Pulse Opinion It's a shame that Kachikwu and NNPC GMD are fighting

Minister of State for petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu, has fallen out with NNPC GMD. It's a mess of epic proportions.

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Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources play

Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources

(Pulse.ng)
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There’s a letter out there which you should absolutely read for the simple reason that it is embarrassing.

The letter is authored by Nigeria’s Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu and has as its focus, the Group Managing Director (GMD) of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Maikanti Baru.

Because you asked, the letter was addressed to President Muhammadu Buhari who doubles as the Minister of Petroleum.

In the letter, Kachikwu accuses NNPC boss Baru of insubordination and disrespect.

The way the oil ministry is set up, the NNPC GMD should be reporting to the Minister of Petroleum. And since the Minister of Petroleum at the moment is ceremonial, Baru should be reporting to Kachikwu.

The Group Managing Director of NNPC, Maikanti Baru play NNPC GMD Maikanti Baru (The Guardian NG)

 

But Kachikwu says Baru doesn’t respect him. He says Baru makes appointments without consulting him. He says Baru makes decisions above his head.

“Mr. President, yesterday like many other Nigerians, I resumed work confronted by many publications of massive changes within NNPC”, Kachikwu wrote.

The letter was dated August 30.

“Like the previous re-organisations and repostings 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 for Petroleum and Chairman NNPC board.

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“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 of the board learnt of these appointments from the pages of social media and the press release of the NNPC,”Kachikwu added.

Ibe Kachikwu and President Buhari play Kachikwu and President Buhari (signalng)

 

Kachikwu also added that he wants Buhari to “save the NNPC and the oil industry from collapse arising from the above non-transparent practices and empower the board you inaugurated to do the needful”.

Kachikwu also says the NNPC GMD is humiliating him and calls on the president to “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.

"It is in the spirit of service and absolute belief in your leadership and integrity that I have, after one year of tolerating this disrespectful and humiliating conducts by the GMD, decided to bring these to your attention".

The Minister said he resorted to letter writing because securing an appointment with Buhari had proven doubly difficult.

“I would have wanted to come personally after receiving you at the airport to felicitate with you and discuss matters herein contained, however I have been unable to secure an appointment to see you despite very many attempts”.

Maikanti Baru play Maikanti Baru is boss of NNPC (Financial Watch)

 

I consider it alarming that a Minister finds it difficult booking an appointment with his boss, the president. Is this how Buhari runs his administration? There have been rumours to this effect in the past, but the fact that Kachikwu’s leaked letter has all but affirmed it all, should set off alarm bells.

Let’s not forget that Kachikwu was NNPC GMD before Buhari restricted him to being Minister of State. I always feared that this day will come.

The day when Baru, who took over from Kachikwu as NNPC GMD on July 4, 2016, will want to disrespect his predecessor and report straight to Buhari because he's got direct access to the president.

It’s embarrassing that this is happening in a ministry we all want to see improve given the Diezani grand larceny and opacity of the last couple of years. The ministry of petroleum was supposed to be the one that tells us that the Buhari administration means business. It was supposed to set the benchmark for the rest of the ministries because it’s headed by the president himself—at least on paper.

play Baru receives guests (The Nation)

 

It’s even more embarrassing that this letter was leaked to the media. It’s perhaps a testament that the Buhari cabinet is falling apart right before his own eyes.

It will be interesting to see what Baru comes up with by way of a defense. But if this letter is any indication, the entire oil ministry needs to be sanitised and rejigged for optimum and transparent performance. We can’t afford to let the dogs take over the NNPC like they did under Jonathan.

In the past, Kachikwu has been accused of corrupt activities and nepotism. Is that why Baru cut him off? We need to know.

Kachikwu and Baru sure have a lot of explaining to do. And they don’t have that much time.

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