By Michael Eboh
The immediate past Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr. Maikanti Baru, is dead.
The current Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Mallam Mele Kyari, who first broke the news about the death, 6:01am, Saturday, on his verified Twitter handle, said he died late Friday night, May 29, 2020.
Kyari said, “My brother, my friend and my mentor, Dr Maikanti Kachalla Baru, immediate past GMD of NNPC died late last night.
“He was of exemplary character and disposition. May Allah forgive him and have mercy upon him.”
Afterwards, the NNPC, in a statement by its Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, Dr. Kennie Obateru, further disclosed that Baru, who was at the helm of affairs at the NNPC from July 4th 2016 to July 7th 2019, died after a brief illness in an Abuja hospital.
Obateru said, “The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) regrets to announce the demise of its former Group Managing Director (GMD), Dr. Maikanti Kacalla Baru, Friday night. Dr. Baru, a consummate Mechanical Engineer, died after a brief illness.”
Baru was born, July 1959, in Misau, Bauchi State and served as Group Managing Director of the NNPC, after Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, who was then elevated to Minister of State for Petroleum Resources.
Sylva, OPEC, Kachikwu, others mourn
Meanwhile, condolences have continued to pour in for Baru, both from his former colleagues at the NNPC and key stakeholders in the petroleum industry.
Specifically, In his reaction, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva said it was with shock and sadness that he received the unfortunate news of the passing on of Baru.
In a statement issued on his behalf by his Special Adviser on Media and Group General Manager of the NNPC, Garba Deen Muhammad, Sylva expressed his profound sympathies and condolences to late Baru’s family; and to friends and associates of the deceased.
He described the former GMD as a dedicated technocrat who would be greatly missed by the oil and gas community and the nation at large.
Secretary General of the Organisation for Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), His Excellency, Dr. Mohammed Sanusi Barkindo, also stated that Maikanti Baru was a good and hardworking professional whom he had absolute confidence in both as his colleague in NNPC and, later, his Group Managing Director (GMD).
He said, “Baru as GMD of NNPC, repositioned the corporation and the Nigeria’s oil Industry. He was a workaholic, cerebral, humane, godly and kind hearted. My condolences to the family, the oil Industry and Nigeria. May Allah receive his soul.”
In a statement in Abuja, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, described as painful the passing away of Baru, stating that he gave his best to the country, especially during his tenure as the GMD of NNPC and would be remembered for his contributions to the upliftment of the NNPC.
Gbajabiamila prayed Allah to grant him Jannatul Firdaus and give his family the fortitude to bear the irreplaceable loss.
Also speaking, immediate past Minister of State for Petroleum Resources and Baru’s predecessor at the NNPC. Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, said: “I just learnt about the demise of Dr Maikanti Baru, immediate past GMD of NNPC. Dr Baru was a member of the NNPC board which I chaired from 2016 to 2019.
“Last month, I called to find out how he was settling down in retirement. I felicitated with him and his family. He expressed his appreciation and I wished him well.
“Sad to learn about his death. My sincere condolences to his loved ones. I pray that God grants his family and close friends the fortitude to bear the loss. May his soul rest in peace.”
Also, in his condolence, Mr. Henry Ikem-Obih, immediate past Chief Operating Officer, Downstream of the NNPC, described the death as a sad loss, while he prayed for strength for Baru’s family.
He said: “A great leader, a fantastic boss, a good and humble soul. It is a sad loss. May his soul rest in perfect peace and may God bless and strengthen his family.”
In his own submission, immediate past Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division of the NNPC, Mr. Ndu Ughamadu, said: “May God rest his soul. Dr Maikanti Baru, was a nice and hardworking boss that discharged his official responsibilities with professionalism laced with fear of God.
He achieved a lot for the oil industry and Nigeria at large. He was one of the best GMDs of NNPC and one of the best bosses l worked with. A goodman is gone. An intellectual Library is gone beyond. May God rest his soul.”
Speaking further, Professor Wumi Iledare, who currently heads the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) Professorial Chair in Oil and Gas Economics and Management at the Institute for Oil and Gas Studies, University of Cape Coast, Ghana, said: “This world is a stage and everybody is a player. He has played his part to the best of his ability. May the good Lord comfort his family.”
Furthermore, in a statement in Abuja, the Executive Council, members and staff of the Nigerian Gas Association (NGA), condoled with the NNPC group and immediate family of Baru over the sad news of his death.
It said, “Maikanti Baru, the immediate past GMD of the NNPC was an avid supporter of the NGA’s objective. May his soul rest in perfect peace.”