Nigerian state governors on Thursday approved the release of $1 billion from the country’s excess oil account to the government to help fight the Boko Haram Islamist insurgency. The account holds foreign reserves from excess earnings from sales of crude. It currently totals $2.3 billion, according to Nigeria’s accountant general. “We are pleased with the…
“Nigeria’s national oil company faced no legal requirement to consult Minister of State, Emmanuel Kachikwu about crude contracts. The law and the rules do not require a review or discussion with the Minister of State or the NNPC board on contractual matters…. the company needs only the approval of the President in his executive capacity or as Minister of Petroleum, or the Cabinet.”
Ndu Ughamadu, GGM, Group Public Affairs Division, NNPC
From its inception to the Military era, the bank Account Numbers of the NNPC were as secret and sacred as the US nuclear code numbers. Those code numbers and the facilities are devised in such a manner to be detonated in the event of an impending enemy nuclear alert, authorising the US President to launch nuclear missiles against those enemy targets across the world. Presently, every US President carries these code numbers as part of his sartorial cover as he perambulates all over the place, fulfilling his Presidential assignments.
Until his final day in office, former Nigerian Minister of Petroleum, Dr. Chu Okongwu, agonised over his decision to reveal the NNPC secret account numbers to the Military. We recollect that Chu Okongwu’s decision to disclose to the Military the NNPC account numbers was not an easy task. Indeed, General Muhammadu Buhari’s integrity and incorruptibility was accentuated when as a former Minister of Petroleum, and as a former Military President he steered clear, and never bordered the Oil Ministry of that secret and sacred account numbers.
Significantly, Chu Okongwu was appointed Minister by the new Military government that overthrew General Buhari. Under tremendous pressure, Chu Okongwu in due time was cobbled into submission and since then the scavengers, the jackals and the barracudas in Government and in power have taken turns to milk that oil conglomerate which in other climes is the pivot of massive development projects that we have seen in Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, the Emirates, Norway, UK, Venezuela, Angola, Algeria, etc.
In my tribute to the former NNPC GGM who was lost in the Dana plane crash in Lagos, some few years ago, I advocated for a people impacting oil industry that will lead our development projects. Please see Levi Ajuonuma: Once Upon a Time, DAILY SUN Wednesday September 5, 2014 19. I had advised him and his travelling MD at the Houston sponsored NNPC and Gas Conference, 2009, to find major impacting roles for the NNPC to the society and for the Nigerian people. I disclosed to them that “on behalf of the Washington Think Tank, I had travelled extensively to South America and especially the Caribbeans and would like to report my findings on the various South American Oil Companies development projects. Most of those reports on the Caribbean tours were posted to my Vanguard Column, “LETTERS FROM WASHINGTON.” Levi was astonished with the astounding performance of the National Oil Company of Venezuela. Venezuela had built the biggest Refinery in that continent, the Amuay plant in Falcon. With a production capacity of over 645,000 barrels a day, this refinery which is part of the Paraguana Refinery Complex including the Cardon refinery, supplies the country’s energy needs and as quoted in the Petrocaribe agreement feeds almost the Caribbean countries, except Trinidad which has its own oil and company. Apart from the refinery, the Oil Company of Venezuela built in Caracas the most sophisticated Heart Hospital in the universe.
Elsewhere in Africa, I remember on a football trip to Algiers 1986, the Oil Company of Algeria. Never engaging any contractors or so called “Subsidy Parasites” to import their fuel, the Algerian National Oil Company is rather organized to fulfill the social needs of the people. The oil company every month would build a condominium, establish Estates across the desert provinces, and construct roads by direct labor, supervised by young graduates just out of Universities or Polytechnics. That is why the Arab Spring stopped on the Libyan borders. The Algerian citizen is guaranteed free housing and free education. Again, the Russian earnings from Oil opened up the dreaded Siberian archipelago. Directly, that Nation’s Oil Company builds most of the Russian infrastructure, hospitals, banks, schools, institutions of higher learning, sports stadia etc., from the proceeds of the oil from Siberia.”
The Nigerian Oil Corporation NNPC, last week convulsed out of a leaked memorandum to the President by the Minister of State, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu. He was petitioning the President over an alleged insubordination of the NNPC GMD, Maikantu Baru. Like it is fast becoming the procedure, the beleaguered Minister strolled straight to the Presidency, instead of calling the Board meeting of the Oil Company. The question arises, why did he not call the Board? And if he didn’t call the Board meeting, what is the position of the Board before involving the President who is also the Minister of Petroleum? By the way, what are the constitutional responsibilities of these Ministers of State? Why the principal Ministers are mentioned and protected by the constitution, these junior Ministers I’m afraid are appointments made to placate politicians. Without the Board’s decision and position unknown in this matter, was Dr. Ibe Kachikwu’s portfolio as a junior Minister enough hold for him to embark on this perilous stroll to the Presidency, accompanied only by his Personal Assistant?
In many ways, my brother Dr. Kachikwu is like another sister of mine, Ngozi Iweala. Brilliant, thoroughly equipped citizens of the world, workaholics, consummate intellectuals, unrepentant and passionate Federal bureaucrats, Ngozi Iweala, as the Prime Minister of Nigeria under Jonathan, established in one day, 19 universities in the North, granted Utueke, Jonathan’s village the most modern university facilities. She forgot that after over 26 years since the creation of Delta State, while other State Capitals like Gombe, Awka, Abeokuta, Port Harcourt, Ibadan, Kaduna, etc., have on the average over eight universities and State Polytechnics, Asaba and Onicha Ugbo have nothing. No State Library, not even a Museum! To Anambra, Imo and Abia, she as the Finance Minister and economic czar, granted them their overdue oil benefits and allocations as oil producing States!
Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, first class distinctive graduate of Law, University of Nigeria and Harvard, with over two years into his tenure as the Oil Minister, former GMD and President of OPEC, has nothing to show in the development graphics of his backyard. He might have as usual like his sister performed very creditably at the center, but like her, he has no base. He made the mortal error of challenging those who are in office to satisfy their base and prosper their people. I am afraid the brilliant Cicero would be wiped out by the entrenched and looming hurricane.