According to The New Telegraph, the underlying reasons the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources , Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, was removed as the Group Managing Director of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), after serving in that capacity for a period of 11 months was because of the reforms he introduced in the sector.
Armed with private sector experience , Kachikwu, on assumption of office, introduced some swift reforms geared towards the restructuring of the NNPC , the resuscitation of the refineries, and deregulation of the downstream sector of the petroleum industry.
The report reveals that he also sought to introduce transparency and accountability in the huge oil corporation in such a way that each subsidiary would be required to render profit and loss accounts at the end of each fiscal year.
As a result, various interest groups felt threatened by these reforms. Sunday Telegraph learnt that Kachikwu had to give way because, apart from the abnormality in one person holding the two strategic positions, he was too fast and reform-minded for the NNPC and ruffled not a few feathers while he held sway as the NNPC boss.
An oil industry source told Sunday Telegraph that the first factor that led to his exit was that it was not legal for one person to be the Minister of Petroleum Resources and Group Managing Director of NNPC, at the same time.
“It was an anomaly and supposed to be a temporary arrangement. It was not supposed have lasted that long. In addition, he brought private sector initiatives into a largely conservative and bureaucratic system. Normally , reforms will be resisted by those used to the old system.
“But one of the things he didn’t do well was not carrying the people along.
“There was a lot of disenchantment in the system because of the sweeping reforms Kachikwu tried to introduce .
“The ‘indigenous NNPC staff’ said they were not carried along . He brought in a lot of strange people, a lot of new ideas and these were coming a bit too fast. Civil servants are usually conservative people, so when they do not understand what you are doing or where you are going , they will ask all sorts of questions. What is this man doing? You want to destroy the system? You want to destroy our NNPC?
“How can he make this man a General Manager when he just finished school 10 years ago? All those things are bound to be there .
“He ought to have been a bit gradual in introducing those reforms , but he was working on timelines that were too fast for the system. He was in a hurry because he knew that he was not supposed to occupy those two positions for a long time ,” the source said.
Although Kachikwu remains the boss of the oil industry, there are indications that his current position as Minister of State may not give him the full powers to drive the series of reforms he introduced into the system. His successor , the newly appointed Group Managing Director of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, Dr . Maikanti Kacalla Baru, has assumed office and pledged to carry on with the reforms of his predecessor.