There is simmering unease in the nation’s foremost petroleum administration outfit, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, over staff deployment approved at the weekend, by the Group Managing Director, Dr Maikanti Baru.
But the NNPC has said that the recent deployments in the Corporation were normal and backfill exercise to bridge the gap occasioned by impending retirement of some management staff of the Corporation.
The postings have generated apprehensions that the recently advertised recruitment into the NNPC, if it follows a similar pattern, might just be a cosmetic exercise, calculated to ingratiate particular interests in the country.
A three-page document sighted by our correspondent, with a covering note and two attachments, each page signed at both ends of the paper with a red pen by Baru detailed the postings of 19 top level officials, from their substantive positions, to new offices.
By the new postings, Anas Mustapha Mohammed, General Manager (Cover) Operations, West African Pipelines Company, WAPCO, becomes substantive General Manager, Operations, WAPCO; Usman Faruk, Manager, Asset Management, Nigerian Gas Management Company, NGMC, assumes office as Executive Director, Asset Management, NGMC; while Ali Mohammed Sarki, Manager Exploration, Chad Basin, is promoted General Manager, Chad Basin FES. All three postings are to take effect from May 6, 2019.
Osarolube Ezekiel who was until recently General Manager/Technical Assistant (Refining) to the GMD, becomes Managing Director, MD, Kaduna Refining and Petrochemical Company, KRPC, while Ihya Aaondover Mson, Manager Rehabilitation, KRPC, takes over from Osarolube Ezekiel, in the office of the GMD in the same portfolio. This swap is with effect from May 13, 2019.
Isah Abubakar Lapai, Executive Director, Services, Nigerian Petroleum Development Company Ltd, NPDC, moves over to the position of Group General Manager, GGM, NNPC Leadership Academy; Umar Hamza Ado, Manager, Human Resources, Warri Refining and Petrochemical Company, moves up as Executive Director, Services, NPDC, while Garba Adamu Kaita, MD NIKORMA Transport Services Ltd, a subsidiary of NNPC, becomes GM, Human Resources and Administrative Services, Duke Oil. All three postings take effect between May 14 and May 19, 2019.
Under the new postings, Manager, Human Resources (Pension), Ossai Uche, becomes GM Support Services, Nigerian Gas Company, NGC with effect from May 30, 2019; Usman Umar, Manager Technical Services, Renewable Energy Division, RED, moves up as Executive Director, Operations, KRPC, effective June 6, 2019; Ehizoje Ighodaro, Manager, OML 26/30 NPDC, assumes duties as GM (Upstream) and Technical Assistant, TA, to the GMD, beginning from June 14, 2019; while Ahmed Mohammed Abdulkadir who functioned as GM (Downstream) and Technical Assistant to the GMD, transits to the position of Managing Director, Nigerian Gas and Marketing Company, NGMC, Gas and Power, beginning from June 16, 2019.
Similarly, Lere Isa Aliyu, Manager, Direct Sales Direct Purchase, DSDP Crude Oil Marketing Division, COMD, becomes GM/TA Downstream Office of the GMD as from June 16, 2019; Richard-Obioha Mayrose Nkemegina, Manager Power Contract and Management, assumes the position of General Manager, New Liquefied Natural Gas, LNG Ventures of the LNG Investments Management Services, LIMS with effect from July 3, 2019, the same day Dikko Ahmed, General Manager, New LNG Ventures, LIMS, becomes General Manager, NLNG, LIMS.
Ibrahim Sarafa Ayobami, Manager Projects, National Engineering and Technical Company Ltd, NETCO, ascends as Executive Director, NPDC on July 16, 2019; Usman Yusuf, Group General Manager/Senior Technical Assistant to the GMD becomes Managing Director, NPDC; Sambo Mansur Sadiq, General Manager, Crude Oil Stock Management, swaps positions with Usman Yusuf becoming GGM/STA to the GMD; while Boggu Louis Tizhe, Manager, Pricing and Valuation, Crude Oil Marketing Division, COMD, assumes the role of General Manager, COMD, all postings taking effect on July 17, 2019, respectively.
There have been concerns about the abrogation of due process and disregard for extant regulations in the administration of the NNPC, in recent years. Issues of promotions, postings and responsibility, have generated loud murmurs because they seem visibly skewed in favour of particular interests and tendencies. It has been alleged, for instance that certain individuals have rapidly ascended the positions of Manager, General Manager, Group General Manager and much more, in less than three years, most noticeably under the current dispensation in the organisation. Drawing a parallel with the civil service, a senior official who does not want to be named because he is not authorised to speak within the NNPC said ‘there are stipulated gestation periods in every position. It takes a minimum number of years, maybe three years for an Assistant Director to become a Deputy Director, and perhaps the same number of years to become a substantive Director. Assessments are carried out, examinations are written as part of the grooming process. But what we have witnessed here in recent years, runs against the established service mantra.’ More disturbing, he added, is the fact that officials so catapulted in the NNPC scheme, are not as competent, qualified or experienced as those they have been elevated over, a situation which impacts morale and enthusiasm.
NNPC Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, Mr. Ndu Ughamadu, in a statement however said that what happened involved the statutory retirement of 11 of its senior management staff as well as redeployment of 19 others, saying such replacements were always effected before the final exit of the concerned staff.
He disclosed that 30 senior staff were affected by both the statutory retirements and redeployment.
The list of staff on statutory retirement between 1st May and 31 July according to him include: General Manager, Chad Basin, Aniya Francis Umaru, who is from the north-eastern part of the country and retired on May 6th, 2019; Adewale Solomon Ladenegan, Managing Director, KRPC, who hails from the south-west and retired on May 13th, 2019 and Musa Sulyman Gimba, who is the Group General Manager, NNPC Leadership Academy, who also is from the north-east and retired on May 14th, 2019.
Others are Umma Ayuba Musa, the General Manager, HR & Admin Services, Duke Oil, from North-west and retired on May 19th, 2019; Emmanuel–Ate Mariagoretti Ndidi, General Manager, Support Services, NGC, from the south-south region and retires on May 30th, 2019; Tsavnande Thaddeaus Atighir, Executive Director, Operations, from the north-central; Okor Ovieghara, General Manager, Upstream/TA to GMD, who hails from the south-south region; Barau Mohammed Kabir, Managing Director, NGMC, who is from the north-western region; Dawaki Salihi Abubakar, the General Manager NLNG, LIMS, from the north-west; Ibrahim Aminu Bagudu, the Executive Director, ETSD, NPDC, who is from the north-west and Yusuf Shimingah Matashi, the Managing Director, NPDC, who hails from the north-western region retires on 17th July, 2019.
Our source at the NNPC, however expressed worries about why such senior level postings were hastily announced in the twilight of the life span of the present administration, when the government is in transition. With some of the postings scheduled to take effect a month from now, even two months from now.
‘If these postings and appointments were not premeditated, why the haste in appointing people in May, into positions they will not be occupying earlier than two months from now? Are they going on any special training or courses to prepare them for their new responsibilities? Aren’t we all under the over-arching umbrella of the NNPC?’ he asked rhetorically.
There are also concerns about the deepening of the sociopolitical gulf in the country, as evidenced by the recent NNPC postings. Said our source: ‘Please take a good look at this list of just 19 postings. Yes, it may be termed internal staff deployment. But out of the 19 movements and promotions in certain instances, 13 of them are from the North of the country. Symbolically, there are three names from the South South, two from the South East and one from the South West. What manner of posting is this? Where is federal character? Where is justice, equity and fairness? Are we all constituents of this same country? You share 19 positions and 13 are appropriated to one part of the country and you tell us all is well?’
The recent postings, the source said, may be a sign of what to expect from the recently advertised recruitment into vacancies in the NNPC, if not speedily addressed.
According to the him: ‘What this posting is hinting at in my view, is that if the recently publicised recruitment into the NNPC aims to employ say 10,000 young people, the section of the country so favoured by the recent NNPC staff deployment, might as well go home with 70% of the positions, while the rest of the country, scrambles for 30%. It is simple deductive reasoning,’ he said.
Pursuing his argument further, he said: ‘Maybe we should just assume that the recent advertisements for applications into Customs, Prisons and Fire Services, might as well follow the same pattern. It is becoming very clear that some animals are more equal than the others in the present political dispensation.’
He expressed the hope that the Presidency will take prompt, decisive and appropriate steps to redress the imbalances in the recent NNPC staff deployment, and by extension revisit similar developments in all state-owned institutions and organisations, to engender fairness and fairplay.
Ughamadu named some of the 19 staff that were redeployed: Anas Mustapha Mohammed, Usman Faruk, Ali Muhammed Sarki, Osarolube Ezekiel, Ihya Aondoaver Mson, Isah Abubakar Lapal, Umar Hamza Ado, Garba Adamu Kaita, Ossai Uche, Usman Umar, Ehizoje Tunde Ighodaro, Ahmed Mohammed Abdulkabir and Lere Isa Aliyu.Others are: Richard-Obioha Maryrose Nkemegina, Dikko Ahmed, Ibrahim Sarafa Ayobami, Usman Yusuf, Sambo Mansur Sadiq and Buggu Louis Tizhe.
Ughamadu explained that it was usual for the Corporation to obtain necessary approvals on replacements of retiring staff ahead of schedule, adding that it was the situation with this which takes effect when the retiring staff depart at various times within the period.
It is to ensure uninterrupted operations of the Corporation, he added, so that extant corporate guidelines were strictly followed in the process.
He advised members of the public to disregard the insinuation that some staff of the Corporation were relieved of their duties, saying the deployments were expected and aimed at sustaining the system.