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Of Baru, Kachikwu, Buhari and the NNPC



Of Baru, Kachikwu, Buhari and the NNPC

By Zayyad I. Muhammad…President Muhammdu Buhari’s appointment of Maikanti Kacalla Baru as the Group Managing Director (GMD) of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) will have three implications- economic, political and staff’s mode in the NNPC.


The most important economic implication of Baru’s appointment is that the NNPC will continue to work without feeling a major shake in the change of baton in the corporation; because Baru has worked closely with Kachikwu and has contributed to the already setup machineries and reforms– the system will not witness any disruption in terms of new management. Furthermore, Baru’s appointment will definitely impact the orientation within the NNPC staff. Those who are advocates of having a GMD from within the NNPC will be relieved; those who share the passion for more private-sector-like-reforms will be at home with Baru. Furthermore, Baru’s appointment will boost staff morale and reassure them of career growth within the corporation.


No national assignment or appointment in Nigeria is free from political equations and analysis- notably the everyday discussions on marginalization or favouritism of the north or the south. Some observers have expressed the fear that Baru’s appointment may alter the gains made by Kachikwu in the engagement with dissidents from the Niger Delta region and the excellent moves in engaging the leaders of the region in order to halter the rise in attacks on vital oil and gas infrastructure. Baru’s appointment could in fact boost Kachikwu’s efforts; Baru’s intimidating experiences will further solidify Kachikwu’s achievements with the Niger Delta.


Baru’s appointment and that of the NNPC’s Board is in fact a kind of approval by President Buhari of Kachikwu’s work so far, especially as GMD of NNPC – Kachikwu a thoroughbred bureaucrat who found himself in the nexus of complex politicking and policy, public extreme expectation and performance will now have ample time in ‘Ministering’ Nigeria’s complex oil and gas industry; fully engage the Niger Delta and also see the activities of the NNPC from the angle of a Board Chairman- an angle that will give him an unbiased view and feedback of activities of the corporation.


With the four autonomous business units and project management office, Baru is lucky- he has his job description clearly cut for him: to work within the tenets of President Buhari’s anti-corruption war- cleanup the oil and gas; sustain the current level of transparency that Nigerians have never seen- e.g publishing of NNPC monthly account; keep up and bring-out the benefits of Kachikwu’s painstaking reforms. Baru will also utilize his in-house experiences to put the right people and policies in the right position and time.


Nevertheless, Baru has some painstaking tasks ahead in the area of touching the life of every Nigerian – which is NNPC’s Unique Selling Point (USP). Notwithstanding if he achieves 100% success in other sectors of the NNPC business, if the sector that touches the lives of ordinary Nigerian is not impressing; the entire nation will be on him. So the New GMD needs to pay special attention to sustaining the availability of petroleum products; drive more improvement and introduce corrective measures to some areas. Of recent, the PPMC under Ahmed Farouk has witnessed some heartwarming success- some depots which have not received refined products for many years have recently received and loaded products, especially PMS. Kaduna depot is wonderfully wetting the north with PMS, AGO, DPK and some petro-chemicals.


The trio of Buhari, Kachikwu and Baru being very passionate about reforming the oil and gas sector, should tackle downstream major problems- incessant illegal tapping of pipelines by oil thieves, sabotage, right-of-way incursions, slow detection of leaks and in-line equipment failure due to inaccessible sites, including the old-fashioned method of managing the pipelines and increase the capacity of our refinery, by going for modular, mini and mobile refineries: There are affordable 1,000 bpd – 30,000 bpd Modular refineries whose equipment units are pre-fabricated on skid-mounted structures prior to shipment to any location.


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