In a press statement issued today, the Ministry of Petroleum Resources seems to have unwittingly confirmed the differences in opinion between the Minister of State for Petroleum Ibe Kachikwu and Maikanti Barau the Group Managing Director (GMD) of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). In a memo written to President Muhammadu Buhari, Kachikwu accused the GMD of unilaterally reorganizing and reposting staff without informing himself or other board members.
In the press statement signed by Idang Alibi Director of Press, the Ministry of Petroleum Resources condemned the leaking of the memo by staff of the ministry, and affirmed that the purpose of the memo was to improve efficiency and deepen transparency in the Nigerian oil and gas sector.
In the memo, which was leaked to the press a few hours ago, Kachikwu sought the assistance of the President to compell all parastatals to submit to oversight and regulatory supervision. The minister also requested that the President instruct the NNPC GMD to suspend the recently announced reorganization, till members of the NNPC board make the necessary input.
Barau, was appointed NNPC GMD in July 2016, along with other members of the board. Why did it take one year for the Kachikwu to make complaints about the NNPC was being run ? It is also unknown if other members of the board are against the management changes made by the GMD, or are against them, as such opposition has not been voiced. Other members of the board include Mallam Abba Kyari (Chief of Staff to the president, Chief Pius Akinyulere, Dr Tajudeen Umar, Mallam Mohammed Lawal,and Mallam Yusuf Lawal.
Baru, had at the handover ceremony thanked Kachikwu for recommending him to be appointed GMD. Baru also pledged to continue with the restructuring programme started by Kachikwu. Prior to Baru’s appointment, Kachikwu doubled as GMD and Minister of State for Petroleum.
So at what point did the difference in opinions occur ?