Board have made relevant input to same. This will send a clear signal of process and transparency.

“That Your Excellency encourages joint presentation meetings between heads of Parastatals and the Minister of State to you so as to encourage a culture of working together and Implant discipline in the hierarchy.”

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