The Oasis Reporters
October 4, 2017
The Ministry of Petroleum Resources has rolled angry eyes at the publication of a confidential official correspondence from the Minister of state for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, to President Muhammadu Buhari over alleged insubordination of the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Maikanti Baru.
According to a statement signed by Idang Alibi, Director of Press at the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, the published communication is a normal procedural correspondence by the Minister to the President with focus on improving efficiency and deepening transparency in the oil and gas sector for continued investor confidence.
“The communication under reference is a normal procedural correspondence by the Minister to the President relating to developments in parastatals under his supervision,” Alibi insisted.
“It is most distressing to the ministry of petroleum resources that a confidential communication to the President on the performance of one of its parastatals can be made public.
“The focus of the communication was on improving efficiency and deepening transparency in the oil and gas sector for continued investor confidence.
“It is noteworthy that the President has been fully supportive of the efforts of the Ministry to entrench good governance and accountability in the oil and gas sector.
“The Ministry of Petroleum Resources remains focused on achieving measurable progress in the implementation of the ongoing oil sector reforms in line with the mandate of the President.”
Kachikwu, in that letter accused Baru of “completely eroding” some of the reforms he introduced as head of the oil firm, as well as side-lining him in the re-organisation and reposting done in the NNPC, as the board was never briefed but got to know of the appointments on the pages of newspapers.
The letter dated 30th August, 2017 was titled: ‘Matters of Insubordination and Lack of Adherrence to Due Process Perpetrated by the GMD NNPC – Dr Baru’, and was marked HMS/MPR/001/VOL1/100.
In Dr. Kachikwu Ibe’s lamentation that the NNPC has refused to report to his office or the board on serious issues, Kachikwu urged the President to save his office from further humiliation and disrespect, adding that when he calls for meetings, Baru chooses which to attend and the ones to send subordinates without the courtesy of calling him, his supervisory minister.
It reads in part, “Like the previous reorganisations and repostings done since Mr Baru resumed as GMD, I was never given the opportunity before the announcements to discuss these appointments. This is so despite being the 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 NNPC is meant to review these planned appointments and postings, was never briefed. Members of the board learnt of these appointments from the pages of social media and the press release of NNPC.
“Indeed, in anticipation of vacancies that would arise from retiring senior executives of NNPC, I wrote the GMD a letter requesting that we both have prior review of the proposed appointments. Not only did he not give my letter the courtesy of a reply, he proceeded to announce the appointments without consultation on board concurrence.
“Mr President, please note that there is a board service committee whose function is to review potential appointment and termination of senior staff prior to implementation. This committee was also not consulted.
“The open administration I introduced with your support in our year of pushing reforms, has been completely eroded. NNPC staff are afraid of contacting me for the fear of being punished, sidelined in appointments and targeted.
“The effect of the attitude of the GMD and the sidelining of the board is that there is a fear culture in NNPC.”
Some pundits observe in their comments that it may have to do with the arrogance of bureaucrats from the same region where the president hails from. “They treat people from the southern minority region with utter disdain in whose region the crude oil is found”, one analyst told our correspondent in a chat.