NNPC Headquarters, Abuja, Nigeria
It is no longer news that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation NNPC recently appointed and deployed top management staff into 55 key positions spread all over the country in a major management shakeup. Dr. Maikanti Baru while announcing the changes had reiterated the need to effect this restructuring so as to reposition the corporation to achieve its full potentials.
However, the appointments have continued to attract wide condemnations and criticism directed at the Group Managing Director, President Buhari, and his APC federal government. They have been accused of bias, favouritism, discrimination based on ethnic and religious grounds by favouring northern part of Nigeria who does not have anything to do with crude oil production or exploration against the southern part of Nigeria especially the South-South and the South East who are major crude oil producing and resource areas.
A close look at the 55 appointments revealed the existence of 15 top key positions in the NNPC. It is seen from the appointments that out of the 15 top positions 10 very sensitive and plum positions have been given to Northern Hausa Fulani ethnic staffs while only 5 are assigned to southern staffs. Out of the 5 positions in the south 3 are Yoruba and only 2 assigned to the South-South with the South East of Ibo extraction having no appointment.
Among the groups who have come out to condemn the recent appointments as being one sided and discriminatory are notably Niger Delta leadership groups. Prominent of which are the Pan Niger Delta Forum PANDEF and the Pan Niger Delta People’s Congress PNDPC.
Baru, NNPC Managing Director
The two groups who are jostling for recognition as the ultimate platform for leadership in the Niger Delta were united in condemning the appointments. They accused the Buhari government of being insensitive to the demand of the Niger Delta people in appointments and management of the NNPC.
The Niger Delta leaders reminded the federal government that the NNPC is an offshoot of the oil resources derived from the Niger Delta region, therefore, the Niger Delta people must have a say in the management of their resources. They further declared that the taking over of the NNPC completely by northerners is unacceptable to the Niger Delta.
NNPC Filling Station
Also condemning the appointments of new NNPC top management as lopsided, discriminatory and biased the Afenifere Group which is the apex Yoruba socio political group carpeted the appointments and described it as an act of impunity,
They advised the present government of Buhari to build an inclusive society and carry everybody along. They described the appointments as discriminatory and one sided and wondered why no one from the south east was dimmed fit to be considered.
The Ohanaeze Ndigbo the apex cultural and political platform of the Igbos of the south east criticized the appointments whereby no Igbo man was appointed to the 15 top post in the NNPC as a consistent and flagrant disregard and disrespect to the Igbo race by the Buhari Administration as evident in this appointments. They opine that the continued discrimination and marginalization is what has made the youths in Nigeria to lose faith in the present government of Buhari.
PANDEF With Buhari
Other groups that joined in condemning the lopsided appointments include the Ijaw Youth Council IYC an umbrella body of Ijaw youths, the Ndokwa National Youth Movement NNYM, the Esop Mkparawa Ibibio of Akwa Ibom State and several other ethnic and socio political groups are united in condemning the bias appointments in the NNPC. They equally called on President Buhari to intervene and reverse the ugly scenario so as to give people in the south of Nigeria confidence in his government.
It remains to be seen how the federal government will react to this opposition especially in the light of recent agitations for the restructuring of the country along ethnic grouping and the clamour for greater control of resources by indigenous people over resources that are in their domain.