How Buhari appointed new NNPC boss, Kachikwu
Tiamiyu Saheed Oluwatosin
The task of appointing a new head for the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) was not an easy one for President Muhammadu Buhari.
Indications emerged yesterday that contrary to what many thought was a mere selection of Dr. Emmranuel Ibe Kachikwu, as the Group Managing Director (GMD), the president had put up a search party to seek capable hands for the job.
According to The Nation, Buhari had considered Kachikwu, the Executive Vice Chairman/General Counsel of ExxonMobil (Africa), and three others.
They are Ex-Petroleum Products Prices Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) Executive Secretary Stanley Reginald; Shell Petroleum Development Company Managing Director Mr. Osagie Okunbor and an unnamed NNPC Deputy General Manager.
At the end, Kachikwu, who may double as Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, was selected by Buhari.
A source told the newspaper that “The new GMD of NNPC was picked after a thorough search by the President. Actually, at the end of the search, the choice was narrowed down to four candidates.
“The President opted for Kachikwu who is the Vice President of Exxon Mobil, not only in Nigeria but in Africa. Buhari was impressed by his impeccable credentials as the most senior black African in any multi-national oil firm in the world with 30 years experience”.
The President also had to convince Kachikwu to accept the job after the latter raised concern on the politics and slander occupants of the office go through.
Buhari, in spite of that, assured that he won’t interfere with Kachikwu’s work as he too was keen on cleaning up the oil sector.
After an agreement between the duo, the president listed the tasks he wanted him to undertake.
These include: clean up the NNPC system of corrupt elements; recover all stolen crude oil funds; work with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Directorate of State Service (DSS) to trace and recover stolen oil money and review the structure of the NNPC to compete globally.
Others are: giving targets to all subsidiaries and put in place performance benchmarks; and fix all refineries, which must work at optimal level, “even if it means using expatriates in the interim”.
Meanwhile, Kachikwu assumed duty yesterday after a brief handover ceremony was held at the NNPC Towers.
Kachikwu thanked his predecessor, Dr. Joseph Dawha, for his hard work in holding the corporation.
He pledged to work assiduously in achieving the president’s growth aspiration for the oil and gas industry.
Kachikwu was a First Class Graduate of Law from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka and the Nigerian Law School.
He had Masters and Doctorate Degrees in Law from the Harvard Law School.
The new NNPC boss started his working career with the Nigerian/American Merchant Bank before moving on to Texaco Nigeria Limited from where he joined Exxon-Mobil.
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