Following the nomination and senate screening of the Group Managing Director, GMD Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Dr Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu, industry watchers are wondering whether there is a plan by the federal government to remove him at the helm of affairs of the premier petrochemical institution.
Mr Kachikwu who initiated many reforms aimed at sanitising the NNPC, following his appointment by President Muhammadu Buhari, is believed to be performing well, going by public opinions against the perceived misdeeds in the corporation in the past.
The recent nomination, screening and clearance by the senate has, however, attracted reactions from policy analysts.
According to the President, Electricity Consumers Association of Nigeria, ECAN, Barrister James Chijioke, if Mr Kachikwu is appointed Minister of Petroleum he would move up and that would definitely create room for a new GMD to be appointed. He said that the appointment of Minister of Petroleum is important because Nigeria is supposed to occupy the position of President of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC, which has been vacant following the absence of a substantive Minister of Petroleum in Nigeria.
Chijioke also explained that the appointment of a new GMD may not be an issue as each of the positions have their duty specifications. “It depends on the confidence President Buhari reposes on each of them. But administratively, each of them has clearly defined roles. If the GMD is appointed Minister he will be supervising the GMD and report back to the President, and that was what was obtained in the past.”
Also, a legal practitioner, Barrister Charles Edo of Charles Edo and Associates said, given that Mr. Kachikwu is a key player in the oil industry it would be advisable for President Buhari to make Minister of State for Petroleum and retain the position of GMD, explaining that with those two positions, he would bring his wealth of experience to bear on the oil industry and help to accelerate positive developments there in the interest of all Nigerians.
He argued that there is nothing wrong with Mr Kachikwu doubling as Minister of State andretaing his position as NNPC GMD, saying the development will help to cut down costs of administration which is in line with the change mantra of the APC government.
“It is not going to be a strange scenario, because we had in the past in the Ministry of National Planning where the Minister doubled as Minister and Chairman of National Planning
Commission. The President can therefore allow the same scenario so that he stay and complete the transformation initiatives which he has begun at NNPC,” he said.
Speaking on the issue, Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs, NNPC, Mr Ohi Alegbe, who spoke to Nigerian Pilot on phone said the situation on ground at the Corporation shows that the plan of government regarding what he wants to do with the new NNPC helmsman is not yet known. According to him, “it is for President Buhari to determine what is best suitable to his thrust of government.”

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