Why NNPC GMD was fired
•Yakubu opposed minister’s suit against Reps over chartered flight
Irreconcilable differences between the newly dropped Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Andrew Yakubu, and Petroleum Minister Diezani Alison-Madueke, cost him his job on Friday, The Nation can reveal.
Yakubu and the Managing Director of the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC), Mr. Victor Briggs, were unceremoniously dumped at the weekend by President Goodluck Jonathan who immediately appointed Dr Joseph Thlama Dawha at NNPC and Mr. Anthony Ugonna Muoneke at NPDC as replacements.
Yakubu is the fourth NNPC GMD to work with the minister in a space of four years.
Many staff of the NNPC remained shell shocked at the development yesterday a few weeks after Yakubu reportedly told them that he had the confidence of the President.
Industry sources told The Nation in Abuja that the relationship between the former NNPC boss and the minister was dogged by disagreements on several issues.
These include constant sack of highly-skilled professionals in the corporation who were trained by the federal government; sharp differences on policies affecting oil and gas industry; alienation of International Oil Companies (IOCs); opposition to the minister’s court action against the House of Representatives to stop the probe into alleged N10billion spent on chartered jet; non-availability of the minister when crucial decisions are required; and pile up of files on matters affecting the industry.
An NNPC source familiar with the situation said: “You know Yakubu, a northern minority, was the fourth to get the boot in four years. We had Barkindo, Ladan, Oniwon and the latest victim, Yakubu.
“What happened was that the immediate past GMD was uncomfortable with the recurring sack of competent hands in NNPC to satisfy some cronies. His position was that sycophancy should not be the basis for appointments in the corporation.
“For instance, a former GED of the NNPC in charge of exploration, Abiye, was sacked after he fought spiritedly to reconcile accounts on alleged missing oil funds with ex-CBN Governor Sanusi Lamido Sanusi. There were so many cases like that in the last four years.”
The source also alleged that several policy proposals made by Yakubu never sat well with the minister.
“The ex-GMD was not happy that the IOCs are divesting in the oil sector although the minister does not see anything wrong with the development,” the source said.
“Above all, the former GMD detested the idea of running after a minister with files when crucial decisions were to be taken.
“Instead of being mutually consultative, the minister will rather give an order on what should be done when it is technically obvious as defective. All the management staff owe the minister is “Yes madam.”
Yakubu was said to be opposed to the minister’s decision to take the House of Representatives to court on the alleged N10billion spent on chartered jet. His position was that the corporation should go and explain to the House and lay the facts bare.
“Yakubu was thinking of what would become of NNPC after the exit of the minister. He said a constitutional body should be accountable for the system to flow well.
“The frequent travels of the minister also affected or delayed issues which ought to be treated on time. This created a cold war between the minister and the former GMD.”
The source said that the manner in which the President acted clearly showed that he only listened to the supervising minister alone.
Another source however said although some management staff saw Yakubu’s sack coming, the ex-GMD dismissed such assumption.
It was gathered that some management staff had been tipped off that the Minister was uncomfortable with the ex-GMD anymore.
Such managers reportedly raised the issue with the former GMD but he refused to move to stop the sack.
He was said to have told his informants that President Jonathan had repeatedly assured him that his job was safe.
The source said: “I can recall that some management staff had recently asked him if all was well with the supervising minister, the former MD said: ‘I have met with the president and he told me he had no problem with me. I have done that more than three times.’ You can imagine our feelings when our worst fear was confirmed on Friday night.
“None of us was in the picture, not even the aides of the minister. We were all shocked because the former GMD did so much to put the refineries in good shape. He was also too loyal to the Minister of Petroleum Resources.”
The source said: “Instability is gradually creeping into NNPC, we are losing good hands to incessant sack. The development has created fears in all of us.”
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